Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Gay marriage IS political ( my first post)

This morning, I heard a short commentary about gay marriage on CBC radio 1.
Maude Murphy spoke about how she and her wife, as she termed her partner, were more interested in renovating the kitchen than subverting heterosexuals. That they spent their Saturday evenings playing scrabble and watching Hockey Night in Canada, rather than going clubbing.
She concluded that marriage was not a political issue, but simply one to be decided upon amongst families.
It was on this last point I had to disagree with her.
Deciding on who defines the family and how, is a political act; that is, if you accept that politics is how we decide to live together as communitities and societies, and that politics is not simply a horse race between groups of oily con artists.
What I'm getting at here is that people who oppose gay marrige feel it is the duty of governement to define marriage, and indeed, most other interpersonal relationships.
The fact that many of those same people- Alberta Premier Ralph Klein, say- think the state shouldn't impose labour or environmental laws on businesses presents a curious take on the notion of limited government.
But I think it naive to say that same sex marriage isn't political. For people who believe equality requires conformity, variations on the themes of love, marriage and family just aren't permissible. Politics includes what the government leaves alone as much as what it does.

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"If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."
-E.M. Forster