Saturday, March 5, 2011

Summary Post: Ettelbrick, FAQs, Vaccaro

Since When Is Marriage a Path to Liberation?
Ettelbrick talks about the institution of marriage in our society. She emphasizes that it is a form of acceptance, and thus many gay and lesbian couples look to marriage for self-affirmation.  Marriage can lead to a less complicated life, through it health insurance may be easier to obtain for their spouse, relationship status need not be questioned and it can simply make people feel better and more included by society.  However, Ettelbrick criticizes these feelings, explaining that marriage constrains and even assimilates lesbian and gay couples.  Marriage hurts the fight for gay identity and culture and also limits our perceptions on the variety of acceptable relationships.   She differentiates between rights and justice, stressing that even if gay couples gain the right to marry, justice will still not be achieved.  The gay identity needs to be accepted in order to increase justice.  Furthermore, differences among people need to be accepted.  
She also argues that women’s liberation and gay liberation are connected.  Marriage mainstreams a women’s voice by relating her to another person and giving the government control over her relationship.  It also emphasizes sameness, causing homosexual couples to mimic and appear like heterosexual couples, she explains. Ettelbrick says that providing alternatives to marriage needs to be stressed rather than marriage itself.  Thus, working towards gaining the right to marry is not the correct next move for gay couples, as many believe it to be.

Same Sex Marriage FAQs
This article offers reasons of why same sex couples want to marry, including love, for their children’s benefit and simply because it is unfair to deny this right.  Furthermore, same sex couples that are not married are denied many rights such as the right to visit a partner in the hospital and make medical decisions.  They are also denied social security benefits and often cannot receive health insurance for their partner from their employer.  Among other things, same sex couples are also denied family leave and pensions.  Finally, civil unions are seen as unfit compared to marriage because they may not be recognized in another state thus couples receive protection and rights under state law only.

Soldier in a Long White Dress
            Vaccaro emphasizes the need for same-sex marriage.  Even though she acknowledges that many believe that same sex marriage is too heteronormative she still explains that it is a fight that needs to happen.  As a young activist, Vaccaro found that although change takes time it is possible, even small actions play a part and can lead to difference.  As a college student, she saw that leadership within the gay community was limited, especially among her own age group.  She also suggests that social hierarchies demonstrate dominance and thus she worked by questioning societal expectations and norms as well as thinking critically about her own ideals. 
            A major focus of Vaccaro’s is raising awareness about same-sex marriage.  She explains that many straight people do not realize that marriage is denied and that many rights are lost.  Therefore, she works to improve the community understanding about marriage rights and the need for them.  Vaccaro stresses that marriage is the answer and the major fight, civil unions are inadequate and are clearly inferior to the rights associated with marriage.  

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