Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thoughts on the invalidation of DOMA

Thoughts on the invalidation of DOMA

I wish I could be sanguine about the future of marriage equality, but judging from the angry pronouncements from the right it looks like hatred and bigotry, like the last lurch of a dying monster in a B-movie will not die.

The opposition to same-sex marriage purports to be about a lot of things: religious freedom (the freedom to hate and discriminate in name of religion), family values (despite rampant divorce, spousal abuse and child abuse among heterosexual couples) and even economic costs in insuring same sex spouses and losing tax revenue if people file as a married couple (as if Republicans really cared about tax revenue!)

What is really at issue is discrimination. The opponents of same-sex marriage want to do anything they can to avoid having to acknowledge that homosexuals are in any way "like them." They want to exclude gay citizens in any way they can from normal citizenship--even normal humanity.

This is why the issue of same-sex marriage is on a par with racial equality. It is an exercise that forces Americans to stop "othering" gay people, and in their own crude parlance, legalization of same-sex marriage is being "crammed down their throats." They prefer to exclude, hate and discriminate, and this is more important to them than any American ideal of equality, protection under the law or human rights.

William O. Beeman 
Professor and Chair 
Department of Anthropology 
University of Minnesota 
395 HHH Center 
301 19th Avenue S.  
Minneapolis, MN 55455 
(612) 625-3400