Even as we move toward marriage equality for same-sex couples, we need to reflect on marriage as an institution in itself. Our work is not just about marriage equality, it should also be about equal marriages, and about equal rights and security for those who opt out of marriage altogether. Advocates of marriage equality reassure the voting public that same-sex marriage will not change the institution itself.
This is a pragmatic strategy, but I hope it is not true. I hope same-sex marriage changes marriage itself. I hope it changes marriage the way that no-fault divorce changed it. I hope it changes marriage the way that allowing women to own their own property and seek their own credit changed marriage. I hope it changes marriage the way laws against spousal abuse and child neglect changed marriage. I hope marriage equality results in more equal marriages.
|—||Melissa Harris-Perry, “I hope same-sex marriage changes marriage itself”|