The legalization of gay marriage was a huge moment for humanity and a step toward equality and inclusiveness that has been frankly sorely overdue.
Still on the fence? Still think that marriage is between a man and a woman – that this is a defensible stance and in no way ‘homophobic’?
Then let me ask you this: if churches were refusing to marry black people, would you still feel the same way? Would that not be racist? What if a bakery refused to make a cake for a black customer on ‘religious grounds’?
The fact of the matter is that people are born gay and this kind of discrimination is just the same as discriminating against anyone else. Why should they be excluded from something that makes other people so happy, just because of the way they were made?
And more to the point, even if being gay was entirely a choice… why should that matter? Would you be against someone getting married who likes a different flavor of ice cream? It should be the exact same level of ‘who cares’.
But that’s not really the point of this essay. Rather, I’m here to show you how that spirit of inclusion and openness is actually the best thing that could have happened to marriage and how it is transforming the entire institution.
New Choices and Freedoms
Weddings are highly traditional affairs, and this is a nice thing for the most part. We all look forward to seeing the blushing bride for the first time at the same time as the groom. We all enjoy the speeches, and we all enjoy the stag and hen parties.
These are great cornerstones of marriage that provide a framework for the celebration. BUT they can also be restrictive, expensive, and actually quite stressful. What if you can’t afford a massive stag party? What if you want to spend the previous night with your partner?
Gay marriage helps to introduce much more flexibility into the process. Take the gay stag. Suddenly, both parties are filled with the same gender. Therefore, there is no reason that a mutual friend can’t go to both parties. And at some point, a stag becomes a night out with all your partner’s friends… but no partner.
So, more options appear on the table. Why not have a joint party? Why not invite your partner to your own stag and have two? Why not invite women?
The same goes for standing at the aisle. Proposing. Generally, you have more options to do things differently and that means you don’t have to feel constrained by expectations. This is something that can be liberating for couples of all sexual orientations.
Let’s be honest, marriage is a little sexist.
It’s only men who speak. The father literally gives his daughter to the husband. And the wife will often promise to obey her man.
With all that in mind, we were really due a shakeup.
Again, gay marriages can actually help to improve matters by removing the arbitrary distinctions. Lots of male gay weddings will include a best woman rather than a best man. And why not have your Mum give you away instead?
At a lesbian wedding, why not have all women speaking? Again, it’s options. You can still do everything totally by the book if you want to, but this change has simply helped to draw attention to areas where we can be more flexible.
What really got me thinking recently was a case in England where a man and a woman went to court because they wanted a civil partnership. I couldn’t understand this at first: after the gay community had fought for so long for the right to get married, two straight people now want to get married the gay way?
I actually initially made the assumption that this was some kind of ‘protest’ and perhaps a kind of knee-jerk reaction.
But I have since learned it’s actually more to do with the insinuations that some people feel come with marriage: that the woman will be subordinate to the man. That being a ‘wife’ means being a dutiful homebody.
Whether you accept that view or not, it’s certainly an interesting perspective. And it shows us once again a different way of looking at things.
Traditions have to start somewhere. Maybe it’s time we built some new traditions around an equal, inclusive marriage? A true celebration of joy with no exclusions, no caveats, and no prerequisites. Because surely that’s the attitude that we should have had toward love to begin with? Surely marriage should be nothing more than a way for two people to show their commitment and love for each other – whoever they may be and however they deem fit!
About author: Lauren Bradshaw started writing in 2003. Since then she tried her hand in SEO and website copywriting, writing for blogs, and working as an academic expert at CustomWritings.com. Her major interests lie in content marketing, developing communication skills, and blogging. She’s also passionate about philosophy, psychology, literature and painting.