fidesquaerens (marta_bee) wrote,

I think I finally worked out a good part of why the celebrations over yesterday's Supreme Court case is leaving me a bit cold.

First, because it's worth saying: marriage equality matters, a lot. I volunteered in a pediatric wing of a major cancer-specialty hospital, and I can't even begin to imagine what it must be like to watch your child seriously ill and have people questioning your right to be there or approve treatments, or for that matter your partner. Or to have someone who hadn't seen your partner in years sweep in and make medical decisions because they were legally next of kin. There are other reasons why legal recognition of a relationship, equal recognition, matters so much. This is so obvious to me, mere formal equality in front of the law doesn't seem particularly exciting or inspiring to me because it's such a llow bar. Still important and good, though.

The problem is that slogan #LoveWIns. If you want to put a label on me (which I tend to resist), I'd probably fit most naturally under the asexual umbrella: I don't live my life structured around romance and romantic relationships, and I don't particularly feel their lack or want to fill that void. And when I hear that tagline, #LoveWins, what I hear is that love is such a crucial part of the good life, who are we to deny gay people the right to live openly with the one they love and with full legal privilege every other loving couple has, just because their genders are the same? The idea seems to be that a life with frustrated or unexpressed or un-legally recognized love is somehow a pale copy of its true potential.

And as an asexual that really bothers me. I think relationships matter, and that most people (even asexuals) have some kind of deep, life-orienting relationships in thier lives. In the asexual's case, it just probably won't be a romantic or sexual one. I mean, my next of kin right now is probably my birth family who I haven't lived near in years, and if I should God forbid be run over by a bus I don't really want him making deciisions about my care because they're not really a part of how I live my life now. I'd like to see laws and attitudes that would let me build a household with someone, and that wouldn't suppose two folks living together or emotionally invested together are only valid because they're in love that way. (Love comes in all kinds of varieties, but let's be honest about what folks mean when they say #LoveWins.)

The other issue is I think the slogan involves a kind of bait and switch. Lots of people support gay marriage less because they approve of LGBT sexuality or relationships, and more because they think it's not the government's business. It's coming more from a freedom and (formal) equality perspective than a this is love and love is good perspective. And that's a problem because that same reasoning can too easily be turned around to say "but why should the government be able to tell that woman running the bakery that she has to cater a gay wedding" or "but why should the Catholic Church-tied adoption agency have to violate their consciences and beliefs by placing children with gay married couples"? Because philosophically, Americans are crap when it comes to talking about freedom, and most people don't have the framework to explain why the first is good but not the second. It can't just be that those people are hateful. So saying this is all about love is not only disingenuous but also bound to lead to heartbreak and frustration over "religious liberty" issues, I think. Because it's setting up false expectations.

But that's tomorrow's problem, I guess. I'm willing to let LGBT supporters (of which I am one, obviously) have theiri day and deal with reality on Monday. The bigger problem for me is it feels like once again this is about people buying into this idea that romantic love is what makes life worth living. That either makes me angry or at a minimum leaves me feeling like a freak because I just don't want that. Ergo the shades of meh I feel about the whole reaction.

(To be clear: doesn't mean I'm not glad restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples is now unconstitutional in America. And it doesn't mean --while I'd be more than happy to have the conversation with people who aren't crazy about SSM being legal -- that I'm making that kind of argument when I say I'm not crazy about the way we're reacting to yesterday's news.)   
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