In his recent article in The New York Times, Not Going To The Chapel, Rich Benjamin makes his case for boycotting opposite-sex weddings until same-sex marriage is the law of the land. He says:
How utterly absurd to celebrate an institution that I am banned from in most of the country. It puzzles me, truth be told, that wedding invitations deluge me. Does a vegan frequent summer pig roasts? Do devout evangelicals crash couple-swapping parties? Do undocumented immigrants march in Minuteman rallies? Heterosexual ladies and gentlemen, please. Don't mail me that wedding invitation. It's going straight to the bin.
When I linked to the article on Facebook, the pro and con reactions were fascinating.
Californian Jeff Stork said: "I don't recognize opposite marriage and haven't since Prop. 8. I wished [Prince] William and Kate a pleasant Civil Union. I do not observe Anniversaries, either."
Texan Chris Blazier said, "Any good liberal who understands the concept of 'white privilege' should be able to see that heterosexuality also confers a nearly invisible privilege..."
I added: "We all remember the days when it was considered a personal 'victory' just to attend a wedding with your same-sex partner. This boycott seems to be a logical next step."
The wonderful Lynette Setzkorn, a straight married woman with countless gay friends and admirers, said, "I can't even imagine what my wedding would have been like without my gay friends there."
Brilliant New York philosopher/blogger Eric Patton opposed Benjamin's argument: "I don't agree. And his analogies are bad. Vegans don't want to eat pigs; Evangelicals (presumably) don't want to swap partners; and illegal immigrants are the specific target of the Minutemen. You can continue to celebrate and affirm your heterosexual friends" marriages (and I don't believe that marriage and having children is just a "lifestyle choice," but that makes me pre-modern, I realize) while fighting to join that institution."
My response to Eric was: "I think there is a difference between a vegan who wants to eat pig, a vegan who is obliged to watch others eat pig, a vegan who pays taxes that support pig-eating, and a vegan who wants the right to eat pig without ever intending to do so."
Jeff added: "Marriage bans pass because basically nice people are goaded into doing an evil thing without thinking of any consequence. This [boycott] allows them an opportunity to reflect on who they have hurt."
The venerable gentleman from New Jersey, Mark Kane, said: "I must say that I totally agree with the author and have been living my life accordingly for the last 20 years. When my then-partner of 15 years and I were called upon to attend a relative's third wedding, I had to explain that since my own 15-year relationship had never been so much as acknowledged, I really didn't think I would have much to contribute to their celebration. I haven't been to a heterosexual wedding since."
Bill Hawley, who blogs at Queer New York, said: "I can't get past this line: 'I'm not a gay-rights activist.' He's never done a damn thing to bring about marriage equality, but he thinks it's OK to insult his longtime friend who's in favor of equal rights for gays by blowing off his wedding. He's too busy to write a letter to his representatives demanding his right to wed; the only thing he's willing to do is lecture his friend - who has no problem with gay marriage! I completely agree with refusing to attend the marriage of an anti-gay-rights relative or acquaintance and letting that person have it over his stupidity and arrogance. But this guy is just an asshole."
New Yorker Scott Gorcey said: "I have practiced this boycott for years with case-by-case exceptions. It's not even about laws for me. It's about basic inequality in the social contract (which is reflected in the law in most states and by DOMA). This stuff is not selfless investment of time and money and well-wishes. Not really. Any straight person who takes part in a marriage celebration does so with the (perhaps unconscious) expectation of reciprocity. Not so for us. At least not where I come from. Yet the expectation that I will participate remains - Fuck that."
Projectors, what do you think? Here's the full Facebook thread.