This post is part of a series originally called "30 Day LGBT Challenge" which asks queer-related questions to be answered during Pride Month. The original questions can be found here.
It's day ten and today's question is "What does marriage mean to you?"
I am an anti-marriage ordained minister. Contradiction? Kind of. I don't believe that marriage should be a legal institution at all... all of the benefits that we get through marriage are things that should already be human rights (healthcare or the right to have whoever the hell you want with you when you're sick at the hospital, for instance). But I am, I shit you not, an ordained minister who has performed legal same-sex marriage before, and I felt no conflict or hesitation in saying "yes" to that.
Why? Because it's harm reduction in a heterosexist, marriage-happy world.
One of the things other radical queers like doing is centering same-sex couples when they rail against marriage. And while I'll certainly piss and moan all I want to about the centrality of marriage to mainstream gay rights activism, as an institution--particularly as a legal institution--straight people are by and large the problem, crafting an institution explicitly to keep women in relationships with men they may or may not even like. If she leaves, after all, she may very well lose a lot of benefits, as well as social standing (since our culture is also obsessed with divorce being a failure instead of a simple dissolution of a contract that doesn't work for either party anymore).
A same-sex marriage isn't about a man subjugating a woman and because of that is almost inherently less oppressive (at least in that regard; domestic violence, ableism, racism, etc. are not absent in queer relationships). That doesn't mean I think it's "right" in the sense of being ideal, but I'm not going to focus on it like I did when I was a fresh new radical queer who was really into antagonizing anybody who engaged in any perceived assimilation.
On a personal level? I would get married, or at least handfasted, just not legally. Legal marriage does not fit the kind of relationships I want in life, as I'd wind up being branded a bigamist or adulterer, but spiritually and culturally speaking I think it's great.