Persuade Marriage Essay

Last month in New York, a court ruled that a gay lover had the right to stay in his deceased partner’s rent-control apartment because the lover qualified as a member of the deceased’s family. Conservatives saw judicial activism in favor of gay rent control: three reasons to be appalled.Chastened liberals (such as the editorial page), while endorsing the recognition of gay relationships, also worried about the abuse of already stretched entitlements that the ruling threatened.What neither side quite contemplated is that they both might be right, and that the way to tackle the issue of unconventional relationships in conventional society is to try something both more radical and more conservative than putting courts in the business of deciding what is and is not a family.

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They make a deeper commitment to one another and to society; in exchange, society extends certain benefits to them.

Marriage provides an anchor, if an arbitrary and weak one, in the chaos of sex and relationships to which we are all prone.

The New York rent-control case did not go anywhere near that far, which is the problem.

The rent-control regulations merely stipulated that a “family” member had the right to remain in the apartment.

To be gay and to be bourgeois no longer seems such an absurd proposition.

Certainly since AIDS, to be gay and to be responsible has become a necessity.But for many other gays—my guess, a majority—while they don’t deny the importance of rebellion 20 years ago and are grateful for what was done, there’s now the sense of a new opportunity.A need to rebel has quietly ceded to a desire to belong.Several cities have “domestic partnership” laws, which allow relationships that do not fit into the category of heterosexual marriage to be registered with the city and qualify for benefits that up till now have been reserved for straight married couples. In these cities, a variety of interpersonal arrangements qualify for health insurance, bereavement leave, insurance, annuity and pension rights, housing rights (such as rent-control apartments), adoption and inheritance rights.San Francisco, Berkeley, Madison, and Los Angeles all have legislation, as does the politically correct Washington, D. Eventually, according to gay lobby groups, the aim is to include federal income tax and veterans’ benefits as well.There’s an argument, of course, that the current legal advantages extended to married people unfairly discriminate against people who’ve shaped their lives in less conventional arrangements.But it doesn’t take a genius to see that enshrining in the law a vague principle like “domestic partnership” is an invitation to qualify at little personal cost for a vast array of entitlements otherwise kept crudely under control.The judge ruled that to all intents and purposes a gay lover is part of his lover’s family, inasmuch as a “family” merely means an interwoven social life, emotional commitment, and some level of financial interdependence.It’s a principle now well established around the country.The gay movement has ducked this issue primarily out of fear of division.Much of the gay leadership clings to notions of gay life as essentially outsider, anti-bourgeois, radical.

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