This ad against prop. 1 in Maine made me feel uncomfortable in a lot of ways I think are worth delving into a little bit. First, the caveats before I get started so I’m in no way misunderstood. I’m for marriage equality because I think anti-gay laws are hateful and have no place in our country. I’m against marriage as defined or categorized by the government, who should not be enshrining religious conventions in law with tax benefits. The government in my opinion has no business legitimating or even less so delegitimating any relationship between consulting adults. We need to find a way to rid ourselves of laws that picture average Americans as Beverly and June Cleaver. The World isn’t like that. But as long as the government is going to keep recognizing marriages, we ought not exclude any consenting adults. I find the issue enraging and I can’t stand the bigots either, but I don’t think it’s the civil rights movement of the 21st century or some shit like that. I don’t think it should even be the biggest issue for whatever the “queer rights” movement is at the moment, especially considering the epidemic of homelessness among queer youth. But I also understand the emotional importance and cheered my parents from afar when they responded to a pro Prop 8 sign across the street by instigating a wave of anti signs around the block.
The Sam Putnam video is I think largely representative of how the gay equality movement has mobilized message-wise. The video has this adorable, nonthreatening and shaggy-headed kid with his dignified and caring mothers. Together the three of them are standing on what looks to be the porch of their large home (whether it is their home or not doesn’t really matter). This is the image the movement has been projecting, nonthreatening upper-class white gays and lesbians who are just like straight people except gay. Turning a demand for equal protection under the law into asking nicely for a tax break because you’re not like “scary gay” or anything makes me a bit sick. As Monica at Feministe points out, there hasn’t been much attention within the marriage equality fight to issues of intersectionality. The Putnam’s aren’t going to look a bit out of place at a P.T.A. meeting, but if they did would it be okay to discriminate against them?
All that said, if you need more commercial families, my cousins Oliver and Lucy (who just had her first day of kindergarten I might add) are freaking adorable.