The question sounds flip, but it isn’t. To what extent should a privileged class participate in an institution that enforces bigotry?
Gay marriage bans outrage me for several reasons, but it’s often overlooked that they make my marriage a method of reinforcing gays and lesbians’ second-class status. Every time someone is introduced as “my wife” or “my husband” it reminds them of that status.
No one nowadays with any conscience would belong to a country club that discriminates. So you could draw that analogy. On the other hand, I wouldn’t have expected white southerners to pull their kids from segregated schools: that was too much too ask. (Although it should be mentioned that many southern private schools, including the wonderful Carolina Friends School, were founded by those who wanted their children to have integrated education.).
A gay friend asked me this a few weeks ago. I sort of hemmed and hawed, and said that it might be difficult for my daughter, and it would be quite complicated, not to mention expensive, to set up a whole series of trusts and contracts. The transactions costs would be enormous!
“You talk about transactions costs, Jonathan,” he said, “That’s my life.”
Those who support gay marriage bans claim that they want to prevent the destruction of traditional marriage (ignoring the fact that straights have destroying traditional marriage for decades now). Oh yeah? Well, I’ll show them how to destroy traditional marriage: what if every straight couple thinking about getting married didn’t do so out of protest? And what if thousands if not millions of married couples started getting divorced and setting up civil unions in protest? What happens to traditional marriage then?
So: should I get divorced? I will post responses, with names if correspondents say it’s okay.
Update: It just occurred to me that the absurdly-named federal Defense of Marriage Act means that even if all the contracts, trusts, etc. are set up, federal law will not recognize the marriage. That has tax implications, obviously. One of DOMA’s hidden oppressions is that it makes it more difficult to advance the sort of straight couple protests that I suggested, because of greater financial consequences. That’s one more reason to repeal it. But that’s still not a reason not to consider protest divorce anyway.