The writer behind ramblings joins us today, and begins her tenure as a guest columnist (libractivist) in the near future:

Gay marriage — or my preferred descriptor, same-sex marriage — has become a (the?) defining issue in many LGBTQ communities, so it seems only reasonable that I would weigh in on it at some point. I understand the impetus behind the movement: it feels like a slap in the face to be denied something you’ve likely been brought up to expect as a certain rite of passage. It is not fair that a right exists for some but not for others. But honestly? If getting married is the only thing you’re worried about, you’re doing pretty well. We still can’t pass a law that prohibits firing people solely based on gender identity or sexual orientation, and you’re upset about marriage?

And I know you’re saying (if you’re one of those people) ‘but wait, this isn’t really about marriage, it’s about healthcare and visitation rights and joint adoption and tax benefits; and how are we supposed to have those things without marriage?’ To which I say, ‘how does marriage bring me, a single person with little enthusiasm for life-long monogamous commitment, any closer to those things?’ How about people who have no health insurance to share with a partner in the first place? How about polyamorous people whose chosen partners exceed the requisite two?

What we need is not more marriages, but a better safety net for individuals: universal healthcare. Guarantees to an adequate basic income. The ability to name non-family members as next-of-kin. Comprehensive immigration reform — with sponsorship made easier — and alongside immigration reform, more work done to ease the disparities that make immigration so tempting. Civil partnerships for tax purposes that allow two or more people.

These ideas come out of my thoughts on queering the definition of family. One of the things that I love about queer people is the sense of chosen families. Although I am blessed to have a loving, accepting family, many of my fellow queer folk are not as lucky, and those experiences have shaped our community. But beyond that, I think, is the queerness of the element of choice. Queer identities (as opposed, perhaps, to homo- or bi-sexual orientations) are characterized by intentionality — an awareness that we have no reason to abide by the principles many straight, cis people take for granted: that sex, gender, and orientation necessarily follow from each other; that procreative, monogamous, state- and church-sanctioned relationships are the ideal; that blood is thicker than water. Or that any of these are simple dualities.

So, while I will continue to celebrate wins for marriage equality with my friends who hold that as a goal, I will dedicate my own resources to fighting for the basic rights to keep our families (blood-tied and otherwise) healthy, cherished, and protected.

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