Love, Change

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This is morality: to include all as human and entitled to the deepest love and care. This is the distillation of everything the author fights for as a feminist, a critical race theorist, and a peace activist. Since we are at war, having sent to date 1,500 U.S. soldiers off to die, speaking against war and for peace is a current imperative. Then comes this invitation to speak as a critical race theorist on the subject of same-sex marriage.

Without marriage you can do everything that counts in marriage except that which requires the imprint of the state. What you can do is love, honor, cherish, cleave unto, struggle with, present to the world as two together. What you cannot do is obtain the formal legal advantage of marriage, and more significant culturally, you cannot obtain the social meaning of marriage as constructed through the formal equality to marry.

People with privilege or gumption, and usually both, tend to think they can invent themselves and their relationships. This love is like no other, and we can make it what we want it to be for ourselves and those to whom we matter. In this tradition, we have free love, the sexual revolution, polyamory, and meadows full of commitment ceremonies scripted to mean exactly what the committed want them to mean, including love transcending patriarchy. As with traditional marriage, those who seek the alternative have both good and bad stories to take with them out of the experience; however, those who seek the alternative cannot partake of the cultural meaning of formal legal marriage.

Publication Citation

17 Yale J.L. & Feminism 185-203 (2005)