by Bruce BendersonLurking under the bland banner of marriage-for-all is the specter of nuclear family values, with all their connotations of intolerance, xenophobia and child protection schemes. Marriage today is as full of religious strategies, political goals and power imbalances as it ever was during its long history and remains the mainstay of conservative thinkers and the Church. Its story is that of one of the most unstable institutions ever touted as the cement of civilization. Why haven’t same-sex supporters of marriage fought to multiply and strengthen the powers of domestic partnership instead, especially since our creative urban environments as a whole have always been products of the culture of the unmarried—including gays and lesbians? Or are we merely witnessing another stage in the co-optation of a minority group, as it drives its more marginal, less “presentable” (and unmarried) members toward pariah status?
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