Here's why I hope marriage equality opponents are right about gay marriage.
Fundamentalist Christians and other marriage equality opponents have two major concerns about gay marriage: that it will destroy traditional marriage as we know it, and that it will recruit heterosexuals into the ranks of gays and lesbians. I am a queer, married, genderqueer mother and sex educator, and I hope they're right.
On June 26, 2015 the Supreme Court ruling legalized gay marriage coast to coast. My social media feeds exploded in a rainbow celebration, and I heard gay and straight friends alike burst with pride and joy over this landmark civil rights decision.
While I share in the excitement over equal rights for all citizens, my joy isn’t just for the gays among us. What I know is that everyone, gay and straight, benefits from this historic decision.
My hope? That the fundamentalists have it right — that gay marriage will forever change marriage as an institution and allow everyone to live gayer lives. My goal is the queering of culture, to allow us all to live more authentic, pleasurable lives where we are free to express who we are without fear or shame.
There's a big cultural opportunity in legalizing gay marriage, and we all stand to benefit from embracing this moment in history. "Queer (a positive umbrella term for all non-normative sexualities) culture" has already changed heterosexuality for the better. For the past 50 years, as queer culture emerged into the public domain, we've demonstrated that there's beauty, creativity and freedom in being the most authentic version of yourself.
Despite the risk of losing family and community and exposure to violence and discrimination, queer individuals have bravely lived public lives of difference. The pain of silencing our authentic selves was too great, so we stepped into the public light and showed the world that there's more than one way to be a man or a woman and that sexuality is fundamentally about diversity rather than sameness.
Now, heterosexuals are free to show the world their more authentic selves. Gender roles have relaxed, and our society is starting to celebrate sexual expression diversity, rather than demonize it. Don't take this lightly, it's the undoing of thousands of years of using sexuality as a form of social control. Widening the window of what society considers "normal" and "healthy" is a vital step towards more freedom for us all.
Now is our opportunity for queer marriage.
Make no mistake, this agenda is already in motion and nothing can stop it. Gay marriage demonstrates that any combination of people can share a happy, successful marriage and family. The traditional script of "one man and one woman" where the male is the breadwinner and the woman is the mother and homemaker is shattered. Shaking up traditional gender roles has changed marriage forever. It's not uncommon for women to work outside the home while Dad stays home with the kids. Heterosexual couples are having kids before they get married, flipping the traditional timeline of family creation.
The roles and responsibilities of marriage and parenting are now up for negotiation as we leave behind the standard script to which all families were once forced to subscribe. This gives us all the freedom to build a life that fits our unique strengths, needs and desires. As more gay, lesbian and transgender individuals create families, we will continue to witness the powerful diversity of what love and family can look like.
Let us continue to celebrate gay marriage's legalization, and seize this moment as a milestone in the ongoing struggle to end thousands of years of oppression based on gender and sexual orientation. More freedom and authentic expression awaits us all, and together we can build a world where our personal power is not kept in the shackles of fear and shame.
Chris Maxwell Rose is a queer married mom, and a sex educator at www.PleasureMechanics.com.