Oh hi. I’m Dave. And I’m so happy to be here today to celebrate Dawn, and to celebrate David, and to celebrate Dawn and David. And I’m so honored that they’ve asked me to object to their wedding.
What we know of as marriage began as a Bronze Age economic exchange. To put it mildly, a lot has changed since then. Of course, most marriages are no longer explicitly financial arrangements, nor business agreements intended to solidify family alliances or obtain lands. It is not a sworn contract meant to assure paternity. It is now, ideally, an act between two people who share romantic love. And in a vacuum, that’d be totally fine.
But despite how much the real world sucks, we do not live in a vacuum. It is impossible to separate this marriage we are here to celebrate today from the institution.
I love David, and I love Dawn, and I love David and Dawn. And after today, David and Dawn will be a legally recognized union, and with that recognition the State will provide to them a package of benefits and rights which should be inalienable, and offered to all people regardless of relationship status. It’s awesome that David and Dawn will have these benefits, but the benefits have no real connection to marriage or to each other, and they should not have been withheld in the first place subject to the state endorsing the relationship.
Applying to the State to endorse a relationship is ceding to the State the power to define, condone, and judge the validity of relationships. This is a power they do not have, and it is one I am distinctly unwilling to allow them.
And it’s not just that our government needed to make marriage available to all couples regardless of gender. That is now settled law, and worthy of celebration. But it is still the fact that what ought to be inalienable rights -- hospital visitation from your partner, for crying out loud -- can be capriciously provided and denied based on the whim of governors and judges. Rights provided on a whim aren’t rights, they’re political bargaining chips, and our love for each other, and the life we build with the people we love, is worth so much more than that, whether our partner shares our gender or not. Or whether the people we’re building a home with, or planning for the long-term with, or raising our children with, are our romantic partners or not. There is not one kind of love more valid, or more deserving of recognition, and we still have a long way to go.
It’s not just law that matters, but dominant cultural values as well. Marriage is not the state to which all relationships aspire. It is a choice, and it can be a great one. But it should be one choice available out of many recognized as valid by society. But it isn’t. Not yet. Right now, as far as society is concerned, you are married or you are not yet married. Or you were married but now you’re not, so maybe you will be again. And as that cultural notion that marriage is the ideal state becomes further and further codified, our freedom to make other choices steadily erodes.
What I hope for, and what I hope we will all work toward, is a society open, with full rights, full benefits, full privileges, and full social recognition, to everyone. To couples, yes, married or not. To people single by choice or circumstance, to non-romantic life partners of any sort, to trios, and groups, and communes. To gay, straight, bi- pan- and omni-sexual people. To monogamous and polyamorous and asexual people. To people of any gender and none. To everyone regardless of how and whom they love.
I am so, so happy, David and Dawn, to be here with you. To celebrate with you. To honor the love you have found with each other. To cheer as you get married and to dance all night. I love you. Let’s party. And after tonight, there will be tomorrow. And we still have work to do.