Thursday, April 29, 2004

Pimps up, hoes down

Laban Tall links to a photographs of an Australian school's "pimps'n'hoes"-themed dance. Not that I'm not grateful for the link, but how does Laban find himself on a teenage Asian schoolgirl's blog?

Laban redeems himself by linking to an essay in The New Republic on gay marriage by Shelby Steele. Steele's argument is the strongest I've yet encountered for limiting marriage to heterosexuals; Steele's argument is assisted immensely in this respect by also being the only strong argument against gay marriage I've encountered. But don't hold that against it; Steele's case stands on its own merits. The fact that the words "Christian," "Jesus" and "God" are nowhere to be found in his essay makes his argument credible and relevant to non-Christian and non-religious readers.

Before reading Steele's essay, my personal position on gay marriage was, I fully support domestic partnership rights and think full gay marriage would be nice, but not necessary. Steele has not changed my mind on domestic partnership rights; his inexplicable evasion of this particular issue is a glaring error of omission that is my only grounds for docking points from his essay. However, Steele's views on love and marriage are premises I share and that has me questioning my support for gay marriage.

When [marriage] is defined, as [Andrew] Sullivan says he would have it be, around "the unifying experience of love," it becomes nearly as fickle as love itself--a nasty fight, a single betrayal away from dissolution. Marriage brings "stability" to love by humbling it, by making it often less important than the responsibilities to family and community.

When love and fulfillment are of first importance, marriage weakens as an institution, as the high divorce rates of recent decades illustrate....[A]dult happiness is more the test of marriages today than family stability.
To feel without making a fool of myself. To work when it is not enough to wish. To play at love no more, my queen, and love in truth perhaps.
- John Ney Rieber, The Books of Magic: Summonings