When it comes to gay marriage, the times, they are a-confusing. For instance, we recently overheard some people extolling the virtues of marriage, and how it allowed them to finally join in family gatherings as respectable married people, instead of skulking in as shamefully unmarried partners.  They reminisced about the joys of being able to walk up to coworkers and introduce their husbands, the sparkle of their wedding rings legitimizing their socially sanctioned and forever-to-be unions.

by Conrad and Castonguay (2007)

You might wonder: Were we somewhere near the extreme right-wing group Focus on the Family? Perhaps we were taking a tour of the Jerry Falwell museum, which houses his wife’s wedding dress?

No.  Those words came from the mouths of gays arguing that gay marriage is necessary for the well being of the world.  In fact, we hear rumors that rainbows appear every day in all the states where gay marriage is legal; that the children of gay married couples are healthier, wiser, kinder; that they can and do beat up the nasty illegitimate spawn of those who dare to remain unmarried; and that the cats of married gay men regularly crap nuggets of gold.

Gay marriage apes hetero privilege and allows everyone to forget that marriage ought not to be the guarantor of rights like health care.  In their constant invoking of the “right” to gay marriage, mainstream gays and lesbians express a confused tangle of wishes and desires.  They claim to contest the Right’s conservative ideology yet insist that they are more moral and hence more deserving than sluts like us.  They claim that they simply want the famous 1000+ benefits but all of these, like the right to claim protection in cases of domestic violence, can be made available to non-marital relationships.

We wish that the GM crowd would simply cop to it: Their vision of marriage is the same as that of the Right, and far from creating FULL EQUALITY NOW! as so many insist (in all caps and exclamation marks, no less) gay marriage increases economic inequality by perpetuating a system which deems married beings more worthy of the basics like health care and economic rights.

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Against Equality is committed to archiving radical work from all parts of our collective queer history, which is as messy, complex, and complicated as any other. We archive pieces without censorship or exegesis because we believe that an unclouded historical overview is preferable to one that is apologetic or revisionary – after all, our collective began as an effort to combat the erasure of queer radical history and activism by the mainstream gay and lesbian community. To that end, we recognize that, sometimes, the pieces we archive demonstrate language or ideology that is not seamlessly in line with what we might consider preferable today. Rather than revise or erase, we leave all that in as part of our ongoing effort to document queer history as what it was, not what we wish it would have been. In the same way, we also ask that any submissions to the archive be exactly as they originally appeared, without revisions to language or politics.  



Intersectional Equality – Karma Chávez (2015)

Some on the Radical Queer Left Still Think Gay Marriage Is Bad for the LGBTQ Community – Ryan Conrad & Matt Hayes (2015)

The Secret History of Gay Marriage – Yasmin Nair (2015)

I Do?!: A Panel Discussion on Queer Cultural Activism –  Jonathan D. Katz, moderator (2014)

There Is A Lot More to the Gay Marriage Story Than What Is In Jo Becker’s Book ‘Forcing the Spring’ – Yasmin Nair (2014)

The Same-Sex Marriage Trap – Yasmin Nair (2014)

It Gets Worse: The Queer Feminist Case Against Inclusion – Sarah Keenan (2013)

Marriage Will Never Set Us Free – Dean Spade & Craig Willse (2013)

A Movement That’s a Little More Radical – Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore (2013)

Marry You Must! Gay Marriage in Illinois – Yasmin Nair (2013)

Gay Marriage and the Tyranny of Sameness – Jon Holbrook (2013)

Why marriage equality may not be that equal – Nithin Manayath (2013)

Gay or Not, Nuptials Are Now Divorced From Sense – Germaine Greer (2013)

Who Does Marriage Leave Behind? – Drew Ambrogi (2013)

Gay Marriage, ’70s Style – Elise Chenier (2013)

Gay Marriage IS a Conservative Cause – Yasmin Nair (2013)

Gone Conservative: Gay push of the ’70s is no more – Ted Rall (2013)

Gay Marriage has its Queer Critiques, too –  Alex Gabriel (2012)

Fuck Marriage, Fuck Equality – Shiri Eisner (2012)

The New Normal Not Good Enough – Lynne Huffer (2012)

Can marriage ever be feminist? An interview with Nicola Barker <audio> – Meghan Murphy (2012)

Marriage Isn’t the Gold Standard for Love – Mark Pendleton (2012)

Beyond Gay Marriage: Is the LGBT movement walking down the aisle to nowhere? – Rebecca Burns (2012)

Gay Marriage Is A Conservative Cause – Bill Dobbs (2012)

Marriage Rights? – David Vakalis (2012)

Beyond the Access Narrative: Marriage Politics, Austerity, Surveillance – Tamara K. Nopper (2012)

Objection to a Wedding – David McGee (2012)

Gay Marriage Hurts My Breasts – Yasmin Nair (2012)

I Don’t – Ian Finkenbinder (2012)

Maryland’s Marriage Equality, The Ballroom Scene, & Legends – Jonathan L. (2012)

What’s the matter with gay marriage? – Heather Tirado Gilligan (2011)

Gay Life Against Marriage – Max Fox (2011)

Death of Marriage the Path to Equality – Meagan Tyler (2011)

An Un-Queer Time and Place – Rosa Gaia (2011)

Sexual Nationalisms: Notes on Queer Migration and Asylum Politics in Canada – Melissa Autumn White (2011)

Right to Marry More Remote for low-income LGBT Couples – Arlene Stein (2011)

The Wrong Reasons for Same-Sex Marriage – Jaye Cee Whitehead (2011)

Gay Marriage In New York: Progressive Victory or GOP Roadmap? – Kenyon Farrow (2011)

Inequality in the Marriage Equality Movement – Amy Sueyoshi (2011)

Get hitched or get ditched! – Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore (2010)

Queer Liberation is Class Struggle – Gathering Voices (2010)

Equality, Without Marriage – Nadia Berenstein (2010)

I Don’t: The Case Against Marriage – Jessica Bennett and Jesse Ellison (2010)

Prop 8: Let’s Get Rid of Marriage Instead! – Sally Kohn (2010)

Abandon Equality – Marcus McCann (2009)

Open Letter to LGBT Leaders Who are Pushing Marriage Equality – Kate Bornstein (2009)

Why Gay Marriage IS the End of the World (or the queer world, at least) – Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore (2009)

Against Equality, in Maine and Everywhere – Ryan Conrad (2009)

Legalize Gay, Or: So You Think You’re Illegal? – Yasmin Nair (2009)

Uniting American Families Act: Facts, Fiction, Money and Emotions – Yasmin Nair (2009)

Queer Kids of Queer Parents Against Gay Marriage – Martha Jane Kaufman & Katie Miles (2009)

I Still Think Marriage is the Wrong Goal – Dean Spade & Craig Willse (2008)

Why One Queer Person Is Not Celebrating California’s Historic Gay Marriage Decision – Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore (2008)

Down With Legitimacy – Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore (2008)

Marriage, Marketing, Tailending: The U.S. Left and Same-Sex Marriage – David Thorstad (2006)

The Marriage Fight is Setting Us Back – John D’Emilio (2006)

Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision for All Our Families and Relationships – Beyond Marriage Collective Statement (2006)

We Will Not Protect You – Pink Tank (2005)

Loving Capitalism? Gay Marriage & the Beast of Assimilation – Manish Vaidya (2005)

Balls & Chain – David Thorstad (2005)

What’s Wrong With Gay Marriage? – Eric Stanley (2004)

Is Gay Marriage Anti-Black??? – Kenyon Farrow (2004)

Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace? – Susan Thompson (2004)

Dodging the Altar – Matthew Hays (2004)

Gay Marriage: Civil Right or Civil Wrong – Ultra Violet (2004)

Is Gay Marriage Racist? – Marlon M. Bailey, Priya Kandaswamy, Mattie Udora Richardson (2004)

Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace? Why We Need Queer Critiques of Gay Marriage – Susan Thompson (2004)

Sweatshop-Produced Rainbow Flags and Participatory Patriarchy: Why the Gay Rights Movement Is a Sham – Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore (2004)

Stop the Wedding! – Judith Levine (2003)

Beyond Conjugality – Law Commission of Canada (2001)

Audre Lorde Project Position Statement on Marriage – Audre Lorde Project (2000)

Beyond Equality – French Wall (1998)

Against Marriage and Motherhood – Claudia Card (1996)

Queers Read This – Anonymous Queers (1990)

Since When Is Marriage a Path to Liberation? – Paula Ettelbrick (1989)

Refugees From Amerika: A Gay Manifesto – Carl Wittman (1969)

Marriage and Love (audio)- Emma Goldman (1911)

They Who Marry do Ill – Voltairine de Cleyre (1907)


Queer Voices: Beyond The Queer Mainstream – Beyond Gay Marriage and the Mainstream Gay Movement on 94.1 KPFA with Lisa Dettmer featuring Dean Spade, Kenyon Farrow, & Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore – Radio Documentary (2013)

Queers Demand Poster Series 1234 (complete set) – Tyrone Boucher (2012)

“Marriage” or “Queer Rage” QPOC spoken word – Janani Balasubramanian, Alok Vaid-Menon, and Cam Awkward-Rich (2012)

Three Australian LGBTQI Activist Interviewed – 3CR Radio (2011)

Red Red Red – Film (2010)

Beyond Gay Marriage – Radio Documentary (2010)

Love Story – Short Video by Dean Spade (2010)

Prop 8. Special Election PSA – Falling in Love with Chris and Greg (2008)

Homotopia – Film (2007)

Marriage is the Proverbial Burning Building Poster – National Conference on Organized Resistance (2007)

Gay Marriage: You Might As Well Be Straight – Dyke Action Machine! (1997)

Popping the Question – THINK AGAIN

1984 Lesbian EpisodeKate and Allie (1984)

Old Mole Radio Show interview with Naughty North activist after gay marriage ballot measure fails in Maine.


Beyond Marriage

Queers 4 Economic Justice

Beyond (straight and gay) Marriage

Alternatives to Marriage Project

Further Reading

Not The Marrying Kind: A Feminist Critique of Same-Sex Marriage – Nikola Barker (2012)

The Nuptial Deal: Same-Sex Marriage and Neoliberal Governance – Jaye Cee Whitehead (2011)

Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage: Valuing All Families Under the Law – Nancy Polikoff (2008)

White Weddings: Romancing Heterosexuality in Popular Culture – Chrys Ingraham (1999)