The Blogger, Stephanie Schroeder
The Blogger, Stephanie Schroeder

Last weekend, I read at the Here Comes the Brides: Reflections on Lesbian Love & Marriage event in N.Y.C.

I’m a contributor to the anthology, which is mostly cheerleading of same-sex (and all) marriage. Regular readers of this blog won’t be surprised that I am the lone antiassimilationist dissenter. Others are ambivalent about being sure, but I am the hard-liner.

The same day the HCTB event went up on Facebook, I read news of Microsoft’s top two execs contributing 100 Grand each to a Washington State marriage equality group. A statement on The Official Microsoft Blog was titled “Marriage Equality in Washington State Would Be Good for Business” … My reaction was that when anything becomes good for corporate America, we need to start worrying because the LGBT community has once again been commodified. (FYI, Microsoft has repeatedly been accused of mistreating its workers in China, primarily young women.)

Then, just the next week, Time magazine reported that in the single year since same-sex marriage has been legal in New York State, the gay marriage biz had brought $259 Million in revenue to New York City alone. That’s a lot of dough, and I don’t know how much, if any, is being ploughed back into the lesbian community for much-needed services such as food programs for poor women and children, emergency housing, services for survivors of intimate partner violence, shelter and safety programs for homeless youth (and adults) or plans to get any of these folks out of the shelter system and into real housing!

My point is – it’s only when corporations or governmental bodies can start making money off lesbians that we become essential to “support” … We do need to stop and think about why on earth we would ever want the support of corporations and the people behind them — the same individuals, businesses and elected officials who previously did not support us — when they change their minds based on the almighty dollar, just like a particular president who never supported same-sex marriage, except in an election year. This should make us pause and thoroughly interrogate why marriage equality crusaders want and value these business people’s support. *And, this just in, HRC announced that the anti-trust criminal and founder of the online conglomerate, Jeff Bezos, will contribute $2.5 M to marriage equality in WA state. (FYI, Bezos has been accused of tax-dodging and worker mistreatment and criticised for supporting the extreme right-wing policy group ALEC.)

You all already know marriage is much more than just a peachy keen celebration with pretty dresses or handsome tuxedos. Still, I believe it’s also a very dangerous red-herring in a larger social milieu where the Equal Rights Amendment has not been ratified, nor has the United Nation’s Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women; where women still earn almost a third less than men for the same work; and where we all still live in a rape culture.

The current single-minded focus on acquiring marriage rights gives the more affluent gay stream a free pass to not have to think about other, more pressing and fundamental issues of survival issues other queers are grappling with in this severe worldwide economic depression.