The late and brilliant Elizabeth Fox-Genovese has posthumously published a book entitled Marriage: The Dream That Refuses to Die . National Review Online has excerpted a chapter. Here are the concluding paragraphs:
Many Americans, who come to see same-sex marriage as just another step in marriage’s evolution, will accept the public pronouncements that they are doing no more than supporting “fairness” by extending some valuable benefits to people of the same sex who happen to love each other and wish to live together without shame or stigma. What could be more innocuous? But for the hardcore activists, the real goal is the destruction of marriage as the union of a man and a woman. They aim to discredit all forms of authority — especially God and nature — that dare to tell people how to lead their lives. In the view of queer activists, desire, like love in Carmen’s “Habenera,” knows no law — nor should any be imposed upon it.
In the current climate, the appeal of their position is not hard to understand, especially since most of those who accept it do not begin to understand its implications. If anything, the defense of same-sex marriage looks like yet another logical step in the gradual increase in freedom for all members of society. And since activists, the courts, and the media overwhelmingly encourage this deception, we may readily understand that many people may come to see same-sex marriage as another blow against outmoded and illegitimate forms of authority — a blow for freedom and equality. Buying into this view, however, they will remain blind to the ways in which they are playing into the hands of vast governmental and economic powers. The freedom for gays and lesbians to marry will decisively contribute to disaggregating all of the remaining social institutions that provide the foundations for any collective resistance against political and economic domination.
Contrary to many prevailing views, marriage is not the seat of oppression but rather the last best ground for resistance against it. In binding men and women into loving relations and shared purposes, marriage acknowledges the reality of sexual difference even as it works to bridge that difference and lay a foundation for a vital and, yes, grown-up social life.