Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Why I Love Virginia Postrel

She just wrote a beautiful piece about a wedding in her family and how, in contrast to all that nonsense we hear about the “radical homosexual agenda,” it was really just a routine event – and that’s exactly how it should be treated:

I understand why people who don’t have any close gay friends or relatives think single-sex marriage is strange and disruptive. But it isn’t. It’s merely a way of turning de facto relationships into de jure ones. And the relationships that distinguish de jure marriage aren’t so much those between spouses but those between the married couple and other people, perhaps most importantly their extended families. As of July 27, this happy woman went from my sister-not-exactly-in-law, her status for the past two decades, to my actual legal sister-in-law. And the woman she’s hugging became her legal mother-in-law, instead of the unofficial relative who comes to visit for a month every year, whose medical care she frets over, and whose new living arrangements she researched. (Did I mention that Mindy, who has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, is now a stay-at-home mom? How traditional can you get? Steve and I are the radical ones.)

I particularly like this part (you’ll have to follow the link to see the pictures):

Neither, as some conservatives imagine, was the wedding a mockery of marriage or tradition. This was no Black Mass (or the Jewish equivalent). To the contrary, it was a continuation of cherished religious and family traditions. Pam and Mindy even got married under the chuppa I’d made for our own wedding 22 years ago, back when they were just girlfriends. I cross-stitched an applique with their Hebrew names to cover our own. That I mismeasured and allowed just a tiny bit of ours to peek out seems somehow appropriate. (The couple in the center built the structure that holds up the very heavy chuppa; the versatile woman with the drill is also the cantor.)

She quotes a really moving essay that Andrew Sullivan wrote about his own marriage that I think underscores the reality that same-sex marriages are identical in every meaningful way to conventional marriages:

Ours was not, we realized, a different institution, after all, and we were not different kinds of people. In the doing of it, it was the same as my sister’s wedding and we were the same as my sister and brother-in-law. The strange, bewildering emotions of the moment, the cake and reception, the distracted children and weeping mothers, the morning’s butterflies and the night’s drunkenness: this was not a gay marriage; it was a marriage.

And our families instantly and for the first time since our early childhood became not just institutions in which we were included, but institutions that we too owned and perpetuated. My sister spoke of her marriage as if it were interchangeable with my own, and my niece and nephew had no qualms in referring to my husband as their new uncle. The embossed invitations and the floral bouquets and the fear of fluffing our vows: in these tiny, bonding gestures of integration, we all came to see an alienating distinction become a unifying difference.

Beautiful. And true.