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Abolish Governmental Marriage!

Government-sanctioned marriage is a heterosexist, patriarchal, discriminatory institution with our without including gay and lesbian couples. It puts single people, and people in all sorts of family living situations at an enormous disadvantage. Many of the folks in non-traditional families are queer. The fight for gay marriage has been so focused on assimilation and presenting the queer community as "respectable," that it surely has the potential to destroy our (queer) culture all together and further marginalize the most oppressed. The fight for gay marriage does little to reduce sexual stigmas and shame, protect all queer families, reduce queer suicide and STD rates, or reduce violence against our community. It is one of the most well funded and misguided campaigns in our community's history.

For those of you who believe that gay marriage should be our top priority, I recognize that my opinions are controversial. I will help you fight the radical right when they attack you. And I'm always open to hearing you and working together on projects that we agree on - and there are many. - Mark

It's going to get ugly. And then it's going to get boring. So we have two options here. We can add gay marriage to the short list of controversies -- abortion, affirmative action, the death penalty -- that are so frozen and ritualistic that debates about them are more like kabuki performances than intellectual exercises. Or we can think outside the box. There is a solution that ought to satisfy both camps, and may not be a bad idea even apart from the gay marriage controversy.

That solution is to end the institution of marriage. " - read more!

"When the gay liberation movement formed in 1969, we had a broad, expansive vision of social justice. We wanted to change the world and make it better, —not just for gay men and lesbians (this was before bisexuals and transgender people were fighting along with us), but for everyone. We wanted to find alternatives to the traditional structures under which we were raised, structures that many of us found insufficient to meet our needs and desires. We aligned ourselves with other movements and learned from them." - Michael Bronski: read more!


Anonymous said...

Right on.... but how do we convince like... EVERYONE in our community of this truth? Ugh.

Wes said...

Mark -- now you know I have a bunch of respect for you but I can't agree with your comments here because they simply don't make "real" sense. You rant about the evils of gay marriage but you don't propose one realistic solution. Emphasis on realistic.

This seems to me like you are simply trying to alienate yourself as a fringe group -- can't you do something productive to ensure that gays and lesbians are protected through marriage for now? You certainly can't argue that gay marriage is hurting the community until you provide a reasonable alternative. Eliminating marriage, while a cute thing to say is weak and unrealistic policy.

I would elaborate on my argument here but I think deep down we both know that I don't need to (plus I'm strapped for time). You're a smart guy, I'm surprised you are deciding to dance around the fringe of important issues rather than get your hands dirty...


Chris said...

I've protested beside you Mark. I had a lot of respect for you. But I am now greatly disappointed in you. We need to stick together, not attack each other. It is sad to see you go this way.
It's about equality. It's about civil rights. It is about ending gay teen suicide by showing teens that are just coming out that we ARE accepted by society, that we CAN get married and have families.
You are free to do your little rebel thing, but don't hurt the gay rights movement for everyone else that NEEDS equal civil rights.
Many of us are in this to WIN; sadly you are just in this for the thrill of the fight.

Mark D. Snyder said...

My name is Mark Snyder and I am not ashamed to say that I am against the gay marriage movement from a queer perspective. Obviously I believe gay people should be treated equally to straight people within the systems that we have, but I am against the systems that we have... and I am against making gay marriage our community's top priority, or a priority of the LGBT rights movement at all - because I believe there are better ways of acheiving full liberation - not just equality.

I do not believe that universal health care, womens rights, etc. are just a "little rebel thing." And I do not believe that standing up for what is right is hurting the gay rights movement.

I have been fighting against injustice since I was a child, whether it was animal rights or human rights, and I reject the notion that I am in anything "just for the thrill of the fight."

I do not claim to have all of the answers or solutions to the problems that face our movement. I am merely brave enough to speak out about the frustrations many of us have with the gay rights/gay marriage movement.

Unfortunately many of us queer folk cannot speak out about these frustrations due to the fact that we are silenced by the power of the largest gay rights organizations and an oppressive government and media. If a small local gay rights organization were to speak out against the gay marriage movement, their funding could be dropped, they would lose respect in the gay community, etc. I have nothing to lose in speaking the truth, and I plan to continue doing so.

Michael bronski and many other queer theorists have spoken out about the problems that fighting for gay marriage creates - there are plenty of books about it as well - The Trouble With Normal, and Real Family Values - being two of them. Both books provide in-depth arguments against the prioritization of gay marriage.

I beleive whole heartedly that the queer community, especially the most marginalized, would be better served to unite with other progressive movements and push for universal health care, and accurate science and health information and safety in our schools.

I am best friends with people who believe 110% in the fight for gay marriage, I am a nice person and do not wish to fight or divide, but we need to be able to voice our frustrations and opposition without being silenced. I do think that we can all find things to work together on no matter what arrangement our priorities are in.

Mark D. Snyder said...

I also forgot to mention Uravashi Vaid, previous executive director of NGLTF. She wrote Virtually Equal, and has been a constant and outspoken voice for the queer liberation movement

Trevor Wright said...

Thank you Mark, for making it clear that the movement is flawed.

~Trevor Wright

Mark D. Snyder said...


The idea that a person cannot complain about something without having a solution of their own is severely flawed. I do not believe in the war on Iraq but I certainly do not have the solutions for achieving full peace in the middle east... so are you saying I should not speak out against the war?

The argument that our ideas must always be realistic is also flawed. I do not think it is realistic to expect this country to abolish government sanctioned marriage - but I will continue to fight for that in an effort to push people as close to my position as possible.

You suggest that I do something productive. Trust me Wes, I am. First of all I am a full time employee at the boston alliance of LGBT youth. I'm on the board of greater boston PFLAG, and...

Lastly, I do get my hands dirty as you suggested I should.... We worked very hard to build a coalition and bring 1000+ protestors to the front of James Dobson's door. When the radical right comes to town to fight against gay marriage, I stand with those who believe in gay marriage to combat them even if I do not believe in their mission. Furthermore QueerToday is one of the very few queer groups actually working hand and hand with the anti-war groups, anti-racism groups, etc. to build coalitions and get shit done. On March 18th, we will join with the Boston Rosa Parks Human Rights Coalition in a historic march from Dorchestor through Boston to fight against the war, poverty, sexism, racism, and other forms of injustice.

Wes said...


Thanks for the reply. I think we have core differences in our perspective of "getting shit done." My perspective is based on creating actual changes in the quality of life for everyday people, be it health care, war, gay rights etc. It seems that you and queertoday believe that getting shit done means protesting, chanting catchy phrases, getting a headline here and there and sign making. I know very well what that leads to -- take for example our wonderful protest. I think it was great. You hopefully think it was great. But where is the lasting effect of what we did that day? It doesn't exist. Are you organizing to get Marie Parente out of office? Are you organizing to make sure Emile Goegen's successor is pro-gay? Or are you all waving banners in the street? Marching. As we both remember, "Queer today, gone tomorrow."

You certainly have a right to complain -- even if you don't have a solution to whatever problems may exist in the gay movement. I didn't mean to imply that you didn't have that right. What I did mean is that you can complain about the gay marriage movement all you want -- but I don't see you in the state house (when you are available) lobbying to restore the gov's commission on g&l youth funding or PFLAG safe schools funding. What issues are you actually WORKING ON? I see no real substance to this "queer alienation" movement that you seem to subscribe to.

And as far as I'm concerned, in regard to another of your above posts, gay rights groups that speak out against gay marriage should have all of their funding dropped, and never restored.

You may call it a reach, but when gay marriage is in such fragile condition here in MA and virtually unseen all over the country, fringe groups like yours who talk about fragmentation and abolishing marriage are actually (perhaps inadvertantly) hurting gay couples. And hurting kids of gay couples. I think it's dispicable that you gay people are actually working to hurt real gay couples because of a radical ideology.

Much respect,


Mark D. Snyder said...


We all know that beyond QueerToday I do a lot of work to make the world a better place, and this blog should not be used as a place to argue about whether or not Mark Snyder does enough to create change in the world. If you would like me to email you a list of things I do to make the world a better place for all people, I would be happy to do that for you. I think you know that this argument is silly.

Protesting in the streets is important and it has its place in history. We must continue doing it. And getting headlines that express the point of view of us queer radicals has its place as well!

QueerToday is not "working" to end gay marriage. Some of us, we don't all agree on everything, are speaking out on this blog about our frustrations with the gay marriage movement. That is it. Deal with it. What I think we'd like to see ultimately is the rights of marriage extended to all people.

QueerToday is here to stay.


Black Sheep said...

I am not a member of Queer Today, but I had the luck of being able to join them in the protest of Love Won Out in Boston. Myself and a friend were there for the anti-war march, but then ended up staying at the FOTF protest the whole day.

I think Queer Today absolutely accomplished something that day. You better believe that Love Won Out will think twice before coming back to Boston. And if they do come back, I will be back to protest them, and also to provide love and support to the queer youth who are forced to go to that conference by their parents and the other people who are so full of self-hatred that they think the only way people will love them is if they turn "straight". It's so sad. Also, we helped real people that day, as evidenced by the young man who wrote in to The Advocate.

Direct Action works, and I for one will always confront FOTF when they come to town. I hold them (and all the orgs. like them) directly responsible for the deterioration of my relationship with my mom after I came out. My mother buys into that crap, and as far as I'm concerned, James Dobson has the "blood" of my relationship with my mother on his hands.

Thanks Mark for all that you do. Keep loving and keep fighting!

Brian Rainey said...


You huffed about our "radical ideology" but what about YOUR ideology? For you to suggest that protest amounts to "waving signs and shouting catchy slogans" shows that you have an ideological bias against protest and simply dismiss it as ineffective and worthless. It's as if the 1960s and early 1970s never existed. It's as if the civil disobedience of the civil rights movement never happened! But why actually look at how protest has worked in history when you can just lazily parrot cliches deprecating protest?

Speaking of "realistic," the lobbyist-bureaucracy method that gay rights groups have pursued over the past 15 years has had a spotty record locally and an abysmal record nationally. In 15 years there has been virtually NO movement in Congress for gay-rights, and on the state and municipal level there have been some victories here and there, but the vast majority of states/municipalities are bastions of discrimination. So even when it comes to the meager proposals for "equality" that mainstream gay rights groups propose, their strategy has a pretty spurious track record.

Also, the precious politicians that you and your friends are busy lobbying aren't going to do much without the proper social context. That's why even the agenda of the mainstream groups has been largely stalled. They think they can sidestep building a grassroots movement with money and groveling to politicians. Money can only get you so far--that's why we're in the sad state we're in now.

For you to say that we are hurting "real" gay people because of a radical ideology is just intellectually lazy. Using the same logic, one could argue that prioritizing same-sex marriage is hurting other "real" gay people. By pouring money into same-sex marriage critical issues facing our community are getting short changed (access to health care, homelessness, the attack on queer youth, etc.). Most Americans (queer or straight) don't live in "traditional" families, so we have to ask, how many people does same-sex marriage (which is trying to replicate traditional marriage) benefit "realistically" (since you seem to be so obsessed with that word)?

The REALITY is that you have just swallowed the lobbyist-bureaucrat ideology hook, line and sinker and as a result believe that lobbying and doing things "nicely" through "accepted channels" is superior to protest. That is a contestible opinion, and not the self-evident truth that you arrogantly assert it is in your posts.

Ryan Adams said...

I don't think I could disagree with this entire post any more. Gay marriage is essential in gaining equality and "full liberation" as someone wrote in these comments.

Whether or not anyone here wants to partake in a societal norm such as marraige doesn't mean it's wrong to do so. You don't have to do it if you don't want; that's a fine and very valid choice to make. It's also equally valid to want marraige.

You can't argue that thousands if not millions of gay people from this country would benifit from having gay marriage legalized. It would make life a helluva lot easier - from adopting children to sharing assets. Again, these aren't things everyone has to partake in - be they straight or LGBT - but they should be open to everyone nonetheless.

Mark D. Snyder said...


When you say "they should be open to everyone" what do you mean by that? I believe that most of the 1400+ rights that acommpany governmental marriage should be available to everyone regardless of whether or not they are in a monogomous 2 person sexual relationship. What about mothers who are raising their children with their parents, or friends, or step parents? What about single people?