Office Hours: Into the vault on marriage equality

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The New Yorker

This was a historic week in the battle for marriage equality in this country. The struggle is not over, but it has a powerful new ally. It got me to thinking about how many times I have written in defense of marriage equality and how many battles we have lost; like the Amendment 1 vote in North Carolina this week.

On our show, we often enjoy going back “into the vault” to find historic moments that speak to our current news cycle. In that spirit, I went into my personal vault and found this piece I wrote for The Nation in October of 2009 in which I detailed the reasons I support marriage equality. In doing so, I was also struck by my reflection on pain of my own first marriage:

I know from personal experience that a bad marriage is enough to rid you of the fear of death. But this experience allows me suspect that a good marriage must be among the most powerful, life-affirming, emotionally fulfilling experiences available to human beings. I support marriage equality not only because it is unfair, in a legal sense, to deny people the privileges of marriage based on their identity; but also because it also seems immoral to forbid some human beings from opting into this emotional experience.

We must do more than simply integrate new groups into an old system. Let’s use this moment to re-imagine marriage and marriage-free options for building families, rearing children, crafting communities, and distributing public goods.

Since I first wrote this piece, I married my soul mate, moved to a new city, started a new academic job, and begun hosting this show. Huge changes! Yet, so much of what I wrote in that column about the inequality facing loving LGBT couples hasn’t changed at all. I hope to look back someday very soon, and remember this week as the beginning of the end of second-class citizenship for so many of the people I love.

Office Hours: Into the vault on marriage equality

Updated