Ask Me Why: Is gay marriage worth fighting for?

Two lesbians offer two different answers.

January 7, 2011

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(Flickr/Gay Liberation Network)
Protestors at the Freedom to Marry rally in 2009.

Gay marriage continues to make headlines across the country as lawmakers from various states debate the issue. Earlier today Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee promised to sign a gay marriage bill into law should the state legislature send it to his desk. It was a promise that echoed statements made by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn about his intentions for the civil unions bill passed by the Illinois legislature in December. Meanwhile Maryland lawmakers have said the issue will be on the docket for their upcoming legislative session.

Amidst the passionate debates taking place nationwide, it’s interesting to remember that there are differences of opinion even within the LGBTQ community about whether marriage equality should be their most important fight.
 
For example, Searah Deysach, owner of the Edgewater sex toy store Early to Bed, says she has no interest in the institution or rituals of marriage, even after twelve years with her partner. Deysach believes that gay people should have the same rights as straight people, but sees marriage as a broken, old-fashioned institution that should not be privileged over other kinds of relationships.
 
Deysach shared her views with WBEZ in the latest installment of Ask Me Why, our conversation series that asks two people who disagree on some issue to get to the bottom of why they believe what they each believe.
 
Deysach’s companion for this conversation was her friend Jackie Kaplan, a political and social activist with the anti-poverty group Avodah. Kaplan’s social justice work and her ten-year marriage to wife Ann have convinced her that anything less than full marriage equality will leave families like hers stuck in separate-but-unequal limbo.
 
You can hear an excerpt from their conversation posted above. They started the conversation by discussing how each sees her own relationship, what they call their significant others, and the ambiguous territory their less than legal status puts them in.
 
Ask Me Why is produced in collaboration with the Illinois Humanities Council, and was made possible by a grant from The Boeing Company. If you and someone you know are interested in participating in this series, you can download the application form here.