I have been reading posts about marriage equality this morning on Facebook and have been thinking about why some folks, even some friends of mine, oppose it. I find myself going back to an idea which I have had before, an idea which I am quite sure I got from someone else. I make no claim that this is the reason why every person who opposes marriage equality does so, but I suspect it is the reason for some.
The opponents of marriage equality are right. Allowing same sex couples to marry changes the way we think about marriage. In particular, it threatens to change the way our children and grandchildren think about marriage. Growing up, as my three grandchildren will, with friends who have two mothers or two fathers, as well as friends who have a mother and a father as they do, the next generations of American adults will know that there is an alternative to patriarchal notions of marriage. Of course, many of these children will be raised by mothers and fathers who have themselves abandoned the patriarchal model, but the presence in their lives of families that are more obviously not patriarchal makes the point much more clearly.
I don't claim that fear of the end of patriarchy is the real reason for all the opposition to marriage equality. I do think it is clearly the reason for many opponents, especially those who openly espouse patriarchal notions of marriage. Sadly, for them, but not at all sadly for the rest of us, their battle to preserve patriarchy will be lost. Not today or tomorrow, but in the years to come when their sons and daughters see how much better the alternative is.