Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-12-17
Download Issue
  News Index   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds     AIDS @ 32       Marriage
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

NUNN ON ONE: THEATER Lesbian actress Beth Glover gets evil in 'Cinderella' NUNN ON ONE: THEATER
Lesbian actress Beth Glover gets evil in 'Cinderella'
There's a new madame in town, and this time she's played by ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Identity

Yasmin Nair Marriage and Immigration
by Yasmin Nair
2006-03-01

facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


OINK: One Income, No Kids. That's how I describe myself. I'm part of a growing number of single people that's nearly 40 percent of the population. Marriage rates are down to less than 50 percent, and over half of all marriages end in divorce. A recent Sun-Times report indicates that more women refuse marriage even if they have children. Instead, they live within large and complex networks that include friends, family and supporters.

That used to be the queer model of 'family.' But if you believe the news, marriage is the all-consuming topic of concern for queers. And not just any marriage—gay marriage, as defined by the public figures who talk of its many advantages, is more retrograde than straight marriages have been for decades. In a desperate bid to affirm that they are not just like but better than straight couples, proponents of gay marriage ( PGMs ) evoke a model of marriage that reproduces gender and labor disparity. The New York Times reported last year that larger numbers of gay men choose to live as dependents on their spouses and stay home to take care of their children.

Gay marriage will be legal in the next 10 years—not because it's a progressive idea but because it's a truly conservative cause in cultural and economic terms. PGMs are fond of phrases like 'marriage equality' and the 'freedom to marry,' but gay marriage promotes inequality and allows the state to distance itself from necessary reform in the areas of health care and social services. Give us marriage, PGMs say, so that we can enjoy the privileges of straight couples, like health care and benefits.

You can't ask for privileges that are, by definition, only available to a few and still claim to ask for equality. PGMs are silent about 40 million uninsured single and married people. They dismiss opponents of gay marriage as homophobic bigots. But the opposition to gay marriage also comes from progressive quarters. Why should gay marriage take the place of real reform? Why should anyone feel forced to marry in order to get health care?

PGMs argue that gay marriage will only make things better for the rest of us. If our marriages are recognized as equal, they argue, society will eventually recognize equality for everyone. Straight marriage has only ever worked to the advantage of straight married couples, so why would gay marriage work differently? PGMs don't think about 'marriage rights' in a framework of social justice and that allows employers and the state to deny benefits to unmarried people. After Massachusetts legalized gay marriage, several employers there discontinued domestic partnership benefits for unmarried gay couples, explicitly stating that those who wanted them needed to get married.

That leaves gay couples with no options but to enter into marriages in order to keep benefits, and it does nothing to address the larger issue of health care reform. Gay-rights groups further this kind of tunnel vision by insisting that we present one voice. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force admonishes us: 'First and foremost, everyone in the community, no matter where he or she is on marriage—for, against, don't know or don't care—must unite to fight the backlash.' The real backlash here is not against gay marriage but against anyone who dares to voice dissent from the PGMs' agenda and who believes that one's marital status should not be the primary guarantor of rights.

Lately, PGMs have seized upon the issue of immigration. In the wake of upcoming immigration reform bills, PGMs argue that legalizing gay marriage would benefit 'bi-national couples.' American queers could sponsor their spouses for citizenship. But what about the many single queer and straight immigrants with no desire to couple up? Couples are not more deserving of recognition, their love is not sacred, more complicated or more worthy of rescue.

Arguing for gay marriage as part of immigration reform reinforces the inequalities that we see with regard to domestic partnerships—gay immigrants will be told to marry or else. In fact, because immigration is so bound up with the notion of 'family,' many straight immigrants are coerced into exploitative and abusive marriages in order to avoid deportation. PGMs would like to extend that abuse to queers as well.

Immigration laws reproduce gender and labor inequalities in the same way as marriage. The fact that 'spouses' can gain entry and citizenship simply because of their marital status means that unpaid domestic labor involving housekeeping, child care and sex becomes invisible at the point of entry. Immigration laws reinforce inequalities when deciding what kinds of immigrants should be allowed in and with what kind of status. A businessperson is more likely to be given a green card and citizenship than a migrant worker whose labor is considered less necessary and who is much more likely to be exploited and even unpaid. There's a direct parallel between the invisible labor of spouses and that of migrant workers. That's why making the gay or straight family and marriage the bases of immigration reform keeps labor inequalities in place.

Queers who care about immigration reform consider it in its totality. Currently, HIV-positive foreigners cannot enter without special waivers. Transgendered people face overt discrimination at points of entry. Immigration proposals like the Sensenbrenner bill ( H.R. 4437 ) would make it illegal for even homeless shelters to aid undocumented workers. A truly comprehensive immigration reform package would re-evaluate the outmoded domestic paradigms under which we allow immigrants, gay and straight, to enter. And it would explore the links between domesticity and labor. We need to reconsider how and why we value some domestic arrangements—monogamy, family and 'commitment'—over others. PGMs pretend that their marriages operate outside the economic sphere. But marriage has always been an economic contract; the link between romantic love and marriage is a recent construct.

If PGMs are not willing to think about immigration reform in these expansive terms, they really ought not to think about it at all. And return to their families that are more like the fast-disappearing heterosexual ones: 2.8 children, one working spouse, a stay-at-home parent and barbecues on a well-tended lawn—a lawn that's cared for by one of the millions of possibly unmarried and undocumented laborers who keep this economy going.

Yasmin Nair can be reached at welshzen@yahoo.com .


facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.

Top world LGBT stories of 2014 2014-12-17
Study: More female couples marry than male 2014-12-10
Marriage in Florida may start Jan. 5 2014-12-10
LGBT impact; Portman declines; Cher's political tangle 2014-12-09
Marriage equality comes to Florida 2014-12-03
Making his Marc: Author Solomon recalls 'winning marriage' 2014-12-03
World news: Chinese hookup app; marriage in Finland 2014-12-02
Arkansas, Mississippi have marriage bans overturned 2014-11-26
Federal Judge strikes down Mississippi marriage ban 2014-11-26
Winning Marriage book event, Library exhibit explores marriage 2014-11-24
Study: Public support for LGBT rights up in last three decades 2014-11-24
U.S. Supreme Court clears way for SC same-sex marriage 2014-11-20
Federal judge: Montana's anti-equal marriage rule unconstitutional 2014-11-19
Marriage begins Thursday at noon in South Carolina 2014-11-19
Veteran killed; Perry disrupted; Collins honored 2014-11-19
ASK LAMBDA LEGAL Veterans' marriage benefits 2014-11-18
Michigan says gay marriages void after appellate decision 2014-11-16
Court denies South Dakota's motion to dismiss marriage suit 2014-11-14
Lambda, ACLU ask Supreme Court to review Ohio marriage cases 2014-11-14
Federal Judge Strikes Down South Carolina Marriage Ban 2014-11-12
Marriage now allowed in Kansas; Elton's foundation's grants 2014-11-12
6th Circuit upholds marriage bans: Tenn., Ohio, Mich. and Ky. 2014-11-06
Lambda sues Social Security on behalf of gay Chicago widower 2014-11-06
Missouri marriage ban ruled unconstitutional 2014-11-06
Marriage Equality USA releases updated map 2014-11-05
Crafty Broads makes weddings manageable 2014-11-05
BOOK REVIEW The Marriage Act: The Risk I Took... 2014-11-05
Photo book documents 1980s same-sex couples 2014-11-05
Celebrations: Weddings 2014-11-05
Hazing conviction; Barney lauds Cruz; Windsor's request 2014-11-04
Federal judge affirms the freedom to marry in Kansas 2014-11-04
ELECTIONS 2014 Marriage equality: How they voted 2014-10-29
Melissa Etheridge: On marriage, performing 2014-10-29
Anti-gay group's Glenn Stanton talks bigotry, marriage 2014-10-29
Egalite Chicago forum on LGBT activism post marriage equality 2014-10-28
Fed govt to recognize same-sex married couples in six new states 2014-10-25
Oberweis: Would support federal marriage equality law 2014-10-23
Laramie Project; Boy George; Library exhibit on marriage 2014-10-22
District Court dismisses suit seeking marriage in Puerto Rico 2014-10-21
President Obama: Constitution guarantees right to marry 2014-10-21





Copyright © 2014 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
the online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 



 

Myles Brady: Howard Brown's first transgender outreach coordinator
 
National: LGBT bill in Congress; trans soldiers; blood ban
 
Entertainment: 'Broadway Bares' news; Grindr awards; Robyn's new CD
 
Many GLBT homicides connected to sex work, rallies Dec. 17
 
LoBianco now at Chicago House
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now








  News Index   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds     AIDS @ 32       Marriage
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.