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After Marriage EqualityThe Future of LGBT Rights$
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Carlos A. Ball

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479883080

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479883080.001.0001

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What Marriage Equality Teaches Us

What Marriage Equality Teaches Us

The Afterlife of Racism and Homophobia

(p.238) 9 What Marriage Equality Teaches Us
After Marriage Equality

Katherine Franke

NYU Press

This chapter warns that same-sex couples today face the challenges of enduring bigotry—as with emancipated black people who gained the right to marry in the 19th Century, the bigotry that justified the long-standing exclusion of sexual minorities from civil marriage will survive the repeal of that exclusion and fuel a backlash against the new rights holders. The chapter urges same-sex couples to prepare for the ways in which access to marriage licenses will lead to new forms of state discipline and regulation driven by homophobia. It also points out that what the marriage equality cases have done for gay people has not, and cannot, be accomplished for individuals bearing the signature of racial inferiority. In the marriage cases, lesbians and gay men have accomplished a kind of re-branding of what it means to be homosexual—they have been awarded a type of “dignity of self-definition” that law and culture still deny to African Americans. Finally, the chapter cautions that the members of the gay community who have succeeded, through marriage equality gains, in lifting a badge of inferiority that marked them are those who are willing or able to present their relationships as respectable. The process of redeeming the social reputation of “good gays,” depends on a contrast with “bad gays” who do not want to marry or discipline their sexual selves into a tidy couple form.

Keywords:   marriage equality, racial inequality, backlash, homophobia, dignity, stigma

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