As the push for marriage equality makes it way to the Supreme Court in the upcoming months, it puts many LGBT couples in a unique situation; for the first time in history, same-sex couples are given the option of getting married in the United States.
For most same-sex couples — particularly those who established relationships in the 80’s and 90’s, or earlier — they never imagined their relationships would be accepted, let alone recognized by law by state or federal law.
From a social perspective, it will be interesting to see how older gay couples respond to such a change. As relationships evolve, particularly heterosexual relationships, the dialogue of marriage and commitment are an early foundation. For same-sex relationships, of course commitment is discussed, but marriage — if even talked about — was something pushed onto the back burner; well, until now. Today, individuals must navigate the waters of what it means to be a gay couple in the year 2013 and beyond.
From the same logic, it will also be interesting to see how LGBT millennials deal with marriage — as any educated and informed member of Generation Y would assume that same-sex marriage should (will) be granted at a federal level within the next decade or so. Does marriage mean more to me, as a gay male, because this is something I’ve been pushing for since I started college in 2007?
More so, as a collective generation, will the overwhelming divorce rate of the generation before us push us to make better decisions when it comes to tying the knot, or will the still evident pressures of American society — no matter ones sexuality — push us to settle down in our 20’s, build our careers in our 30’s, and enjoy suburbia in our 40’s?
It’s a topic both interesting and far more complex than one could even touch upon in a 500-word article.
The dynamic of gay marriage becoming universal throughout the United States will change society for the better, but I suppose, to some extent, there may be some “collateral damage” when it comes to the older couples.
“What do you mean you don’t want to get married after 35 years together? Why not? What does our relationship mean to you if you’re not willing to get married?”
As I touched on before, many factors will be aiding in this dynamic shift — age, LGBT acceptance where on resides, career, etc. — but this is not something that the United States has not experienced before.
When interracial marriage was legalized in a 1967 Supreme Court Decision, interracial couples still had many decisions to make as they were finally allotted the opportunity to marry the individual they loved — regardless of color or origin.
As we continue to progress forward, one can cite studies and surveys and religious beliefs and cultural backgrounds and family history, but at the end of the day, who cares?
It’s hard enough for me to get a second date as an educated gay male living in New York City; please don’t make it any harder.