As the nation prepares for next week’s historic Supreme Court hearings on marriage equality, it is important to note that women will be disproportionately affected by whatever decisions get made. That’s because female couples account for roughly two-thirds of existing legal same-sex marriages. This underreported fact is highlighted in an amicus (friend of the court) brief submitted last month by the Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF, publisher of Ms.) and the National Organization for Women (NOW) in support of abolishing California’s marriage ban, Proposition 8.
The brief cites research indicating that in states with some type of formal recognition of same-sex marriage, legally married lesbians outnumber married gay males almost two to one. In California, 65 percent of “legally registered same-sex couples” are female pairs.
Marriage equality is intrinsically bound up with feminist goals (see my earlier pieces, here and here, that make this point). Aside from the statistics on the lesbian marriage majority, consider the argument made by marriage equality opponents about “responsible procreation“–the absurd idea that allowing lesbians and gay men to marry will increase the number of children born out of wedlock–and the historical power imbalances within marriage that have adversely affected women.
[Read the rest: msmagazine]