The Spectacle Blog

The Least Compellingly Personal Event of the Year

By on 10.31.08 | 11:45AM

The Freakonomics guys try to keep their blog politics-free, so Justin Wolfers is forced to make his case against California's Prop. 8 subversively.

He masquerades his argument as a reflection on the wonder that his two gay friends' (partners of 18 years) wedding in California just prior to the election wound up a political event:

And so circumstances dictated that their love and their wedding, while being intensely personal, was also somehow public and political.

This reminds me of Bart Simpson walking towards Lisa saying, "on my way, I'm going to be doing this: [windmilling his arms]. If you get hit, it's your own fault."

And so circumstances dictated that Bart's walking and windmilling, while being intensely personal, was also somehow belligerent and aggressive.

A couple without political motivation, having truly committed to each other somewhere during the course of 18 years, would have found a way to express that commitment without involving the government or the political system.

For example, if for some reason the government forbid me from marrying a girl with whom I wanted to spend my life, at some point (very early on) I would go with her to my church and we'd get hitched. We would then be a married couple.

If, then, 18 years down the road, the government decided we could be married after all, and that, oh by the way, that marriage will convey with it certain substantial financial advantages, we might saunter down to the town hall and pick up a registration. This event would have no impact on the status of our marriage or commitment to each other.

The fact that Jed and Eric couldn't or didn't find a church -- or organization, or whatever -- that would recognize and authenticate their commitment in their 18 years together makes me wonder what they think of the tradition of marriage being an establishment of communities and not of states, and also whether their decision to "marry" at this particular time wasn't just a little bit... political.

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