Why do we need marriage to be happy?

Michael Cook
27 May 2013
Reproduced with Permission

Sorry, guys, we missed this, and it happened here in Sydney. At the 2012 Sydney Writers Festival four gay writers on a public panel were asked, "Why get married when you could be happy?" There was a consensus that gays did not want to be married, as gays do not aspire after bourgeois respectability.

ABC Radio recorded the panel discussion which you can hear below.

The most interesting response came from journalist and activist Masha Gessen, a Russian-American dual citizen and the author of a highly-praised biography of Vladimir Putin . She was married to a lesbian partner in Massachusetts and then divorced (tougher than you might think). Now she has three children who have five different parents. She would like to see the institution of marriage abolished. And, interestingly, she says that it is necessary to lie about gay marriage:

"It's a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist… [ Cheers and laughter from audience. ] Fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there - because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change, and that is a lie."

What is more disturbing than the views of the speakers is the genial applause and laughter of the audience.