Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Meet The 'Accidental Activists' Of The Supreme Court's Same-Sex-Marriage Case

This piece from NPR's All Things Considered introduces some of the couples at the center of the marriage cases that the Supreme Court will hear next week.


  1. It's always interesting to see how practicality and relatability is framed as the driving force behind activism: you see it in the way everyone talks about Rosa Parks as well. When you say "she was just tired" you might be right, but you're also enforcing certain rhetoric around respectability politics. It paints these characters as both relatable and exceptional. And when I say they're relatable, I mean to the heteropatriarchy: they're almost all white, upper-middle class, long-term monogamous, employed, and able-bodied. Did these couples really "stumble" into this lawsuit, or were they carefully selected?

    It reminds me of the interview we read from that lawyer who worked on the Prop 8 case (I think...) and said that you can't tell marginalized groups that they have to wait for the perfect time. Were these lawyers waiting for the perfect couples? Are these the perfect couples? What are the consequences of a carefully marketed plaintiff base?

  2. ^Yes all of this. Also I'm a bit uncomfortable by the binaristic framing of "activism" and "non-activism." All the couples emphasize how they were just living their normal lives until they came up against the state and accidentally found themselves in the middle of a supreme court battle. However, for many LGBTQ people, especially trans* people, people of color, and people with disabilities, living life on a day to day basis is an act of resistance and survival. Is this not activism? At what point do we officially validate something as activism and how might race, class, gender, ability, etc. play into these distinctions?