We are increasingly seeing arguments, such as here and here, to the effect that the fight for marriage equality is the wrong fight because we should not have to register our relationships with the state or give the state power to grant special privileges to particular forms of relationships and that we should not need to do so to be committed to our partners. While I am sympathetic to those arguments, I do not consider them to be well thought out.
While I firmly believe that marriage and the family should be privatized and deregulated, I do not believe that any such thing will happen soon, at least in the United States. By contrast, recognition of same-sex marriages under state and local law, if not under federal law, is a reality in some states. Why should we let the perfect that is so far off be the enemy of the good that is in our grasp?
People also argue that marriage has nothing to do with the traditional civil-rights movement. I for one am glad that the Lovings did not receive that insight. Besides, even if the factual premise of that argument were true, so what?