‘Marriage for everyone’: only communist society can put an end to sexual discrimination

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By announcing the forthcoming adoption of a law authorising gay  marriage, the French government has provoked a series of mobilisations and media debates where everyone is asked to choose their camp : ‘for’ or ‘against’ gay marriage.  The same thing has happened in other countries: in Britain David Cameron’s proposal to legalise gay marriage has created deep divisions in both the Tory party and the Anglican Church (which had already been convulsed by the scandalously radical idea of allowing gay priests and women bishops).

Homophobic demonstrations are an expression of capitalist decomposition

The repulsive demonstrations organised by various homophobic organisations like ‘Civitas’ or ‘Famille de France’ were shockingly large. If the fundamentalist Catholics, with their monkish garb and massive crucifixes were the main troops, the breadth of these mobilisations shows how far decaying capitalism is spreading irrationality, dehumanisation and the hatred of the ‘other’. Under the cover of slogans about ‘defending the family’, the demonstrators hardly hid their racist and homophobic prejudices.

In the face of these manifestations of hatred and collective delirium, organised in the name of an inhuman ‘normality’, the proletariat must affirm its attachment to sexual freedom, the respect for differences, but from the starting point of its own class struggle. Because the struggle for communism is not just a combat for bread to eat and for a roof over our heads. It is above all a combat for the emancipation of human beings, for “an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all” (Communist Manifesto).

Marriage serves the interests of the possessing class

A question remains however: will the legalisation of homosexual marriage take society towards greater sexual freedom? Leaving aside the idea that ‘marriage for everyone’ is a way of fighting against discrimination – insults, aggression, homophobic bosses won’t unfortunately disappear with the wave of a magic wand – and all the waffle about ‘human rights’ and ‘equality before the law’ – the arguments used in favour of gay marriage reveal the reactionary nature of this new contract: the bourgeoisie, and especially its left parties, present gay marriage as a social advance which will allow people to benefit from the ‘financial advantages’ and ‘rights of inheritance’ enjoyed by heterosexual couples, in particular with regard to children who can only inherit from one of their parents. These arguments are a perfect illustration of the fact that marriage is nothing but a money relation.  As Marx put it in the Communist Manifesto:  “On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form, this family exists only among the bourgeoisie”.

Of course many workers get married to sincerely express their love and to benefit from the meagre financial and administrative advantages that go with it. But marriage is an institution which is fundamentally linked to class societies. For the bourgeoisie, marriage has little to do with love. It is above all a contract for the conservation and transmission of private property: “this marriage of convenience turns often enough into crassest prostitution-sometimes of both partners, but far more commonly of the woman, who only differs from the ordinary courtesan in that she does not let out her body on piece-work as a wage-worker, but sells it once and for all into slavery”[1]

This is the nature of the ‘social progress’ promised by the left: a reform based on the commodification of human beings and on capitalist production, a system which lies at the root of all the discriminations and all the harassment and pogrom-type behaviour towards gay people.

El Generico 24/1/13



[1].  Engels, Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State. In his work Engels makes a thorough historical critique of the family, and especially of the role of marriage in class societies.