Sociology of Gender: Same-Sex Marriage

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SOCY325 Final Paper

Marilee Lindermann and Zach Wahls both discuss arguments in favor of same-sex marriage but focus on different aspects of this topic. Lindermann references her long-term partnership with another woman and says that while she does not have an interest in marriage, she believes that marriage equality is very important. Wahls defends his own family, which is comprised of two mothers, a daughter, and himself. He expresses the “normalcy” of his family in comparison to heterosexual families and says that by depriving homosexuals in Iowa of marriage, the state is classifying them as second-class citizens. These two arguments can be applied and analyzed in conjunction with several literary works we read in Module 3. Specifically, Scott, Butler, and Warner identify and allude to concepts that relate gender identity to sexuality, analyze meanings and language, examine the concepts of norms, normalcy, and identity categories, and the queer theories associated with masculinity, patriarchal society, and sexuality. While Warner is the only author who speaks directly of same-sex marriage, Scott and Butler’s theories can be equally applied to Lindermann and Wahls’ arguments.

First, Joan Scott dives into poststructuralist theory by identifying language, discourse, and difference as important aspects of social constructs. I believe that language and difference are both important to the gender and sexuality categories. Language does not only represent wording but acts as a meaning-constitution system. Language does not have inherent meaning; instead, people have an active role in attaching names to meanings. These meanings create boundaries and categories that we construct our identities around. The boundaries, especially, define normalcy and inequality. This practice provides a way to understand how social relations are conceived, how they work, and how institutions (like marriage) are organized. That being said, words do not have any fixed meanings and...
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