reading notes: “Queering Citizenship? Same-Sex Marriage and the State” Amy L. Brandzel
DepartmentWomen and Gender Studies
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“Queering Citizenship? Same-Sex Marriage and the State”
Amy L. Brandzel
•that marriage has historically been used as a tool to enforce a hetero-normative
•an analysis of the ways in which marriage is a deliberate and well-functioning
exclusionary institution that is harmful to those who are prohibited from it, those
who choose not to participate in it and finally, those who do participate in it.
•the public debate over same-sex marriage is deeply connected to concerns
regarding the boundaries of race, sex, and gender in American citizenry generally.
•citizenship - a messy and multi-layered legal status, identity, and community
•legal history of citizenship in the United States:
omarriage has enjoyed a history of regulation that has significantly restricted
the rights of women and racial minorities while remaining the very status
that differentiates “good” citizens from “bad” citizens.
oBy making marriage a necessary characteristic of upstanding citizenship,
while prohibiting certain citizens from participating in the institution, the
state has crafted a citizenry in which only those who are able to marry are
oIn this promotion of heterosexual, intra-racial marriage, the state has
valued and forwarded a notion of exclusive and highly privileged citizenship.
oSame-sex marriage would likely simply bolster this exclusive citizenship
while further masking its deliberate and exclusionary construction.
•current national debate about same-sex marriage: has exposed many of the
problems inherent in citizenry
othe assertion of heterosexuality as normative and homosexuality as aberrant
is inconsistent with fierce legislation such as DOMA that seeks to defend the
institution of marriage from homosexuality.
orevealed the extent of the state’s interest in policing citizenship through the
institution of marriage.
•Bendzel’s hope that queer Americans might forgo the immediate and illusory
benefits of marriage in the short-term in favor of a commitment to a visible
subversion that continues to expose governmental interest in the policing of race,
gender, and sex boundaries.
•the state has used marriage to promote properly gendered, properly racialized,
properly heterosexuals in America.
•It has differentiated that all other sexual or familial practices are deviant.
•citizenship is mostly played out as exclusive, privileged and promotes
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