Longing for Loving

Katherine M. Franke, Columbia Law School


Post-Lawrence efforts to secure marriage equality for same sex couples must be undertaken, at a minimum, in a way that is compatible with efforts to dislodge marriage from its normatively superior status as compared with other forms of human attachment, commitment and desire. Resisting the normative and epistemic frame that values non-marital forms of life in direct proportion to their similarity to marriage, we must unseat marriage as the measure of all things. To this end, I'll suggest a thought experiment: substituting friendship for marriage at the center of the social field in which human connection takes place. No longer the sun around which all other relationships and relations orbit, our investments in marriage and marriage's investments in us are likely to yield in such a way that we can imagine making the argument for same sex couples' right to marry while imagining and cultivating different longings than that for Loving.