The purpose of marriage is two-fold: the first is to impose the existence of sexual property (that one’s sexual activities are the property of one’s spouse), and the second is to create a second-class citizenry (as people who are married have more human rights than people who are not). The latter is the role fundamentalists attribute to marriage against homosexuals, whom they consider inferior.
It is therefore absurd for people to claim that “gay marriage,” an oxymoron if there is one, is part of any progressive ideology. Marriage has been a tool of oppression of homosexuals. Begging for homosexuals to be subject to this tool that has oppressed them for centuries is insane, not progressive. So why is it not seen as insane?
Liberals claim that they want homosexuals to have equal rights as citizens of their country. But the right they seek is the right to oppress; they simply wish to take for themselves this right to oppress and to reform the second-class citizenry so they are no longer part of it. This is similar to the drive for homosexuals to be accepted as murderers (that is to say, soldiers, which means the same thing). The fact that heterosexuals have the right to become murderers does not mean homosexuals should be allowed to pursue the same right.
By all means, marriage and soldiery must be abolished. They are ethical and social abominations. Demanding that everyone be allowed to participate in them is merely to lend support and legitimacy to the abomination. Isn’t it unfair to not permit homosexuals to participate in the oppressive system that heterosexuals already have access to? No. The unfairness already exists in the fact that the system itself exists.
This is the fundamental difference between liberals and Anarchists. Liberals don’t really believe in fairness or equality as we understand it: they believe in “equality of opportunity,” which is a code-word for “equal rights to oppress.” Now that the right to oppress is spreading more and more, the third-world has become the main reservoir of people to oppress and exploit, instead of people in every country being oppressed by their own power elite. Neo-liberalism (and before that, colonialism) has been exporting misery around the world for decades.
Liberals are not against the State, or corporations, or schools, or marriage, or religion, or any other oppressive institution. Rather, they want everyone to have the “chance” of being subject to them, and of oppressing others with them. This is what they call equality.
Anarchists, on the other hand, are against all hierarchies. Our goal is not to prop up or reform tools of oppression, but to eliminate them. Our goal is to build a society free from control and inequality, not filled with the opportunity to control others and perpetuate inequality. The only proper Anarchist response to such movements as “gay marriage” is to either create alternatives to which homosexuals could participate (which would be hard, given the fact that marriage is a legal construct), or abolish marriage completely.
One may argue that this puts an extra burden on the oppressed, that demanding that the oppressed participate in the destruction of the institutions that oppress them is more of a hardship than demanding admission to those institutions. And yet, given the hardships and long struggles that civil rights movements went through (and are still going through) just to share the power of their oppressors (which, ironically enough, ultimately failed, since the power elite is still 90% male and 95% white anyway), this claim seems hard to back.
But also, marriage is still used around the world to oppress homosexuals and to make women the property of men. And here we get to the consequences of liberals supporting evil hierarchies, which is that those hierarchies are free to keep oppressing the weak elsewhere. As I discussed in the entry I linked, civil rights movements are inherently bourgeois because they seek to make the bourgeois lifestyle (including the ability to have control over others) available to more and more people, and really have nothing to do with equality at all.
To them, it is more important for a gay person in North America to be able to get married than it is for women or homosexuals in most of the world to be independent and free. As for any other statist ideology, there is always the implicit racist idea that one white life is worth any number of brown or black lives, and if we can exploit their misery for our comfort and well-being, then all the better, as long as they also have a chance to assimilate and become like us through “immigration” (yes, this is actually why liberals love “immigration”).
The ideal liberal society is a society where everyone is “free” to compete for privilege. Instead of the more or less fixed elitism of the conservative, the liberal favors a fluid, dynamic elitism, where the coercive apparatus used to oppress you may be manned by any person regardless of gender, skin color, or status. Nothing makes a liberal happier than seeing black people or women in political offices. To an Anarchist, oppression is oppression, and murder is murder, regardless of whether the hand holding the gun is dainty, hairy, black, or white.