... ‘Getting married’ is a political act. The institution, and its use to discriminate against sexual others ..., only exists because people — many of whom consider themselves tolerant, even ‘allies’ — still decide to get married and/or perpetuate their being accorded privileges (some physical, some symbolic), even when they know others aren’t being allowed this right. I hope I’m not seen as someone who’s raining on someone else’s parade, but it just seems presumptuous to parade around hetero-privilege. I get offended. [emphasis added]This isn't a new conversation. But it illustrates that many people target marriage itself, not the people who dictate marriage laws, as the source of the disparity. This is an incredibly ineffective rhetorical approach to the problem of discriminatory laws. The whole point of supporting gay marriage is that we want everyone to be allowed to marry, not that we want fewer people to have access to an institution that grants rights. It's not the bus's fault that Rosa Parks had to sit at the back.
My stupid bus analogy is a good segue for the second component of that comment thread: heteros boycotting marriage is not the equivalent of the Birmingham bus boycotts, and straight couples poo-pooing matrimony are not progressing the gay marriage movement. Effective boycotts work in two ways: first, they deprive the discriminator of money; second, they create enough bad publicity to shame the discriminator into adopting new policies. When southerners boycotted public transportation in solidarity with Rosa Parks, the racist bus company owners actually stood to lose money and gain a lot of negative attention.
Who suffers when straight couples boycott marriage in solidarity with gay couples? Do you think these guys feel the hurt when progressive different-sex couples don't get married? Do these asshats stand to lose anything when straight yuppies stay home instead of tying the knot? Do you think George W. Bush (and every other politician who insists that marriage is "the union of a man and a woman") wakes up in a cold sweat because his straight marriage quota wasn't met that month? Though anti-gay marriage advocates claim that they care very deeply that everyone get married and have babies in a "traditional" family, they actually don't give two shits what a pair of straight liberal kids do with their personal lives. The only people losing out are wedding planners and hotel owners, and they don't carry a lot of political clout.
If boycotting marriage isn't going to spur change, what action can straight couples take if they want to get married and promote the gay marriage cause at the same time? Of course the usual political activities (voting, contacting legislators, blogging) are the best start. But if you insist on making the act of marriage an agent of change, maybe start by stripping your wedding ceremony of patriarchal and heterosexist symbolism. (Damned if I'm walking down any aisle to be "given away" by one man and "reclaimed" by another.) If you believe that marriage should only be a civic, rather than religious, process, maybe your ceremony can reflect this sentiment. Or preform the civic and the spiritual elements of your union separately. Promote marriage for what it should be--the legal joining of two people who love each other--rather than as a tool of discrimination and subjugation of women and homosexuals.