In case you live under a rock with some kind of force-field blocking news of fauxlebrity misadventures, Kim Kardashian filed for divorce on Monday, 72 days into her marriage.
The dominant meme, at least within my social networking circles, is that the extremely speedy dissolution of this straight couple’s marriage is somehow an argument in favor of legalizing gay marriage. [See here, here, here, and here]
On the one hand, I’m in favor of any possible way we can convince Americans to let gay people get married, already. But truthfully, I hate this meme. I do not think gay marriage should be legal because committed gay couples are morally superior to capricious celebrity nuptials. Gay marriage should be legal because marriage is a human right.
Another thing I think is a human right? Divorce.
Divorce (or at least the availability of divorce) is a good thing, people. Please do not take divorce for granted. My hope and expectation is that my marriage will last the rest of my life; but I am tremendously grateful that (thanks in large part to my feminist foremothers) I have the right to get out of this marriage some way other than death if the need for that arises. And I am grateful that my mother was able to divorce her first husband and marry my father. I’m a “child of divorce,” but in the good way. Divorce saves lives, and saves people from lives of misery.
Do I suspect that the extremely short duration of Kim Kardashian’s marriage might indicate she was less than sincere about her vows in the first place? Yes. But the extremely short duration of her marriage is only the second biggest clue, after her being Kim Freaking Kardashian. And really, what do I know? There are situations in which a marriage should be ended after only a few months. Again, I’m glad that option is available to people.
Of course, getting divorced is often a horrible life experience, so I’d definitely discourage less-than-sure people from getting married thinking, “oh, we’ll just get divorced.” But that’s not my decision to make for them, which is kind of the whole point, right? Or as Melissa McEwan of Shakesville put it,
There is the Great Kardashian Divorce of 2011. Does the internet need one more person making some sneering comment about straight people and their sanctity of marriage, which is an Actual Point, but one I’m increasingly reluctant to make since I sort of want same-sex couples to have the right to forge wildly inappropriate unions in lavish, multimillion dollar ceremonies if that is what they REALLY WANT? No, the internet does not need that.
Amen. So let’s lay off on the divorce-shaming as we try to create a world were loving and deeply committed gay couples can get married. If the price for that is frivolous gay celebrity marriages of limited tenure, well, uh, is that really a price at all? I know it will help me pass the time at the supermarket checkout.