>Steve Horwitz on the Free Market and GLBT Identity

>At the most basic level, as historian of sexuality John D’Emilio has argued, capitalism created gay and lesbian identity. By separating earning income from the family, industrialization and capitalism enabled people to survive economically outside of the family. This created both the “singles culture” of the 20th century but also enabled homosexuals to adopt the full identity of being gay or lesbian, as opposed to just engaging in homosexual acts. It’s no surprise that gay/lesbian culture thrived early on in urbanized environments (industrial jobs and anonymity were the keys). Having made modern gay identity possible and having caused marriage and family to be focused on love and consumption, rather than child-making and child-raising complementarities, is it any surprise that gays and lesbians would want “in” to the institution of marriage? Given the story I’ve told above, what is the fundamental difference between a gay couple wanting marriage and a heterosexual one wanting it, especially as an increasing number of heterosexual couples turn to technology to help them have kids? As Coontz has argued elsewhere, the demand for same-sex marriage is not revolutionary. The revolution happened when love conquered marriage – same-sex marriage is just unraveling the implications.

More here. His use of the word “capitalism” is in dispute, as the word for many free market socialists of yesteryear meant “state capitalism” in modern discussion. Though I believe that the actual, worthwhile elements of this “capitalism” he speaks of – the free market – indeed contributed to GLBT identity (in the political sense), as well as the marriage-for-love phenomenon Stephanie Coontz has written about.


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