SELECT explanation FROM gay-marriage ORDER BY awesomeness

This has got to be the single best explanation of why gay marriage will bring an end to our civilization, starting with our databases. You can actually learn a lot about database theory from this post, to say nothing of the deeply structuring heteronormativity of our bureaucratic culture. There must be some way to use this post to invalidate California prop 8 in court… I just haven’t figured it out yet.


Christopher M. Kelty is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has a joint appointment in the Institute for Society and Genetics, the department of Information Studies and the Department of Anthropology. His research focuses on the cultural significance of information technology, especially in science and engineering. He is the author most recently of Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software (Duke University Press, 2008), as well as numerous articles on open source and free software, including its impact on education, nanotechnology, the life sciences, and issues of peer review and research process in the sciences and in the humanities.

5 thoughts on “SELECT explanation FROM gay-marriage ORDER BY awesomeness

  1. Only tangentially about your post, but why do married people have rights that unmarried people don’t? I must say that it puzzles me that somehow in the course of discussing gay marriage the economic aspects of the institution either get glossed over completely or get “emotionalized”. “Isn’t it horrible that we live in a country where two people living in a committed partnership can’t take part in a group health plan?” Umm, isn’t it horrible that we live in a country where you have to be married to get health insurance?

  2. That’s very true, although there is also the opposite situation where marriage might exclude someone from a particular benefit.
    Tangentially again the issue of privilege given to marriage was discussed from a friendship angle in the Guardian this weekend –
    I heard Katherine Holden present her work on singleness in a conference last year, so it was interesting to see her talking about it from a much more personal angle.

  3. Thanks BJG, for the guardian article. It’s true, there are whole ranges of relationships that aren’t included in a romantic/sexual definition of marriage (be it same or opposite ‘sex’ or even polyamorous).

    I would recommend a look at I’m not sure it’s been updated in three years, but it’s so ahead of the times, it doesn’t need to be.

  4. Thanks for the suggestions! really is years ahead of its time. And I had not encountered Katherine Holden’s work. I found her homepage at and skimmed a couple of her articles—good, non-derivative stuff.

    I also wanted to take the opportunity to again push Robert Barnes’ review essay of Maurice Godelier’s recent book:

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