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The "M" Word: Writers on Same-Sex Marriage written by Kathy Pories


The "M" Word: Writers on Same-Sex Marriage written by Kathy Pories


In June 2003, Canada began sanctioning same-sex marriages. In November, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that denying marriage rights to gay couples violated the state constitution. In February 2004, four thousand marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples in San Francisco before the state supreme court ordered a halt. The debate is less about homosexuality than it is about the state and sanctity of marriage. What people remember about a moment of social change is what was said by our best writersówriters who can approach a subject with the sort of nuance missing from the editorial pages, who can give us a way of thinking about it from all sides, who write not to convince but to understand an issue. Especially those issues that will take years to resolve. We're pleased to be publishing an anthology that is not only timely but one that will be a lasting artifact of this moment in our history. The "M" Word includes essays from ten outstanding writers, gay and straight, serious and humorous: Francine Prose on what would have happened had Oscar Wilde married his lover; George Saunders on how we shouldn't outlaw only Same-Sex Marriage, but also Sameish-Sex Marriage; Wendy Brenner on being the maid of honor in a gay wedding; and essays by Dan Savage, Stacey D'Erasmo, David Leavitt, Alexander Chee, Jim Grimsley, and Michael Parker round out this provocative collection.


As it heads through the courts, dividing the nation and shaping the political landscape, the issue of same-sex marriage is becoming one of the major civil-rights battles of our generation. Now, some of the country's finest writers, gay and straight, explore the nuances of one of the most complicated issues of our time.

Drawing on personal experiences or culling from history, the headlines, or their own fertile imaginations, eleven noted writers present an all-too-human look at gay matrimony and its implications for marriage in general—and how our traditional marriages both influence and measure up to these new unions.

With essays by Francine Prose, on what would have happened if Oscar Wilde had married his lover; George Saunders, on the need to outlaw not only same-sex marriages but also samish-sex marriages; Dan Savage, on the supposed value of monogamy within marriage; Wendy Brenner, on giving her best friend away in a gay marriage; and many others. The M Word reminds us that marriage of any sort is an institution now ready for reexamination.

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