In 2006, a group of two dozen seasoned LGBT activists and scholars gathered together for a weekend to share their concerns about the same-sex marriage movement and to offer a different vision of marriage politics. Later that summer they released a statement, “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision For All Our Families and Relationships”, which synthesized their concerns and suggestions. Originally released with over 250 signatures, it was eventually endorsed by thousands more, including celebrities and well-known political leaders. Consequently, it generated much interest in the mainstream media, LGBT activist and academic circles, and the right wing press. (The National Review direly warned, “Your worst fears are justified. The radical redefinition of marriage you’ve been worried about for so long is exactly what they want”). In the subsequent months and years, the document contributed to a change in dialogue around the same-sex marriage movement, and marriage politics more broadly.
Yet, ultimately, the mainstream gay rights movement did not adopt the proposals put forward by this statement. Same-sex marriage is now legal, the critiques and concerns voiced by this document largely ignored by our current policies. In that regard, the statement was not a success. Nevertheless, Beyond Same-Sex Marriage continues to be referenced today, and taught in queer studies classrooms across the country.
Now, ten years later, some of the original authors of the Beyond Marriage statement will gather together for the first time to wrestle with its legacy, and publicly debrief what happened then, what lessons can be learned now, and what the implications are for the future in a post-marriage world.