Counter Hegemonic Displays Of Power & Love In San Fransisco.

1232 words - 5 pages

The use of power to maintain and change the traditional ritual hegemonic view of marriage may ultimately lead to a civil transformation within society. The idea that marriage is traditionally reserved for a union between one man and one woman is being challenged through acts of transformative deviance to alter existing norms. Though some actions in support of same-sex marriage are transgressive forms of deviance, which do not change norms, the establishment has used many devices to preserve the 'natural' or socially inscribed definition of marriage to maintain a heterosexist world view. The actions taken by both sides of the debate use power to either maintain or transform social reality. The escalating transformative deviance displayed on behalf of and by same-sex couples is a direct result to hegemonic heterosexist norms which have been prevalent through society.Recently the Massachusetts state legislator's inaction to ban same-sex marriage, which was recently ruled unconstitutional by the states supreme court, has sparked numerous debates and actions across the country. The courts ruling in November of 2003 stated that "it is unconstitutional to bar same-sex couples from marriage and the rights endowed by the state" (Leff 2). In response to this Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco began to publicly distribute marriage licensees to same-sex couples. He stated that due to Massachusetts court ruling that "we are doing the right thing" (2). In response to over 3000 licenses issued conservative leaders have began to prepare to issue law suits to halt and void all licensees handed out. "No one made the mayor of San Francisco king; he can't play God" stated Randy Thomasson, director of the Campaign for California Families, a conservative religious organization (3). As the nation prepares for the outcome of the Massachusetts ruling and issuing of marriage licenses, responses to these counter-hegemonic actions will ultimately change or restore American social norms.The transformative deviant actions displayed by Mayor Newsom and thousands of same-sex couples are derived from their relationship and reaction to the imposition of normative social power. Historically homosexuals have been labeled deviant due to their sexual preference and actions which are considered to be 'unnatural' and against numerous social and religious norms. By labeling this group of individuals as deviant the majority of society asserts power in a manner in which Steven Pfohl would describe as " a dynamic characteristic of all productive human animal relations, which affects both people and what happens between people" (Pfohl 406). The practice of labeling homosexuals has been prevalent throughout much of history as a means to hold 'natural' supremacy.In spite of this assertion of dominate hegemonic rituals over the gay community movements have occurred which has allowed power to "open the door for some types of social experiences" which is "capable of transforming fluid and...

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