Same-Sex Marriage As Cultural Appropriation
One reaction is that this puts a new light on the common claim that "marriage" should be privatized and left to the churches, with the state handing out civil unions to everyone. In light of Monka's post this strategy can be seen, in part, as a type of "acknowledge inauthenticity" (as defined in my earlier post). This is not an entirely satisfactory solution -- the cultural practice can't be easily separated from the legal status, many couples want the legal system to actively endorse their form of couple-bonding (e.g. the infamous Californians who won't get married because the marriage licenses no longer say "bride" and "groom"), and backing down from demanding legal endorsement of the term marriage doesn't prevent same-sex couples from privately getting "married" in a way that still appropriates straight marriage practices.
A second reaction is that the marriage example leads me to believe that our constellation of options ought to include not just "(harmful) misappropriation" and "(benign or respectful) appropriation," but also "good misappropriation." Like bad misappropriation, good misappropriation alters the practice for its originators. But that alteration is to be applauded. The key element of traditional marriage threatened by same-sex marriage is the way it reinforces distinct (and often unequal) male and female gender roles. Such elements are already under attack from within -- my own straight marriage did not include such customs as the groom buying an engagement ring or the bride's father giving her away. But there will be another severe blow dealt if marriage becomes a practice that can be engaged in by couples who can't be assigned to bride and groom roles. And for progressives, that's a good thing. Conservatives' claims to non-interference with their practice are undercut by the bad values their practice is used to promote.
Another aspect that complicates the comparison is the exclusionary nature of the practice being appropriated. This isn't a case in which, say, white people have polka music and black people have soul music, but then along comes white Amy Winehouse saying she's entitled to play soul music too. This is a case in which straight people have marriage, whereas gay people not only have no practice that fulfils the same role of publicly and legally formalizing their relationship, but were actively prevented from developing such a practice. The traditional marriage that same-sex couples are appropriating is a key element in a cultural system that oppressed those couples.