The struggle to define the union of two people under the law has continually produced division. Within America the states were divided; the Supreme Court as a Judicial body was divided in a vote of 5 to 4; the arguments anticipating the vote revealed that individual Justices of the Court were themselves subjectively divided. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, offered a tacitly psychoanalytic point: “How does withholding marriage from one group — same-sex couples — increase the value to the other group?” The more one forbids the jouissance of the Other, the more enjoyable it becomes. For both?
Amidst the conflict, from another vantage we can suppose that marriage, gay or straight, is an attempt to ordain the sexual relation within the guarantee of the law. Everyone is entitled to their best attempt to make the sexual relation exist – just as everyone has the perilous right to jouir in their own way. But we cannot forget that fantasies are elaborate constructions to veil the impossibility of the sexual relation. The dissymmetry of love divides the ground underneath wedlock like a faultline.
The trouble is that ‘sex’ according to US law and sex according to the laws of the unconscious are two different matters. Despite the best efforts to inscribe the sexual rapport within the definitions of constitutional law, the final word on ‘sex’ will never be written in the unconscious. Something (and by extension someone) will always be left out. In another sense, the gay marriage debate is an issue of the legal guarantee to enjoy a fantasy. It asks that the Other of the State witness a seal of jouissance. Jouissance and the law are a match made in heaven – this can already be heard in ‘Til death do us part.’