What’s with all this talk about getting married, anyway?

Behind the Veil 

What’s with all this talk about getting married, anyway?

I'm gay. That's not big news -- a lot of people already know it -- and I'm not bragging or anything. It just might bear repeating because of what I'm about to say.

Gay marriage is the dumbest idea I've ever heard.

I'm not saying the queer-nuptials set cost John Kerry the election. Plenty of other folks might be saying that, but everyone knows that the impotent Democratic Party has only itself to blame for a soulless campaign wherein millions and millions of raging Anybody But Bushers pretending to have a hard-on for Kerry couldn't even carry him across the threshold. Now that that charade is over, let's dispense with another one: That gay people even want to get married.

Oh, sure, Richard John Baker and James Michael McConnell sued the state of Minnesota for a marriage license way back in 1971, and a couple of Kentucky gal pals did the same in 1973. Ask your florist whether he's ever heard of Richard John Baker and James Michael McConnell, though, and you'll get a big, clueless shrug. Because he doesn't care about gay marriage. And yeah, the American Civil Liberties Union pledged in 1986 to fight legal barriers to gay marriage, and yeah, the San Francisco Bar Association argued for gay marriage in 1989, and a scattering of starry-eyed couples started filing for licenses around the country that same decade. Hell, I didn't even know about any of that until I looked it up on the St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture on the Internet.

Ask me about the history of the gay civil rights movement, though, and off the top of my head I can tell you about lesbians who passed as men so they could live in society unaccosted before World War II, about the Stonewall Riots of 1969, about how Dan White assassinated openly gay San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone in 1978, about how Ronald Reagan didn't utter the word "AIDS" until seven years into his presidency (even though it was a nationwide health crisis), about the U.S. Supreme Court's decision that gay people had no right to privacy in their own bedrooms in Bowers v. Hardwick in 1986, about my friends who have been disowned by their families, about everyday gay people who get murdered just for being gay.

But ask me about gay marriage, and I'll tell you about how ridiculous a couple of dykes looked in their powder-blue tuxedos one night years ago at Tootsies.

Before just now, when I looked up the history of gay marriage online, all I knew was that the current bad dream really started when the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled in favor of queer couples in the mid-'90s, setting off the screaming hysteria in which state legislatures across the country banned gay marriage, and gay-courtin' President Bill Clinton, having slid into office partly on a promise to end the ban on gays in the military, signed the Defense of Marriage Act, making sure that the federal government defined marriage as between one man and one woman and that states didn't have to honor one another's fruity marriage licenses.

But Jesus Christ, people, aside from a few deluded lovebirds who were inexplicably driven to imitate the most overrated institution in heterosexual culture and the do-gooder attorneys who then felt compelled to represent them, no gay person I know well has ever wanted to get married.

A couple of friends who live in Massachusetts seem baffled by the whole idea. "Now we gotta decide whether to get married!" one said when she visited Kansas City this past summer. "There's all this pressure, like, should you pop the question? And will your girlfriend get mad at you if you don't?"

And if you do, who gets the bachelorette party? Which one of you dignifies the institution of marriage by getting shit-faced at Kelly's? Instead of doing blow-job shots with whipped cream on top to celebrate your imminent sacred vows, do you sling back a few Wet Pussies instead?

That oh-so-touching display earlier this year, when 4,000 couples tied the knot at San Francisco's City Hall? OK, so they got all giddy when some politician decided to bestow upon them the same rights that so many straight couples enjoy. As for the straight couples, a lot of their sanctified unions are obviously so blissful that they had to ban gay marriages just to make their own look better. C'mon, my gay brothers and sisters, can't we do better than aspiring to get it wrong half the time?

I've been to one lesbian "wedding" in my life, ten years ago, and it was a sweet little ceremony with candles, and I was a friend of a friend. The couple? Like half of all straight couples who get married, they're no longer together.

I've actually been in two straight weddings. One was my little sister's -- she's now divorced. I still don't want to know how much money my parents spent for that party at the Omaha Sheraton. The cheese cubes alone looked like they cost a month's rent. The other wedding was for my hippie friend John, who asked me to be his "best man," ha ha. In that wedding, I learned the very painful lesson that tuxes simply aren't meant to be worn by women. That marriage, John's third, lasted four years. It took him awhile to learn his lesson, but now he doesn't understand why gay people would want to get married, either.

So here's a message to those two lesbian couples who just filed a lawsuit challenging the gay-marriage ban Oklahomans passed on November 2. Give it up, sisters, please. You live in the reddest of the redneck red states, and it's just not worth the pain and suffering you'll put yourselves through trying to be heroines.

Does anyone object to this marriage? Hell, yes! I do!


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