By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Last week, a Massachusetts court ruled that gay marriage is legal in that state, providing new fuel for conservatives who are gearing up to make gay marriage the wedge issue of the presidential election. President Bush has already hinted that a constitutional amendment, for crissakes, may be necessary to stave off this gay threat.
Responding to the Massachusetts ruling, Bush released a statement saying, "Marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman. If activist judges insist on re-defining marriage by court order, the only alternative will be the constitutional process. We must do what is legally necessary to defend the sanctity of marriage."
Before we all go into knee-jerk paroxysms of knee-slapping hilarity over this non-issue being hoisted by these moral morons, consider their side for a minute: Does allowing gays to marry threaten the institution of marriage?
If you really think about it, the answer is an unequivocal yes.
If you're straight and married, you've almost certainly got gay people to thank for it. Wedding planners, florists, clothiers, hairstylists, caterers, priests: it's no mere stereotype that these professions abound in gay folk, and your wedding would have been drab if not impossible without them. Add to that the gay friends and officemates who make such a pleasant and positive fuss about your nuptials. And TV's Queer Eye spiff-up squad is only a distillation of what gay people have been doing for ages: making straight men and women look desirable, or at least survivable, to each other so that they might hook up.
If gays were busy getting married themselves, do you think they'd have time to preen the rest of us? We'd all be back in the trailer park in our overalls, picking scabs off our unmoisturized faces and wondering why the phone doesn't ring. It is only because gays can't marry that they get caught up at all in the romance and filigree of heterosexual marriage, and they'd be off us like fleas off a wet dog if they could go to weddings that didn't depend upon our breeder antics. It's not just marriage, but the very survival of the species that depends upon gays being forcibly kept—by constitutional amendment, if need be—in their role as our eternal best men and bridesmaids.
Now on to the knee-jerk paroxysms: aside from the above, every gay man and woman in the nation could marry five times over, and it would not affect you a whit. Why the hell should you care? If Eskimos marry, does your wedding bed grow cold? If gays marry, does your wife grow a dick? It does not affect you! Remember one of the founding tenets that made America great: mind your own goddamn business. That goes double if you're the government prying in between the sheets.
I've known some gays who are real jerks. That's because they're like everybody else, except for the making your wife grow a dick thing. There are gay jerks, gay Samaritans, gay plumbers, gay machinists, gay bums, gay war heroes and gay Sept. 11 victims. They get to pay the same taxes, do the same jury duty and die in the same wars (albeit with a sense of service and secrecy that straights needn't muster) as every other citizen. Why shouldn't their love and commitment be accorded the same respect and protections in the land to which they contribute and defend?
But gay marriage would make a mockery of marriage! And that's the job of heterosexuals, right? Can they possibly screw it up worse than straight folks? The divorce rate's higher than 50 percent, and couples are bailing out of marriages quicker than ever; something like 60 percent of married men and 40 percent of married women have extramarital affairs; and their kids who aren't busy shooting their classmates are packed with so many pills they sound like maracas when you shake them.
An 86-year-old sleazeball can marry an 18-year-old dominatrix, and that is sanctified. Larry King can marry for the seventh time, and it's sanctified. Britney Spears can get married and annulled quicker than you can say "publicity whore," and it is sanctified. Yet a gay couple that has stuck it out through better and worse for 40 years, being exemplary neighbors and citizens the whole while, pose a threat to marriage? It is legal for them to marry, of course, just not to each other. They could go out this afternoon and marry a total stranger, so long as it's someone of the opposite sex. That's the law. What's left to mock?
But for all of history, marriage has meant the sacred bond between a man and a woman! Except for when it meant a man and several women, or a man and a woman and his deceased brother's wife, or a man and his slave, which wasn't significantly different from being his wife since women were chattel with no say in their own lives and certainly no vote. Let's be guided in all things by historical precedent, shall we? I'll go lock up the slaves and child laborers while you go get the horse—but don't hook no buggy to it because that ain't how we done things—and we'll go downtown and shout down those apostates trying to introduce antibiotics, electricity, pavement, baseball and all that other newfangled nonsense.
But what about the Bible? Oh, you mean the part where Jesus chased the gays from the temple with a stick? Hold on, I read that wrong: it was the money changers Jesus was after, suggesting that today he'd be whacking heads on Wall Street not Christopher Street. But what about the time he berated the mob of gay people? Oops, sorry, it wasn't gays; it was a mob of judgmental zealots that he told off, remember, when he admonished that only he who was without sin should cast the first stone.
Unlike the fearmongering preachers spewing bile on the airwaves today, Jesus said a lot about love and acceptance, but he never uttered a single syllable about homosexuality. Ah, but he did give a blanket affirmation of Old Testament law, where a man laying with a man is an abomination punishable by death. But that exists alongside so many other abominations and admonitions that there aren't enough goats to sacrifice to keep every one of us sinners from being put to death. There are bans on premarital sex, adultery, lust, sleeping with a woman during her period, eating three-day-old meat, eating shellfish and, let's not forget, "You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard." Forgot about that one, didn't you? Ha-ha, you're going to Hell. So why not take a tip from Jesus and put your own house in order before you go tearing down your neighbor's?
But what about the children?
What about them? If you're worried about gay parents molesting their children, bear in mind that most molestations, even same-sex ones, are done by heterosexual adults. And when parents go bonkers and set their kids on fire or starve them in basements, it's usually because "God" told them to, not Mr. Blackwell. Sure there are gay monsters, but probably in no greater percentage than there are among straight families. And stable gay couples could adopt some of the unwanted children born to the unfit parents of more sanctified marriages.
But won't having gay parents cause children to turn gay? Sure, just look at the gay offspring of Dick Cheney, Sonny Bono and Phyllis Schlafly. Gay. Gay. Gay.
But what would gay marriage do to American values?
You may have a point there. Look at Canada, where gay marriage has turned them into such a nation of faggots that they couldn't even see the clear and imminent danger posed by Iraq. They've gone soft loading up on universal medical care and cheap prescription drugs, while we're left holding the line against Saddam and sodomites alike.
Repeat after me, with gusto this time: "Gays getting married does not affect me."
Please keep that in mind in the months ahead because the American Taliban ensconced in the White House will be doing all they can to bang the anti-gay drum, to distract from issues that do affect you, like: your job going bye-bye overseas; your decline in real wages; the health-insurance crisis; the deficit that will hobble your children's future; the children left behind by No Child Left Behind; the willful dismantling of environmental protections; the subjugation of our energy policy to corporate interests; the unbridled corruption of White House cronies like Enron and Halliburton; the runaway military budget; the abrogation of our civil rights; the lies told to us to fabricate an unnecessary war costing hundreds of American lives and billions of dollars, with no end in sight. You know, issues like those, the kind grown-ups talk about while the kids and feebleminded are out obsessing over their neighbors' wee-wees.