February 24, 2004

isn't it queer


Dear 69% of the Country Who Believes Marriage Should Be Only Between a Man and a Woman:

What the hell is wrong with you? No, really, I want to know. What is it exactly about gays getting married that actually hurts you? Are you so filled with hate, or xenophobia, or disgust at anal sex, or the mindless blatherings of moron kids at summer camp in 1980 that you can't fucking see straight? Sure, women can vote, you can deal with having a black boss, and you respect the Japanese for making pretty great motorcycles - but you just hate fags, don't you, 69%?

Oh sure, you'll speak of "civil unions" and "giving them some benefits of 'normal' couples" and all, but when it comes down to it, denying same-sex partners the right to call themselves Married is just plain old homophobia. Someone has to define it for what it is, and since I'm not running for a Senate seat, I'll help move this debate along. It's just a simple, boring belief that gays are beneath you and don't deserve it. 69%, I wonder how you sleep at night.

Back in March 2002, we were in Washington D.C. for the evening, and Colin Soloway gave us the gossip running around Newsweek: Bush wanted to invade Iraq. The idea seemed preposterous to us, and we refused to believe it. Surely he was posturing, surely he was just shoring up some conservative base. But no, ten months later, Bush bombed the jehosephat out of Baghdad, and the unthinkable became commonplace.

The same happened this morning. I never believed he'd actually go through with it. I couldn't fathom that he'd actually rewrite the Constitution of the United States to include a clause that specifically discriminates against a certain kind of people. Maybe he knows he can't win, and this is a desperate, cloying move to get the Feverish Right back in his camp. But this comes at the expense of MILLIONS of schoolchildren who look up to the President, a man who is willing to go in front of the country and tell them that homosexuals aren't equal to the rest of us. This kind of damage takes DECADES to undo. All these children will have to be reprogrammed into tolerant creatures.

69%, I would like to show you some pictures. These images were snapped at the exact same moment last weekend when our dear friends Lee and Suzanne got married in San Francisco. The top is Lee and Suzanne, the middle is Chip and me listening at Southpoint Mall in North Carolina, and the bottom is Jason Lyon listening in Los Angeles (note the cell phones in each shot).




This was a moment of joy I wish you could understand. Here's another picture, an outpouring of love for the gals when they got back to Durham:


And these are not freaks, these aren't deviant Sapphic orgiastic child molesters; these are teachers and bike shop owners and students and folks who run ice cream parlors. They are a mix of straights and queers. They are smiling at you - and you, 69%, are telling them to fuck off.

I have no agenda here. I am a straight white male who grew up in a middle-class house in Iowa. I am married to a fairly straight blonde chick from Texas. Granting gay marriages provides nothing for us personally.

I was once like you, maybe. My household was fairly tolerant, but there were the odd comments about fags being bandied about. My high school experience was so sexually shut-down that I could barely fathom heterosexuality. In college, I called Christian Laettner a "fucking homo" just like everyone else. It wasn't until all of my friends in high school came out, and I immersed myself in the artistic scene in New York in the mid-90s, that I understood these things for what they were.

So there may be hope for you, 69%. You might be able to claw your way out of the wet paper sack that holds you hostage. I have no such hope for our President, who has shown himself to be a total asshole. But you might have a second act in you after all. Don't be on the losing side of this. Every 40 years, America changes for the better: 1884 brought the child labor laws; 1924 gave us the first presidential election where women could vote; 1964 had the Civil Rights Act, and now 2004 brings this.

History will brand Bush as a loser, a James Buchanan trying to keep slavery the status quo, a latter-day Dred Scott decision. History views a human rights violation as a virus, and works around it. Keep the big picture in mind, and you'll be surprised at what seems second-nature even a few months later.


today's Herald Sun piece—click on image for story (thanks, Steve)

Posted by irw at February 24, 2004 11:43 PM
Posted by: Sean at February 25, 2004 4:53 AM

1) this is only the second time that the constitution has been altered in order to restrict civil liberties. The other time, it was prohibition, when they thought the evils of alcohol could be gotten rid of by making it unconstitutional to drink.

2) If they are worried so much about defending marriage, why don't they make a constitutional ammendment banning adultery? Jesus spoke out about divorce being a horrible sin, yet said nothing about buggery, why don't the Christians want to make divorce illegal?

This is the worst governmental thing to happen during the course of my life, and that includes the wars and the stolen presidencies.

Posted by: cathie at February 25, 2004 6:04 AM

lee and suzanne on the front page of today's durham paper: heraldsun.com

all i ask is please don't make this about christianity, as many, many of us who call ourselves christians are just as appalled at george bush and all the rest of the hatefulness as those who don't.

Posted by: Greg at February 25, 2004 6:43 AM

While researching the history of marriage to help understand the historical context of the current debate I ran accross the following article that I thought the community here might enjoy:


Posted by: Bud at February 25, 2004 7:05 AM

69%? 69? Oh, the 6th-grade-childish-humor-level irony is almost painful!

Seriously, all people deserve their rights. History shows that if they pursue them, they'll get them.

I wonder what percentage of Americans opposed ending slavery, or ending child labor, or extending the vote to women, or extending civil rights to everyone?

Fortunately, I don't think the proposed Amendment stands much of a chance. Our Constitution is designed to protect us from the tyranny of the majority (mob rule). Remember, for an Amendment to pass, first House and Senate *both* have to approve it with a 2/3 majority each (or 2/3 of State legislatures would have to call for a Constitutional Convention -- either is unlikely in this case), and then 3/4 of State legislatures would have to approve it.

And hey! Martin Van Buren was an abolitionist! They Might Be Giants would *never* lie to us:


Posted by: cullen at February 25, 2004 7:20 AM

How many of the 69% (convenient tongue in er, cheek number for this discussion by the way) find themselves gleeful when watching Will and Grace, Six Feet Under, Qeye4stguy (needs better acronym), or any other of the highly popular shows which feature openly gay characters? The truth is too many people find homosexuality okay only in fiction, rationalizing their moral fissure on the issue by separating entertainment from real life, as if they're allotted a few hours of homo-vicarious time a week to giggle but if called before God and Country , they'd meekly admit that John and John don't deserve to say they do. How hypocritical.

Wave thy banners high...

Posted by: Salem at February 25, 2004 7:52 AM

The idea of attempting to resolve this debate via a constitutional ammendment is so ridiculous I can't even begin to comment. How disconnected with reality could GWB actually be? Sure there are hateful people but I truly believe that the majority of the 69% opposing Gay Marriage do not feel any hostility toward the Gay community. All people resist change. I'll bet Abbie Hoffman got pissed if the trash collectors switched days in his neighborhood. In an uncertain world, people don't embrace the idea that EVERY "norm" is up for grabs. 69% of America is as dissconnected with the Gay community as GWB is with reality. They don't really get it. I live in a tiny Southern Baptist Community in Georgia, where a prominant man, through a lifetime of Christian leadership, had a dramatic impact on the biggest Baptist church in the county. His two Gay daughters and their partners are members of the church. If this man could have that impact on a religeon that will throw a woman out of the church if her husband runs off with his secretary and divorces her, than there is certainly a chance for Gay marriage.

Posted by: Emily at February 25, 2004 9:04 AM

I came across this site after checking out a link that turned out to be the famous "State Shapes" entry, and have been following it since. Just like all other college students, I am idealistic and sure of my beliefs, but I continue to be confused about the gay marriage issue. Mostly, I'm confused about WHY straight people oppose it! I also wish this country would remember that whole "separation of church and state" thing, and I can't help but find it a little bit fishy that Bush publicly met with 13 Catholic officials, but not one homosexual person. (Or at least not one that the media has picked up on.)

Whew! Sorry for venting on all the facets of this issue at once, but you don't even want to get me started on the idea that this will lead to beastiality.

Posted by: Ian at February 25, 2004 10:49 AM

Welcome, Emily, from Terp-land!

And yes, Bud, I wrote down the wrong President. I fixed it. The ironic thing is this: James Buchanan was probably our only gay President. How nutty is that!

Posted by: joan at February 25, 2004 11:26 AM

Maybe the problem with marriage isn't that gay folks can't get married, but that plain old fashioned straight marriage is pretty fucked up itself. (And I say this as a very happily married woman.) The more we all get divorced, etc., the more money folks will spend on marriages (I've heard of people with tens of thousands of dollars in loans for what essentially is a big party), and the more pressure there is to keep it out of the hands of everyone else.

But why should the government legislate morality? (Except for maybe kiddie porn--that's something worthy of legislative efforts to stop it.) But why should I and a partner of any gender get a different tax break because we've signed a paper saying we're not going to sleep with anyone else until we've either cheated or stood before a judge and admit we changed our minds?

GWB and company have been saying that marriage is a sacred institution, part of religious heritage. Well, that's a load of malarky. I got married while wearing purple, on my deck while my dog barked at squirrels, without an officiant to run the ceremony (we addressed each other and had some readings from family), with a Jewish ex-boyfriend who got ordained online signing the paperwork. And that's a legally recognized marriage! Nothing religious there at all--we just happen to be a male and a female.

I fully support the rights of gay folks to marry. But I'd much rather see marriage for everyone left to religion alone. If we need some civil paperwork to protect partners' rights and parents' rights in life and death, so be it. But while we still have this crazy institution, it needs to be available to partners of all kinds (it wasn't too long ago that couples of different races couldn't marry). Why shouldn't two friends be able to set up a household and call it marriage or civil union? Why not two siblings?

What social purpose does marriage really serve? Historically, it helped protect women and kids. Does it still? Aren't there better ways of doing that?

Posted by: David Ball at February 25, 2004 5:25 PM

Here's what I don't get--how in the hell is someone else's marriage--gay OR straight--at all a reflection on mine? How is it a threat to my marriage at all? I'm having trouble seeing the connection. I just thought the strength of my marriage had to do with the strength of our commitment to each other.

Then again, I live in ground zero of satan-worshipping.

Intellectually lazily yours, DB

Posted by: DB at February 25, 2004 5:31 PM

Walter Fuckin' Cronkite, REPRESENT!


Spread the word--Salem, this gets to your point exactly. His piece is called "The Most Christian of Virtues."

Posted by: Jason at February 26, 2004 4:55 PM

I am not a conspriacy theory-loving, religion-hating, pachouli-wearing leftist hippie. I'm pretty damn far to the left, but I like to think my opinions have nuance. Still, I gotta say, this President scares the shit out of me. Has anybody noticed the not-so-slight whiff of history in a (semi-) charismatic ideologue leader who invades other nations without provocation, convinces the legislature to allow him to trample civil liberties, imprisons thousands without due process, and then vilifies an entire minority class with rhetoric about the downfall of civilization, all for political gain? Is this Washington, DC in 2004 or Berlin, circa 1933? I am FREAKED OUT.

Posted by: Tanya at March 1, 2004 11:59 AM

Is that Bert next to the Pakistan article? Heh.

Posted by: Frencheneesz at March 14, 2004 1:10 PM

I think the institution of marriage is a huge waste of time for both the government and for normal people. It should be striken from law entirely.

Now, marriage used to be a very worth while institution back in the day, cause there was a legitimate danger of being raped / kidnapped or being unable to support oneself if you didn't get married. Women have not been able to support themselves alone easily until the 20th century. Not only that, but there were no protections for bastard children, and thus without a marriage many children would be neglected or die as a result.

However, nowadays marriage is a big party and a symbolic gesture that has more to do with tax breaks and "commitment" than anything else. The trouble spent on divorces and being "stuck" in a bad marriage and unfair alimony and rulings are detriments to society. The pressure to get married is just as strong as it used to be, but the pressure to stay married is much less. Thus our society spends much more on marriage than ever before, not ONLY because we like to be more extravegant for our spouses...

And for the government, marriage doesn't make sense. Giving tax breaks or joint-filing does not help society, and deprives the government of needed money. The government doesn't need to condone living together, people would do it anyway. ALSO, the government could simply give tax breaks to those with children, instead of anyone married that MIGHT have children. Because seriously, protecting children is much of the basis for marriage, and now we can do it easily without marraige. Also, one could simply write a few legal documents to permit ANYONE to make decisions for them, to visit them in a hospital or other detainment area, or to receive money for them.

So marriage should be between two people and a church, rather than a lawful institution. That should satisfy someone like bush that wants to protect the christian marriage institution. Keep it in the church and us damned democrats can't destroy our "most sacred" institution.

Posted by: Eileen at February 24, 2009 11:19 PM

I just came across your blog doing a search on a Ray Bradbury story title (I will find it yet!!) and this old (and yet still topical) entry caught my eye.

Very well said. Someday the 31% of us - gay and straight, will foredo the uptight self-righteous homophobic elitists and see just a bit more constitutional civil rights in the U.S. I made up my mind some forty years ago and no one's changed it yet.

Actually, speaking for myself, I'm of Irish Catholic descent and have been raised to find all sex gross, but good on whoever wants to marry, love and support one another.

One hopes that good sense will someday rule the day.

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