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Room For Squares
by Philip Wong on Oct 31, 2008
Although it’s not uncommon for those of us in the gay community to have straight friends whose views differ from our own, it’s usually the case that their opinions are somewhat similar to ours. After all, they wouldn’t be our friends if they didn’t have somewhat left-leaning ideals to begin with. So really, it shouldn’t surprise us when they decide to come join us for our No On 8 phone banking sessions. But every so often, you hear something that really catches you off guard.
The other day, my friend and I were walking past some “Yes on 8” posters. Now, we’re both staunch supporters of same-sex marriage, so the mutual disturbance we felt at the sight of these posters was palpable. Immediately, we looked around to see if there were any actual Yes-on-8’ers in the vicinity. For one thing, we didn’t want to be stoned to death, but more accurately, we didn’t want to be incited to throw any stones, or knives, of our own…which could very well have happened had either of us been egged on. Luckily for us, there was just the one poster, so we rolled our eyes and moved on.
In the ensuing conversation, we discussed our like consternation at the idea of eliminating people’s rights because, more than a gay-straight issue, Prop 8 is about the moral and ethical treatment of all people as the same. I stated my thoughts behind the issue; she concurred and then followed up with her reasons for being against Prop 8. Among the laundry list of specifics she entailed, one in particular struck me as being decidedly off color.
In addition to explaining that gays should be allowed to get married because they want to, because it has no effect on straight people, yada yada yada, my well intentioned but ultimately heterosexual friend also said, “And if gays could legally marry one another, it might be good for them. I mean, it might help them to stop being so promiscuous. It might be the push some of them need to actually settle down, since right now, a lot of them don’t feel like they’re tied down.”
Now, there are a number of things I can infer from her “reasoning” that flat out make me laugh. I mean, the thought that marriage will somehow “save” us from our hedonistic ways is a good place to start. Or maybe the idea that somehow, being allowed to get married will make us less “gay” and more “straight,” like some twelve step rehabilitation program where first comes marriage, then children, then countless bouts of adultery, and ultimately divorce and voila! Gay to straight, presto change-o! Yeah, that’s pretty damn funny. But overall, the one thing that really gets me is the idea that gays will prove more successful at monogamy than heterosexuals. It implies that same-sex marriage is a solution to an imaginary problem, namely, our supposedly overabundant bed-hopping ways.
To posit same-sex marriage as a potential way to “fix” our problems is to present it as another form of the electro-shock therapy in well intentioned disguise. I just have to ask, if marriage hasn’t kept heterosexuals from sleeping around, what makes people think that it’ll keep gay people from doing the same thing. We’re no better and definitely no worse than straight people. When will people see that promiscuity is not an affliction that knows how to discriminate? It’s neither a problem of the gays nor a solely straight issue. When will people get it through their heads that the so-called “sanctity of marriage,” whether between two people of the opposite or of the same sex, cannot be saved by denying or allowing it to either group?
This is reasoning that’s against the point. We’re not in this business of same-sex marriage to prove that we’re better than heterosexuals at staying married, or that we have more respect for the idea of marriage because we’ve been denied it for so long. We’re simply saying that we should have the same chances to explore the same options because, essentially, we’re all the same. There are no good nor bad intentions, just equal rights, plain and simple.
by Philip Wong on Oct 31, 2008