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Room For Squares
by Philip Wong on Aug 17, 2007
Last week, six Democratic presidential candidates met to participate in a televised forum on gay issues. While all six of them were proponents of equal rights and government benefits for gay Americans (to be frank, being opposed to equal rights is, at this point, pretty unfathomable), three leading candidates were still opposed to the idea of same-sex marriage, with one claiming to be for civil unions instead.
Let me make one thing clear first. My understanding of politics remains fundamental at best. It’s always seemed needlessly complicated and overly sophisticated. Perhaps that’s necessary when dealing with nations full of differing views and people, but all the party maneuvering, empty promising and proselytizing seems unnecessary for something that is as basic as human rights. Forgive me for sounding so simplistic, but doesn’t it just basically come down to something like letting your little sibling tag along to your friend’s slumber party?
It plays like a scenario from an episode of “Full House.” D.J. and Kimmy are planning some slumber party with their high school friends, and Stephanie makes a big deal about being left out. Danny, Joey and Uncle Jessie all side with D.J., claiming that she has a right to have her own private party because Stephanie probably wouldn’t have any fun anyway. By the end of the episode, Stephanie will have pulled any number of schemes to get into the party. In the end of course, after D.J. realizes everything her sister’s gone through to come to the party, she relents, they cry and everything is okay.
Now, I’m not naďve enough to believe that the struggle for marriage equality will end the way a 24 minute sitcom might, and the proposal of civil unions sounds suspiciously like a Tanner family ending. Pardon me Hilary, but I don’t need you to throw me a bone. Especially not after your husband’s less than stellar score on the report card of marriage fidelity. Ostensibly, civil unions will grant gay couples all the same rights that straight couples enjoy, essentially making us equals in everything but name. But what exactly are politicians trying to protect by not giving us the marriage-moniker?
I certainly don’t buy into the argument of faith and moral uprightness that many conservatives expound. When talking about marriage, since when have faith and morality ever gone together? Henry VIII made sure of that as soon as he declared himself head of the Church of England, invalidating Catherine of Aragon in favor of Anne Boleyn. By banning same-sex marriages, politicians have sought to protect the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, but where is this so-called sanctity displayed?
Certainly not in the five minute marriages enjoyed by our most privileged Hollywood celebrities. Britney Spears has done it twice. As have Madonna and Cher. Jennifer Lopez did it three times. And perhaps most spectacularly, Elizabeth Taylor -- eight times, twice to the same person. But it’s not just the Hollywood elite that have a rotating door policy when it comes to the marriage chamber. Divorce demographics show that 54.8% of new marriages end in…well, you get the picture.
I guess the argument is based on the assumption that without the responsibilities placed on them by children and vows (you know, all the good things straight marriages have), gay marriages just won’t work. What does that mean? That gay people don’t have long term relationships? And that the only way to get two gay people to stay together would be to bind them by family and law? Staying together for the children is a horrible idea. And while that may be how it works for some straight folks, we’ve never needed anything more than leather restraints to keep us tied to our men.
So why keep us from doing what Vegas allows millions of drunken fools every year to do on a whim? Somehow, accepting civil unions feels like settling. If Stephanie gets to go to her slumber party, then we should too. In the arena of human rights, there is no separate but equal. How rude!
by Philip Wong on Aug 17, 2007