The topic of gay marriage has been making constant headlines in California since the day I arrived here – which was when the local beauty pageant winner Carrie Prejean – promptly dubbed as Miss Guided after her spirited defense of her constitutional right to infringe on other people’s rights – took her stand against the same-sex marriage. And now on this week Tuesday, the Court of California upheld the state ban on same sex marriages which caused an outrage in the US gay community and is a topic of many a cafe and wine-bar conversations here in Palo Alto.
I have been following the debate out of the sheer entertainment value – as people such as Miss California Prejean as well as others eventually feel that they have to somehow justify and back up their opinion on precisely WHY should marriage be an affair between man and woman exclusively. And this is where I am yet to see a line of reasoning which is beyond the trivial “because it has always been so” and wouldn’t end up with the person stating it making a complete ass of him- or herself. It is also lovely to see people who have been on front pages in connection with their extra-maritial affairs, such as Rudy Guiliani, speaking of the sanctity of marriage and how it should remain between a man and woman (apparently with a possible provisio of “between a man and women” or “between a man and a woman with some romantic overlap”).
A true gem in the crown of anti-gay-marriage rhetoric is an article by certain Sam Schulman titled The Worst Thing About Gay Marriage: It isn’t going to work. Reading the whole hilarous piece one would come to two inevitable conclusions – 1) the author has probably been dropped on his head for several times during the vulnerable period of developing mental capabilities in his childhood and 2) he has never met a gay person in his life. It is a spectacular piece of bigotry that deserves to be read in its entirety but disregarding for a moment his ramblings on (apparently sacred) kinship structure and how gay marriage will wreck havoc with it, the central point on his argument homes in on a notion of marriage as a kind of a sacrifice of freedom to bang every member of the opposite (or same, if that’s your cup of tea) sex – that straight people somehow lose when getting married but gay people retain. This is the subject of the crescendo in the last paragraph of the article:
Can gay men and women be as generous as we straight men are? Will you consider us as men who love, just as you do, and not merely as homophobes or Baptists? Every day thousands of ordinary heterosexual men surrender the dream of gratifying our immediate erotic desires. Instead, heroically, resignedly, we march up the aisle with our new brides, starting out upon what that cad poet Shelley called the longest journey, attired in the chains of the kinship system–a system from which you have been spared. Imitate our self-surrender. If gay men and women could see the price that humanity–particularly the women and children among us–will pay, simply in order that a gay person can say of someone she already loves with perfect competence, “Hey, meet the missus!”–no doubt they will think again. If not, we’re about to see how well humanity will do without something as basic to our existence as gravity.
Coming from someone who has taken Shelley’s longest journey three times, Sam Schulman is objecting on gay people robbing the solemn aura of sincerity from his three past vows (and possible future ones) to be bound to his wife ‘Til Death Do Us Part’- this really had me giggling aloud.
But here is an altogether different view on the grave dangers of gay marriage – which points out a potentially disastrous result of allowing gay people subjecting themselves to the banal and soul-crushing experience of heterosexual marriage. Given that gay people currently make (and indeed, have made in the past) most of our culture, the results of this could be truly horrendous for all of us.