Wednesday, June 9, 2004

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My selfish reason for supporting gay marriage

From a purely selfish perspective, I shouldn't give a rat's ass one way or the other about the ability of gay Americans to get married. I'm not gay; I wasn't prevented from getting hitched. I think the argument that gay marriage undercuts the institution is hogwash, so whether it's legal shouldn't matter to me. I would derive some empathetic pleasure from seeing gay friends getting married, but that hasn't happened yet, so no effect there. There are many excellent reasons to support it, but none of them would appear to affect me directly.

However, The Onion reminds me of one personal incentive to support gay marriage with their fake news story, "Gay Couple Feels Pressured to Marry.":

Ever since last month, when Massachusetts became the first state to allow same-sex weddings, parents, friends, and coworkers have been pressuring Kristin Burton and her girlfriend Laura Miyatake to marry, the couple of 14 months said Monday.

"As soon as the news coverage about gay marriage started, my mom called me up," said Burton, who works as a nursing-home administrator. "Of course, she didn't directly ask me when I was going to marry Laura. First, she asked how Laura and I were getting along, and how business was at Laura's shop. But then she reminded me about my dad's heart disease and told me that he could go at any time. When she started to talk about how nice it was at my brother's wedding, I told her I was late for my yoga class."

Burton and Miyatake said they never expected the court's decision to add so much tension to their relationship.

"It seems like just yesterday I was annoyed because straight people were awkwardly asking if we were 'friends' or 'partners,'" Miyatake said. "Now, every convenience-store clerk who guesses we're gay asks us if we're going to get married under the new law. It's sort of a touchy subject, okay?"

The ability to ask my gay friends and colleagues when they're planning to get hitched and watch them squirm with discomfort answering the question -- that's going to be enjoyable.

posted by Dan on 06.09.04 at 02:04 PM


EVERYONE's a winner. As P.J. O'Rourke observed, if you let gays get married, soon they'll be having children, going to church, boycotting HBO, advocating school vouchers and voting Republican.

posted by: Lex on 06.09.04 at 02:04 PM [permalink]

Your post raises the question of how the gay community will deal with comments like "When are you going to make me a grandmother?"

Marriage is a fickle beast. Good Luck to all who enter into it.

posted by: J. W. Patterson on 06.09.04 at 02:04 PM [permalink]


Great Post. Don't you feel out of place in the Republican Party today?

posted by: Rich on 06.09.04 at 02:04 PM [permalink]

Having been on the receiving end of your questioning, I feel that I can in good conscience only support a gay marriage law that includes an anti-harassment provision. ;-)

posted by: Jane Galt on 06.09.04 at 02:04 PM [permalink]

"As P.J. O'Rourke observed, if you let gays get married, soon they'll be having children.."


I still say that marriage is a long-established institution, and that we tinker with it at our peril.

Civil unions, with all the legal protections - and responsibilities - that every other married couple has: certainly. But simply calling a dog a cat is not going to change the dog.

(The "rights" issue is a joke. Gays have exactly and precisely the same rights as everyone else: to marry anyone of the opposite sex that agrees.)

posted by: Mike on 06.09.04 at 02:04 PM [permalink]

Funny, very funny!

posted by: Jc on 06.09.04 at 02:04 PM [permalink]

Attachment theory: like straights--sort of--marriage gets them off the streets and out of the bars. The right step for straights; surely the right one for gays.

thelrd in TEXAS

posted by: Larry Davis on 06.09.04 at 02:04 PM [permalink]

Mike: Gays have exactly and precisely the same rights as everyone else: to marry anyone of the opposite sex that agrees.

So if the situation were reversed, and the law permitted just same-sex couples to marry, everybody would have exactly the same rights?

As for civil unions, I thought Max Boot had a good point (registration required):

Since the ultimate concern of conservatives is to preserve the institution of marriage, they would probably be better off caving on gay marriage rather than acceding to the most popular alternative: civil union. Gay marriages won't affect straights. But if civil union laws were to catch on, as Jonathan Rauch argues in his provocative new book, "Gay Marriage," many heterosexuals would probably eschew marriage altogether. That would be worse for society than seeing Rosie O'Donnell get hitched.

posted by: fling93 on 06.09.04 at 02:04 PM [permalink]


What would you say to a descrimination lawsuit by a gay couple against an adoption agency that prefers a hetero couple soley on the basis of sexual orientation.

I do not believe there has been enough study on the welfare of children living in gay household. It's simply too soon to make the judgement. Child rearing is what marriage is all about. Some seem not to recognize this.

posted by: Brian on 06.09.04 at 02:04 PM [permalink]

Child rearing is what marriage is all about. Some seem not to recognize this.

Well, Tony, as I'm married and rearing children, I suppose at first blush I might be inclined to agree with you.

But then I consider our married friends with no children (and no desire to have them); our unmarried straight friends happily and successfully rearing children; and our perforce unmarried gay friends doing the same. And then I ask, 'Your point was...?'

Bringing up children is often one of the most important things about marriage. Had you said that, I would have agreed with you, rather than dismissing you as somebody with distorted views (or, at best, somebody who hasn't fully thought through what he said).

posted by: Mrs Tilton on 06.09.04 at 02:04 PM [permalink]

Well, Tony...

Emmm... Brian, not Tony (whoever that might be). Sorry about that. Can't explain the mix-up; clearly I ought to be better about fully reading through what I write before hitting 'Post'.

posted by: Mrs Tilton on 06.09.04 at 02:04 PM [permalink]

how does this fit in with Rush Limbaugh's third marriage failing?

posted by: Andrew J. Lazarus on 06.09.04 at 02:04 PM [permalink]

Ha, lovely point, man.

I am gay and in looking for pro-gay marriage points, I found your post here.

Gotta say...that last line there said it all. The way I saw're asking your gay friends about when they hitched? That's exactly what this country needs! More diversity and no total rejection of one's lifestyle. If a gay person has straight friends and is engaged, how does that make him different? He'll have to face all the troubles of marriage, just like straight couples do.

This nation has to get its face out of its own ass and wake up to the truth: marriage is marriage. It should not matter if it's heterosexual or homosexual.

posted by: Paul Vlosich on 06.09.04 at 02:04 PM [permalink]

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