Wednesday, July 14, 2004

The Politics of Love


Gay Marriage Ban Headed for Senate Defeat

A proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage was headed for defeat in the Senate today, doomed by nearly solid Democratic opposition, sharp divisions within Republican ranks and a lack of consensus among voters over how best to deal with the issue.

Even with the strong backing of President Bush, the measure could have trouble attracting a simple majority of the Senate, GOP leaders acknowledge, let alone the two-thirds 'super majority' needed to adopt a constitutional amendment. Yet GOP strategists hope the issue will help them in selected regions, and with crucial conservative voters, this fall.

This is good news. I'm sure most of the left end of the blogosphere will be blabbing about just how good and what it means, which is valid and needed. But I want to discuss this from a different standpint: that of a married man.

The thing is, I love my wife but don't like marriage all that much. I don't expect many people to fully understand this, so I'll try and explain as best as I can.

My wife, Elvira, is a lovely woman. I adore her. At the end of October, we will celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary, though in my mind, we've been together since our first date, more than five years ago. The fact that we're together is what is special, not that we underwent some goofy ceremony. Frankly, I could have cared less if we ever did the little dance or not. I was then and am still today perfectly willing to spend the rest of my life with Elvira. It didn't take some dude in a funky hat waving his magic wand over us to make it so. And really, two people standing in front of their friends and family, making ludicrous promises they can't hope to live up to is silly and to use this farcical ceremony as the standard criteria on which we base our civilization is absurd (How absurd? remember the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail in which the peasant is browbeating King Arthur for basing his claim to the thrown on the fact that some moist tart lobbed a scimitar at him. that's how absurd).

To hear them talk, you'd think the fate of Western Civilization hinges solely on what happens in our bedroom. That's quite a lot of pressure to preform, none of it warranted and certainly, none of it asked for.

My marriage is a verbal agreement between me and my wife. That we signed on the dotted line of some piece of paper is a mere technicality. Something we did to get the IRS off our backs. As Jonathan Richman says:

the tax form comes
fill out 'married'
a technicality
but I'm tellin you
that I'm not married
I'm not single
I'm still me

I say 'wife'
because it stops all talk right away
about the way we be
but 'wife' sounds like you're mortgaged
'wife' sounds like laundry

Words like Wife, Husband and Marriage don't mean a damn thing. All that matters is how people behave, not what you call them. So if two Queens in San Francisco or the nice "sisters" down the street want to spend the rest of their lives together and do so openly, honestly and in full sight of their family and friends, all that matters is that they do so with respect and love. But what really disgusts me is that the GOP is trying to politicize my relationship and use married people like me and my wife as tools to discriminate against a portion of the population, to keep them as second class citizens based on nothing more than superstition and farcical ceremonies.


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