Take My Legally Recognized Life Partner, Please

27 Jun

Since the passing of landmark legislation this past weekend, more than a few people have asked me what my thoughts are on New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo ratifying a bill to allow same sex marriages in the state. I’m curious to understand why people want to know my opinion, I don’t think I’ve ever come out staunchly for or against homosexual relationships in the past. The most I’ve written about it here was a quick mention at the end of this essay, essentially to say that I don’t care about homosexuality. Not against it, not for it, don’t really give a shit. That’s not me adopting a cool, disaffected attitude to mask some underlying anxiety about homosexuality, but the result of deep, soul-searching introspection which has turned up a complete and utter void where my personal opinion was supposed to be. I think I must have taken some of my opinion on this matter and used it to pad out my opinion on Saved By the Bell, about which I can go on for volumes. Don’t test me on that.

Now that the deed is done in New York State, let’s all be real here for a minute: by and large, the conservative attitude against gay marriage has not been about marriage between two women, but between two men. That double-standard where homosexuality among males is a sin but homosexuality among females is more innocent–a turn-on, even–is as pervasive as it was in Ancient Rome and underscores the entire anti-gay agenda. When a woman dresses like a man, it’s cute, but when a man dresses like a woman he’s a fruitcake. When women kiss each other hello, it’s accepted, yet if men kiss either hello many people are disgusted. I get disgusted by it, too, but not because I assume the two men kissing are gay. I assume the two men kissing are French. French people are gross.

So I’m not going to elucidate the point that it’s okay for two women to be married. I think only the shrillest, most fundamental Christians are opposed to that, and there’s a limit to the things a well-paid Republican will rail against. “I just got a blowjob in the bathroom from a Taiwanese runaway,” thinks a Republican senator, “how can I, in good conscience, not allow two women to have a legal partnership? Especially if they’re hot women. And Taiwanese.” No, the issue here is whether or not it’s okay for two men to get married. Matrimony is not part of the life cycle, it’s a social construct. It’s really two people signing their names to the same piece of paper so they can get tax breaks and lots of junk mail from Babies “R” Us. I know there’s a deep religious component for some people, but since our Bill of Rights guarantees a separation of church and state, who cares? Start up a new church called the Holy Cathedral of Not Letting Gays Marry Ever and deny homosexuals membership. From a purely bureaucratic standpoint, two gay people getting married as about as newsworthy as a gay person signing up for a fishing license, or a gay person filing for bankruptcy. It’s just paperwork.

I guess the foundation of my understanding of homosexuality lies in the belief that gay people are born, not made. Living in New York, I’ve probably encountered every gay stereotype around, plus met plenty of gay people who did not fit a stereotype. One of my mom’s first employers was a fat, belching dude who drank whiskey and smoked cigars and had a voice like James Earl Jones, since his throat was destroyed by whiskey and cigars. And my mom’s boss had a boyfriend. He wasn’t closeted, but he didn’t wear his homosexuality on his sleeve like “new gays” sometimes do. I’m reminded of a time that a newly-outed lesbian friend of mine suggested I read the comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For because she knew I liked comics. I told her that the comic sucked, and she said I probably wasn’t into it because I’m not gay. “No,” I replied, “the comic sucks. That it involves the lives of several gay couples is the only interesting part about it, and that’s just not interesting enough by itself.”

So what the hell was my point again…oh right: my stance on gay marriage. What I’ve been asked to opine about is whether two men who are titillated by each other should be allowed to be wed. What I can’t wrap my head around is why I should care at all. People are enticed by so many disparate things, being aroused by another human being as opposed to some cartoon character or anthropomorphic deity makes more sense to me personally. Of course gay people should be allowed to legally marry, just like they should be allowed to get a driver’s license or register to vote. It’s a municipal designation where the law is concerned, nothing more. We’ve got a country of people who stay married for decades out of spite, partners who think of other people when they make love, couples that engage in shocking, dangerous stuff behind closed doors that would make the most avid Real Sex viewer puke. Two guys that appreciate each others’ penises should be allowed to get married, divorced, they should be allowed to open a limited liability corporation together and also have their names embroidered on hand towels. At least two men aren’t going to marry because they’re being pressured by parents or because one knocked the other up. No, gay people will marry, at least for the foreseeable future, out of love. And plus, every time a gay couple marries, it really pisses off an evangelist. That alone is reason enough to support gay marriage.

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