If you homophobes don't like it, you're welcome to skip the
ceremony. Don't bother coming to the reception either. You don't
even need to send a gift! Your particular church, temple or mosque
is also welcome to bar gay weddings from its altar. But you can't
stop Mendelssohn's March from playing for Adam and Steve, as well as
Cindy and Eve, at least not now, in the Great State of California.
Don't get me wrong. I understand how you feel: Angry, violated,
scared your kids will "turn gay," and wondering why in tarnation
these crazy queers can't be satisfied with just being "domestic
Kiss the bride.
Like you, I grew up learning a "queer" was a criminal, a
pervert or, a little of both. Not that I was taught this directly. I
just picked it up from the embarrassment of my elders, the cruelty of
my peers and the writing on the restroom walls. I also learned, like
the current Homophobe-in-Chief has said, that marriage was a "union
between a man and a woman." Like Adam and Eve. There was no Adam and
Steve. I didn't see this as a problem. I was so clueless; I even
didn't know that my favorite older cousin Brandon and his buddy Jake
weren't "just" roommates.
What I didn't know didn't hurt me
first. By the time, I learned the truth about Brandon and Jake, I was
in my teens, and considered their relationship "cool." But I still
couldn't fathom them being married like my parents were married, or
like I expected to get married someday. Nor could I imagine why
they'd want to be.
Years later, Jake contracted Lou Gehrig's disease. Soon, he could
barely move, and was only capable of communicating with Brandon
through eye movements. Jake's caretakers understood the level of
intimacy between Brandon and Jake. But in emergencies, paramedics
often refused Brandon the right to see Jake. Only "immediate family"
allowed. That's parents, children, siblings and spouses. No friends.
No lovers. No "domestic partners." Towards the end of Jake's
life, when a nurse wouldn't let Brandon see him because their
22-year-old relationship lacked a marriage certificate, I realized
why everyone should have the right to get married.
Of course, there are happier, "gayer" reasons not to prohibit
same-sex marriage, like the radiant newlyweds of San Francisco's 2004
"Winter of Love." That historic moment, when intrepid Mayor Gavin
Newsom gave the right to marry to people who love people of the same
sex, ignited acts of romantic civil disobedience reminiscent of Rosa
Parks and the Greensboro sit-ins.
The comparison isn't perfect. You can't hide your skin color,
while you can closet your sexual orientation. You might not like
hiding your sexuality. It might make you ill and cause all kinds of
problems in your life, but you can hide it. Yet there are some
parallels between same-sex and interracial marriage.
Groom to groom.
When slavery was
"legal," slaves weren't allowed to marry, or were forced into mock
marriages by their owners. After emancipation, most states outlawed
interracial marriage (in fact, the California Supreme Court was the
first state high court to strike down a law banning interracial
marriage in 1948's Perez v. Sharp decision, while the U.S. Supreme
Court didn't get around to it until almost 20 years later). Around
that time, racists called for Constitutional Amendments prohibiting
black-white marriage with the same fear-mongering and sanctimony that
the anti-same-sex-marriage set utilizes today.
Both racists and homophobes invoke the "sanctity" of marriage, and
this is what rightwing activists are now trumpeting as they organize
to get an initiative on the November ballot to amend the state
constitution so that it bans gay marriage, overriding the court's
decision. But what constitutes marital "sanctity" anyway? "Gays
can't bear children together," same-sex detractors intone. "Marriage
is a framework for bearing children. God commanded, 'Be fruitful and
Of course, that was Genesis, when the desert was vast, and the
population very small. By Ecclesiastes, God wasn't ordering rampant
reproduction anymore. By now, the Earth is extremely overpopulated.
Couples who marry not to reproduce, but to stabilize their lives and
contribute to their communities, are to be applauded, not
You wouldn't know it from all the praying and God-blessing
American politicians are doing these days, but the United States is
supposed to separate Church and State. Individual churches and
temples don't have to perform gay marriages. But the State must not
In pushing for an anti same-sex marriage Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution, President Bush called marriage civilization's "most
fundamental institution." But what is fundamental? Notions of the
proper spouse keep changing.
Here come the brides.
In times past, marriage meant holy union
between a man and his chattel. Or one husband and multiple wives.
Brothers wed sisters in ancient royal families, like Cleopatra's. In
Victorian times, 13-year-old brides typically married 35-year-old
grooms. So, why not same-sex marriage? Why just marry the so-called
opposite sex? The sexes aren't really "opposite" anyway. Men are not
from Mars, and women are not from Venus. We're all from Planet Earth.
We all need sex, we all need love, and we all need the right to get
Even hermaphrodites do.
This is just what the Court affirmed, that regardless of the shape
of our genitalia, marriage is a fundamental constitutional right.
"The right to marry," Chief Justice Ronald George wrote for the
majority, "represents the right of an individual to establish a
legally recognized family with a person of one's choice and, as such,
is of fundamental significance both to society and to the
So why not just let gays have civil unions or domestic
partnerships? Because, as anti-segregationists have long known, and
as Brandon and Jake learned the hard way, "separate but equal" is
never really equal.
George prudently added that the decision "does not affect the
constitutional validity of the existing prohibitions against polygamy
and the marriage of close relatives." Sorry, but no getting hitched
to your beloved horse or poodle either.
Will gay weddings threaten straight ones? Well, yes, they
just might, and in many cases, that's a good thing. Perhaps we'll
have fewer opposite-sex marriages wherein one spouse is living a lie.
A caller on my show named Nikki
was devastated to learn her husband Mark was having unsafe sex with
men. Mark always preferred men, but he wanted to be "normal," so he'd
married Nikki. Marriage didn't stop him from having sex with men,
though his situation made casual sex easier than a committed
relationship. If Mark had had the same-sex marriage option, this
unhappy hetero union might have been avoided.
As for me, I eventually married (a man), and I'm proud to say we
just celebrated our 16th
anniversary of lawfully wedded bliss, bonobo love and wild
passion this past month. In our case, marriage seems to strengthen
our love. But as a sex
therapist, I know all too well that marriage isn't for
everybody. For many, it's a passion-killer, or torture worse than any
homophobe could conjure as the hellfire awaiting the queer.
left-leaning critics deplore same-sex marriage as "assimilation, not
liberation." There's some truth to that, but everybody should have
the right to enjoy it, or endure it, or just do it, regardless of
whether one or both of you has a penis or vagina. Of course, with all
the gay couples about to legally tie the knot now, we can expect
plenty of gay divorces. And that, too, should be their right.
P.S. Churches, temples and mosques aren't required to marry gay
couples under this decision, and probably most won't, at least at
first. To pick up the slack, I would like to offer my services (for a
modest fee) as an ordained Universal Life
Church minister to marry adventuresome couples of any
gender combination here at the world-famous Speakeasy Cathedral.
Click here: For feedback and comments.
Susan Block is a sex educator, cultural commentator,
host of The Dr. Susan Block Show and author of The 10
Commandments of Pleasure. Visit her website at http://www.drsusanblock.com
or visit her brand new bloggamy and post comments
Send all comments, love letters, hate mail, questions,
confessions, endorsements, enticements and testimonials
to her at [email protected].
Read other articles by Dr Susan
Block (click on the balls):
Washington Witch Hanging
Gay Old Party Outs Itself
Hookergate II: The Senator And The Veep
Cheney And The DC Madam's Cookie Jar
Madam Julia's Big Black Book Of Cheesy Republican Sex
Gods Of Spring
Resist The Urge To Surge!
Baghdad Cockfight Ends In Snuff Film
God Has Sex, Makes Big Box Office
Life, Death And Cartoons
Pack Your Bags, George.
America Wants A Divorce!
Peeping Tom In The Bush
Between Pleasure And Violence
Our Night Of Weimar Love
Family Values Means Family First And Screw The Community
It Always Rains In California: All About Female Ejaculation
Springtime For Sex And God
The bigO Can Be Yours
Bush's P.O.W. Porn