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Saturday, November 8, 2008

If they want the misery of marriage....

The Republicans seem to be taking some small consolation from the fact that every Defense of Marriage referendum passed four days ago.

A few years back I was dead set against homosexuals' partners getting spousal privileges (such as company-sponsored medical care) since this would have given them all of the benefits of marriage without any of the concomitant obligations (divorce, splitting up of community property, alimony, child support, and so on). It seemed at the time that they could just declare any current lover such a "partner" without having to worry about getting it officially sanctioned, and change their "partner" at a whim, on a weekly basis if they so chose. But if they're willing to take the responsibilities as well as the rights, why not? It actually makes for a more stable society: community property for gays means fewer gays on the dole.

"Defense of marriage", like so many other political labels these days, seems a misnomer. Whose marriage is this act defending? If two fellas decide to make it official in Provincetown, how does that affect my marriage? I can't see how it possibly can. The only one I have to defend my marriage against is my wife (and no, she doesn't read this blog.)

The argument that marriage was originally intended to be between a man and a woman seems a bit dated. By this logic, blacks should still be slaves, since the Constitution wasn't originally intended for them, either. Equal rights means equal for everybody.

Frankly, it's a little surprising that gay men want this "privilege." (Gay women, traditionally much more monogamous, would seem more instinctively inclined towards this sort of arrangement.) It's always seemed to me that one of the benefits to being a gay man is that you can pretty much have as many lovers as you desire. It's men's nature to be promiscuous, and any survey of the average number of sex partners for gay men vs. gay women will confirm this. Maybe AIDS has changed the landscape, maybe it hasn't. But the concept of lifelong monogamy doesn't exactly square with the traditional gay men's lifestyle.

I've always had what I consider -- in my self-serving way -- to be the well-adjusted straight guy's attitude towards gays: I have no problem with them, I just don't want to be mistaken for one. (Okay, maybe not that well-adjusted.) I've known plenty of guys who express a basic hatred of them, and more often than not the guys who seem to hate them have issues themselves. I must admit, I was instinctively repulsed when first approached by a homosexual as a teenager. Of course, that was back when I was young and pretty; now that I'm old and not-so-pretty, I rejoice at any attention.

In any case, I've never understood the antipathy for gays as a group. They're generally productive. They (usually) don't reproduce and crowd the planet. They're good workers (no families to distract them). There's a certain not uncommon type of gay man who is very pleasant and helpful and a pleasure to be around. I've never been bullied by a gay (so far as I know). Many of them have a certain brand of humor (punny, campy, kitschy, bitchy) which can be quite amusing. And yes, I believe in stereotypes.

My attitude towards lesbians is also live and let love, though I seem to have met a fair number who have a chip on their shoulder. Quite a few of the ones I've known seem to be lesbians-by-default, meaning, they turned after finding that men ignored them, or after having bad experiences with men. (I have no idea how many I've "converted.") I've never understood why some guys fantasize about lesbians (do they have any idea how real lesbians feel about them?). In any case, lesbians certainly deserve the right to be married as well.

I'm guessing that after some harsh reality sets in -- with a few well-publicized ugly divorce cases -- that the gay desire for marriage will abate, at least among the men. But as long as these defense of marriage referendums pass, marriage will continue to hold that forbidden fruit appeal. No pun int.....never mind.

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