Are you going to write about the passage of gay marriage in New York?” asked B. of me.
“Sure. As soon as I get the ring and mink, Mister!”
B. and me talk a lot like that. We have been together 35 years, and are as married as married can be, as far as I am concerned. B. has been the smart one. He has saved and financed well, made out an irrevocable will — there are really no relatives on his or my side to object — we are orphans. I am safe. And he will not have to pay for my cremation, at least. Mr. wOw has not financed well. Should I drop dead tomorrow, B. will inherit a fabulous estate of Liz and Marilyn memorabilia. (He could sell off those awfully cute, decades-old pics of me to porn sites, I guess.) I have been inordinately lucky — gay, straight, whatever — to have had such a long relationship. To have known what it is to be truly loved and understood. Especially as I cannot love, like, or understand myself.
We are not married. We live in New Jersey, where that state’s bloated, increasingly unpopular governor, Chris Christie is appalled by New York’s libertine ways. But even if we lived in Manhattan, where I was born, I don’t think we’d be rushing to City Hall.
My attitude toward gay marriage is as it has always been — I want tax-paying, law-abiding gay people to have the same right to marry as do heterosexual Death Row prisoners. Slit a throat and you can marry. Sleep with your own sex — nada. This makes Mr. wOw crazy! I would like see all fifty states simply get over it and pass the legislation. That’s my panacea of live and let live.
But that’s not going to happen anytime soon. There are what, six states out of fifty (New York being the latest) to pass such legislation? And I expect challenges, even in liberal New York.
As a gay man of 58, there are other issues that concern me. Basic civil rights! In over 30 states it is legal to deny housing and jobs to gay people (yes, still!) … better facilities for gay teens who are turned out by their families … a reawakening of the importance of safe sex (stop thinking of HIV as something “pills can take care of.” You are being disastrously naive.)
On a lighter, but still (to me important) level, shuddering over TV’s only gay network, Logo, pandering to the lowest common denominator. Although to that some might say we’ve come so far that we can humiliate ourselves as good as straight people. I’d like to see gay people stop wasting their time venting over every slighting remark (I’m not talking Tracy Morgan here — that was extreme) and concentrate on the genuine issues.
Marriage? I’d like the word not to mean so much — to straight and gay people. Read your history everybody, marriage was not a romantic, dewy thing — it was mere bartering. Religion was on the back burner. Cold cash and bloodlines was hot. Not to mention polygamy.
To those gay people to whom the word “marriage” means so much, I bless you and wish you happiness as you rush willy nilly to the altar. We have the right to love (as k.d lang sings so thrillingly) but I think we have an obligation to think beyond symbolic orange blossoms. Personally, I don’t feel the need to ape a heterosexual lifestyle to validate my rights as a gay human being. I demand all my civil rights. But trying to impress straight people that we are “just like them?” Eh.
And by the way, gay people split up, even after vowing eternal love. Ready for divorce court, you all? That’s lots of fun. Ask your straight friends.