The following is just one of a bunch of pieces I’ve been working on for a project tentatively titled Pornotopia: The Ins and Outs and Ins and Outs of Sex and Erotica. Enjoy!
Okay, then ... gay marriage.
I'm against it. (ducks slings and arrows)
You're definitely not going to find the word 'god' in this little essay, or 'traditional',' or 'family,' or 'protect,' or 'sanctimony' or any of those other precious little terms the rabid weasels who are usually against the idea of legal gay marriage throw around. For one thing I'm a diehard atheist without even a drop of agnosticism coursing through my thoroughly evolved monkey veins.
For another I'm completely, totally, absolutely - well, 'sort of' queer. As I like to say, I'm politically gay, socially bi, sexually straight. To put it another way, I vote a pink ticket, kiss and hug every damned gender - and living in San Francisco, that's a LOT of genders - but my penis only responds to women. Or should I say 'woman' since I'm completely, totally, absolutely in love with a very special lady.
Anyway, back to politics: gay men and women must be legally recognized as having the same inalienable rights and legal benefits as straight folks. Period. End of story. When I rule this world - and, believe me, if I have my way I will - gender, race, age, and orientation will be meaningless in the eyes of the law. Want a job? A place to live? Adopt children? An education? You can have all of that and more regardless of your sexual equipment, the color of your skin, how old you are, or who you like to fuck - as long as it’s consensual, of course. We on the same page? Liberty and justice for all. Not for some - for all.
But I'm still against gay marriage.
(ducks further slings and arrows)
I'm not against gay men and women walking down the aisle because families need protecting because, frankly, if the bullshit concept of 'family' we've been force fed by cereal-box grinning conservatives can be threatened by something as silly as Bob hitching up with Steve, or Shirley shacking up with Betty then the nuclear unit should be taken out back and shot through the head like a lame old draught horse. I mean, shit, just look at any of the whack-jobs who are frothing at the mouth about two brides or two grooms: were any of them the products of Bob and Carol Average and their Standardized Marriage? Are any living in blissful coexistence with a member of the opposite sex? Want, sure, but do any of them really have Stepford children? Any of them you want to see - shudder -naked? I rest my case.I'm still against gay marriage.
Holster your slings and quiver your arrows because here's the reason why: I'm against marriage.
What is marriage, after all? The perpetual, eternal, timeless chaining together of two people - if they get tired of being together or not. It's a simplistic, ridiculously idealistic device designed to enforce togetherness in a species that's more known for beating each other's heads in with rocks and other blunt instruments than demonstrations of affection.
Long before we started to buy Bridal magazine and plunge headlong into diabetes from sugar icing, marriage was its own form of blunt instrument: a device used against women (mostly) and men (occasionally) to cement political and economic alliances, sell people into servitude, and in general make people's lives totally miserable. The idea of a married couple actually caring about one another, let alone finding each other desirable, is a modern development - and then only in the so-called developed nations. For many cultures, marriage still remains the only 'legal' way to have sex. No ring, no nookie. Nookie minus ring equals social taboo, corporal punishment, jail, or even death (mostly for women - again).
Being for marriage (gay, straight, or otherwise) strikes me like Jews missing the good old days - of 1944. Being for gay marriage is a celebration of being chained together, forced to live the confinement too many straight couples have been sentenced to. Certainly, gay men and lesbians have the right to have the same legal rights and benefits of straight married couples - that's a given - but do they want to share the same legacy of financial, legal, emotional and sexual imprisonment? Sure, they should have the pleasure of joining together with someone they are sure they - well, moderately certain ... they maybe ... kind of ‘like’ – but do they really want to go through the even greater pleasures of divorce, child custody and community property battles, lawyers, judges, alimony, spousal support and ... do I really have to go on?
I know your question and, yes, I have been married, but that's not the only reason for my ire. The woman of my dreams is sitting here on the couch with me as I write this and I wouldn't have it any other way - forever if possible - but that doesn't mean that we want to, or should, tie ourselves together with legal, financial, or emotional cables. We stay together because we want to, and because this continuation of desire and friendship has to be maintained day by day, a work in progress rather than an illusion of perfection that insecure participants feel has to be nailed down lest it even think of straying or fading.
But the big reason I'm not in favor of straddling my gay and lesbian friends with the torture that begins with "We are gathered together here today -" is, simply, that there has to be a better way.
Marriage isn't just an antique, a legacy of abuse and economic bondage, it also doesn't work. If it did then divorce attorneys would be mythical, just like diamond anniversaries are now. Look at the facts, check the figures: marriage as an institution is, and has always been, a failure. Rather than gleefully marching off to join the rest of those unhappy straight couples, gay men andlesbians – as well as the rest of us ‘straight but not narrow’ types - should instead seek to create new lifestyles. Gay men and lesbians are not straight ... duh. They have their own history, their own philosophy, their own social contracts and taboos. Absolutely they have more in common with their straight friends, but the way they deal with relationships, dating, commitment, and, yes, sex are not the way most heterosexuals do.
I'm not trying to be divisive. What I am trying to say is that all of us - gay, straight, bi, and everything else - should look at those differences, as well as the reality of heterosexual pairings and study them all toward creating new relationships: life models not based not the ridiculous proclamations of the big mythical daddy in the sky but instead on how human beings, or every orientation, actually live.
This is a chance for humanity to take a big step forward. Here's a perfect opportunity to change how we relate to each other, how we form bonds of love, create and maintain relationships - and so much more. Okay, equality is the issue, and rightfully so, but being equal to a group that's suffered and inflicted no end of emotional damage on its members for centuries is nothing to strive for.
What will these new ways of loving and living be like? I don’t know exactly, but I often think that they’d take the form of the way people live now, maybe just cemented through law, custom, or social contract. After all, there are just about as many relationship forms as there are people on this planet – gay, straight, bi, or whatever. We don’t have a term for it, or a legal definition, but we have ‘old boyfriends I occasionally sleep with,’ ‘cyberspace play partners,’ ‘we’re together but don’t have sex,’ ‘we’re together but have sex with other people,’ ‘we only do have sex with each other, but can do S/M play with anyone,’ ‘the lesbian whose the mother of my son but we’re not emotionally or financially involved,’ and so on.
In a few decades who knows what else could evolve? ‘Claves’ of individuals living together for financial or legal benefit, individuals as corporations or even nations unto themselves, virtual mini-societies of like-minded individuals, children searching for and then ‘adopting’ the perfect parents, consensual servitude, sex-changing triads? Limited duration marriages? The mind staggers. To walk towards this varied and plastic view of relationships - where if you don’t find something to your liking you search until you do find it, or just make a new one up - with the baggage of two gold rings, eternity, and a gravy boat is ridiculous. It’s time for a change.
Once again: I’m not for gay marriage. I’m against marriage. Equality is a must, definitely, but this is the perfect moment to really make a difference in the way all of us – gay, straight, bi, whatever - relate and bond with each other and the rest of the world. Don’t play the marriage game: no one’s ever won it. Not in achieving the right to do it, but in making it ever really work.
We can do better.