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Strange Bedfellows

May 15, 2012

The President’s decision to speak out in favor of gay marriage some six months before the election is an act of almost brazen bravery.

Let’s face it, no matter your politics, you’re probably either a little (or greatly) disappointed with Obama, furious at him, or just sadly resigned, or all three. But with the economy still in the tank and a war going badly, and the opposition solidifying around a handsome and wealthy opponent, taking a stand certain to further fire up that opposition shows backbone and character in my book.

Gay marriage is the last civil rights campaign of our time. As Mayor Bloomberg put it a few days ago, “Each and every generation has removed some barrier to full participation in the American dream…Exclusion and equality are mortal enemies – and in America, every time they have met in battle, equality has ultimately triumphed.”

Thirty years from now, we’ll be looking back at “Defense of Marriage” legislation like we now regard White Citizen’s Councils and George Wallace. “Marriage should be between one man and one woman” will go the way of “Segregation Forever”. And the idea of marrying someone of the wrong gender will go the way of the idea of marrying someone of the wrong religion or the wrong race.

The blatancy of the bullshit becomes clear when you just stop and consider this: If one really wanted to “defend marriage” against those who would defile it, one wouldn’t bother with the few in the homosexual minority who want in, but the 50% of people who marry who want out. If one were so concerned about “preserving what God intended” then please tell me how a person can “defile” marriage more than by breaking the wedding vows one took in His name and suing his or her spouse for divorce? (Mea culpa here).

But bullies don’t take on big fights, of course – like going after the tens of millions of American men and women who’ve split up. They pick on the little guy…and pretend it’s a big guy.

And you know what? In time, and with the way things are going, gay people may turn out to be the last, best hope of marriage. That’s because homosexuality simply makes a lot of sense, especially in an age when men and women barely understand (or know how to get along with) each other.

Just the fact that so many women today no longer really need men to protect or provide for them destroys the traditional foundation that has justified the union for millennia. And when we guys don’t feel needed or necessary, our self-esteem droops and we go looking for someone else to stroke it. Which of course is what often precedes a breakup.

But (most) men understand other men, and (most) women, women. Like Seinfeld said in that episode about those who “share the same equipment”.  

If you really think men and women are generally suited for each other, try this experiment the next time you have mixed company in your living room: Ask them, if they’re old enough, what theye each thought of a TV show from over half a century ago called “The Honeymooners”. I’ll bet you bucks to bagels you’ll get the following response:

The women will say something like, “Ach! What a miserable show! Ralph Kramden played this piggish overbearing ass who in every show is seen shaking his fist in his petite wife’s face, trying to intimidate her by threatening to send her “to the moon!” How could you watch it?!

The men will say something like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. It was a pretty funny show! Every episode shows Ralph failing to intimidate Alice when she challenges yet another one of his harebrained schemes. While he’s bellowing, she’s standing there smirking and rolling her eyes, daring him to let loose. Each show invariably ends with Ralph saying, ‘Me and my BIG mouth!’  and eating crow. It was always clear who was the smartest one in the room and who really ran the household!” 



The only logical conclusion is that the men and the women were seeing two completely different Honeymooners. Which is similar to many a marriage, after the honeymoon, when the man and the woman often end up leading two completely different lives.

So just as in politics, heterosexual marriage often makes for strange bedfellows.

Perhaps we hapless hets no longer have any business getting together except maybe to have sex and procreate. Because in terms of scholastic achievement, employable skills, and intellectual and emotional development, women are pulling so far ahead of men these days it’s ridiculous. And at the rate marriage in America is going, in another 30 years we’ll probably see a lot fewer kids with their mothers still – if they have ever been —  married to their fathers, and a lot more kids with two mommies or two daddies who are still happily married to each other.

And I’m crazy about my own wife, but we’re unusually compatible. And we probably would have never really appreciated each other so much had it not been for prolonged ordeals the first time around with unions that brought out the worst in all four of us. The fact that I didn’t actually murder my first wife many times over has got to be testament to my amazing saint-like restraint.  

Moreover, three of the strongest and longest lasting marriages I currently know of (and how many do you know of?) are between men and women who haven’t had sex with each other in a decade. So what’s my point here? Simply that men and women are in deep trouble these days, and I think we know it. And those who rail against gay marriage are diverting attention from the fact by hurling stones from their glass houses.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Daniel Wininger permalink
    May 15, 2012 2:03 pm

    That the anti-gay marriage sloganers will go the way of the segregationist picketers is spot on. Equality must and always does triumph.

    However, I don’t think the way to validate homosexual marriage is to put down heterosexual marriage. Or to portray homosexual relationships as more faithful than heterosexual ones, either, because I’m not sure that’s actually true. If you want to split hairs, homosexual loving may in fact be more polyamorous. Why this is so, who knows. It may have to do with the fact that those who are openly gay tend to also reject the ideal/norm of the long-lasting monogamous relationship. Or something more subtle. Perhaps humans naturally default to polyamory when the institutionalization falls away.

    Either way, there is nothing wrong with THAT, either.

    People change, things fall apart, so I don’t think there is any shame at all in divorce. What there IS shame in is lying: saying “Marriage forever/happily ever after” and either gritting your teeth to stay with your unbearable partner ’til life’s end (if he/she/it is in fact unbearable) or hypocritically divorcing despite your vows of everlasting love and preaching the sanctity of marriage (against other kinds).

    • May 19, 2012 10:29 pm

      First off, I didn’t put down traditional marriage; I sounded the alarm about the condition of the male/female relationship.

      Is homosexual loving more polyamorous? Aren’t you mistaking all gay relationships for gay male relationships? Perhaps Bi women are more polyamorous (they’d have to be to be true to themselves!) but I doubt lesbians mess around more than straights.

      And you’re right, there’s no shame in divorce — except with those who cut and run before truly trying to work things out, especially when young children are involved — that IS shameful!. Indeed, a favorite quote of a client of mine, after his split, is this one:

      “I’ve jumped out of a plane; I’ve gotten high on drugs; I’ve performed before huge audiences to thunderous applause. But the feeling of finally being let out of a bad marriage is unbeatable!”

  2. Douglas Greene permalink
    May 15, 2012 8:49 pm

    And what about civil rights for users of forbidden substances?

  3. May 19, 2012 2:14 am

    You assume that marriage is sacred. It’s not. For some of us, it’s a ridiculous, archaic institution–a dinosaur that should be allowed to die already. Why the hell should two people who love one another have to have their love sanctioned by either the state or a church? And when they decide they no longer want to live together or enjoy a monogamous sexual relationship with one another, then why must they again seek the approval of the government or a church? Totally nuts. As nuts as monarchy.

    • May 19, 2012 10:18 pm

      The only argument I’d offer to your statement is the experience I’ve had (and I don’t believe I’m alone in this) of declaring my love and commitment to someone before my family, my community and my God. I’ve done this twice in my life, and have found them to be powerful experiences.

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