Thursday, September 4, 2003

Letter of Comment
    — Why So Negative?

Here’s my latest published letter to the editor, to the Seattle Gay News, in the September 5 issue (2nd letter, 2nd column [no longer available online]):
Why so negative about gay marriage?

Marriage: the uniting of two people in love via a public ceremony.

Is it my imagination, or do the gay arguments against gay marriage always boil down to “I’m single” and “Don’t rock the boat?”  That’s what comes across from Jason Fleetwood-Boldt (“Gay marriage isn’t necessarily the next step for Queer nation”) and Hastings Wymann (“Capital Letters — Gay marriage: Gain or pain?”) in your August 22 issue.

Fleetwood-Boldt covers his complaints in a veneer of “Why should we want gay marriage when marriage itself is such a bad thing?”  He then goes on to say nothing that is bad about marriage itself, just about the legal benefits that our society attaches only to marriage.  While he’s right that it would be good to apply many of those benefits to a broader spectrum of people, their attachment to marriage doesn’t mean that marriage itself is flawed, or even tarnished.  In other words, he has some beef with marriage that he can’t express with a logical argument, so he has to toss rocks from a distance.  Only he can say what exactly that issue might be, but I’ve seen other cases where it boils down to the person bad-mouthing marriage solely because he has no marriage-type romance prospects on the horizon.

Wymann’s piece is, if possible, worse.  His argument against gay marriage is that it might shake things up.  If gays and lesbians got married, they might move in with each other, settle down, have fewer sexual partners, raise kids and become pillars of the community.  They might even gain the respect of straight couples.  And (gasp!) they might even on occasion break up and have to go through the same messy things straight couples do!  “Don’t rock the boat,” Wymann might have said at Stonewall.  “Just let the police do their raids and we’ll all be just fine.”

Gays who don’t want to get married don’t want resources expended on gay marriage.  Ones who don’t like the army don’t want us to waste time on gays in the military.  The ones who ditched the church want to ignore gays in the priesthood.  Those who don’t want kids don’t want to give to funds which fight for gay adoption rights.  If it’s not something potentially fatal to every one of us — AIDS — then we’ve got naysayers wanting to distance themselves from it and in the process distance us all from it.

God forbid that we as a community should seek something which we as individuals don’t immediately need for ourselves.  Because after all, if it isn’t for Me Me Me then it’s not worth it.
(With slight edits to remove the SGN’s forced capitalization of “gay” and “lesbian”.)

The SGN doesn’t have the two articles referred to on their web site, but here are links to them elsewhere:
Click here for Jason Fleetwood-Boldt’s “Gay Marriage Isn’t Necessarily The Next Step for the Queer Nation” (from Fleetwood-Boldt’s own website).  [No longer available online]

Click here for Hasting Wymann’s “Gay marriage: Gain or pain?” (courtesy of the archives of the Texas Triangle).  [No longer available online]

Updated on September 7, 2010
The SGN archive now only goes back to 2005.
Jason Fleetwood-Boldt’s website is defunct.
The Texas Triangle (and its archives) is defunct.

Boy, you can’t get a historical trace on this stuff at all!

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