Sunday, October 26, 2008

Standing Up for Marriage

I’m Jeanne and I’ve been married for 30 years.

(Pause for applause.)

To three different men.

Hey, it counts! If they move you from one jail to another, it’s still time served.

This is the intro to my stand up routine, conceived at the 2006 Erma Bombeck Writers’ Conference, where they offered each participant the chance to do seven minutes of stand up comedy in front of a live audience.

I didn’t actually perform (because I’m afraid of public speaking, and even more afraid of public sucking) but I did stick around to watch the people who had the guts to go onstage. And, uniformly, everyone started by giving her name and stating how long she’d been married (except one lady, who started by giving her name and stating that she’d never been married). And, uniformly, each time they’d announce, “I’m So-and-so and I’ve been married for X years,” everyone would clap enthusiastically.

This got me to thinking about my own marital history, and how well it wouldn’t go over in this marriage-loving crowd. Although, I love marriage, too. I must, or I wouldn’t keep trying it.

(Pause for disclosure under the Fairness Doctrine: I’ve been married to my current husband for 11 years, and I adore him and think he’s just the nicest man in the world. For the remainder of this blog, let it be understood that any negative commentary about marriage does not apply to present spouses.)

Anyway, recalling my own past, which is not so much checkered as a screaming hounds-tooth plaid, got me to thinking about gay marriage and how it seems like less of a threat to marriage than people like me, who do straight marriage, but badly.

What is the deal straights have with gays getting married? It’s not like gays getting married is going to take away straight couples’ tax breaks (Congress will take care of that), insurance coverage or right to purchase family-size side items at KFC.

The Defense of Marriage crowd seems to fall into two camps:
Category 1: “Fags make me wanna puke and do not deserve oxygen, much less the same rights as normal people.” AND
Category 2: “Okay, they can have civil unions, but they can’t call it marriage, because that’s what we call ours, and it creeps me out to think that they use the same words we do.”

I’m not even going to deal with the first camp because they’re really scary. I think it’s probably better if I stay off their lawns and they stay off mine.

As for the second, their concerns seem reasonable, if, perhaps, not based too much in reality. The argument I’ve heard from them is that, if gays are allowed to marry, as opposed to civilly unite, then churches will be forced to perform ceremonies for a lifestyle the bible condemns. Since when did churches ever have to accept any thing they didn’t want to? I can’t imagine even the most liberal judge who would interpret “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” as giving the high sign for government to interfere in weddings.

So here’s my message to the DOMA crowd: If you want to shore up marriage, work on bringing down the divorce rate.

Because it’s not people who truly commit to each other who threaten the sanctity of marriage. It’s people who marry without commitment.

1 comment:

  1. Right on, Jeanne!

    I know so many people in the second category, and they always announce their support of "civil unions" with pride, like it shows they're not homophobic in the least.

    It rankles me to hear anyone talking about "allowing" gay people to marry, as it reminds me of the bad old days when, for example, interracial marriage was not allowed.

    My message to them is this: gay people don't need your damn permission to live their lives. They are humans and citizens and should have the same rights as anyone else.


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