For Gays and Lesbians, True Equality Starts with Marriage
Originally published on BuzzFlash.com on Mon, 06/29/2009 – 1:06pm
One of the overlooked elements to the death of Farrah Fawcett was that she and long-time love Ryan O’Neal wanted to get married at the very end, but unfortunately, they ran out of time. Even though they had been mostly together for almost three decades, they decide that getting married was something they wanted to do.
But a marriage that would have lasted hours or even days — even that kind of marriage isn’t an option for gay couples in over 40 states.
We have seen strongly committed gay couples wanting desperately to get married. It is the public face to put on for those who are unsure about gays and lesbians getting married. Show the strong couples, the committed couples, the ones that have been waiting a long time and desperately want to get hitched.
But behind this face are gay and lesbian couples who will want to get married for the reasons that some straight couples tie the knot: for money, professional advancement, on a whim, drunken and in Las Vegas, and even as a sweet gesture as one of them lays dying.
The recent release of “The Proposal” has Sandra Bullock’s character wanting to marry Ryan Reynolds’ character so she doesn’t get deported to Canada. As silly a premise as this is, gay couples can’t even do this in the vast majority of the United States. Of course, if this happened to a gay couple, they could just both move to Canada, get married, and not look back.
It is understood that you can’t come out and say this is what you are fighting for, but deep down, true equality is having gay and lesbian couples make bizarre or unconventional choices in getting married.
The religious right, which literally preaches the sanctimony of marriage, does two things rather poorly: they don’t chastise straight couples for their offbeat reasons for getting married, and they paint gays and lesbians as hedonists, which ironically, marriage would actually disprove this argument.
President Obama is meeting with LGBT supporters, one day after the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and, of course, Pride parades in many cities in the U.S. And the nice round number of a 40-year block — two generations worth — demonstrates how bad what the world was like for gays and lesbians in 1969, and the changes since.
But gays and lesbians have every right to be concerned about the defense of the Defense of Marriage Act, and the non-starter that is getting rid of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, or at least not enforcing its major statute.
We have freedoms as Americans to behave as odd, unusual, offbeat, unconventional as we want. But true freedom means freedom for all, for gays and lesbians to be every part of society, including those who want to get married. And not just married, but to be just as married for the same silly or sweet reasons that straight people do. This is when there will be true equality.