My head’s killing me this morning. I have a headache because I’m thinking too much about same-sex marriages and all the judgmental crap that goes with it. I have Gary and William, my gay friends — indirectly — to thank for the Tylenol I’m taking.
I met them in the fall of 1994. After my twin brother died of AIDS, I wanted to get involved with helping people who had the illness. We volunteered together for AVOC (AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati, now known as Stop AIDS) for a number of years, and we’ve stayed in touch. We’re still friends.
I always think of William as Gary’s wife. He seems more feminine to me. He’s kind of quiet and more in touch with his feelings than Gary, who’s a nice guy but can come across a bit macho at times. I’ve kidded with him about this more than once. They’re a likeable couple. William is tall and thin. He always wears Dockers pants or shorts. Gary’s a short, muscular man who you’ll always find in blue jeans. I sort of consider them the Mutt and Jeff of my gay community.
Gary is the “yard guy.” He’s always trimming the hedges, mowing the lawn or setting new flowers out in his garden. William’s the “kitchen guy.” He’s usually baking cookies or thinking up a new casserole dish to create. He makes a Mexican chicken casserole that’s out of this world.
When you see them together, it’s easy to spot their unconditional love for and devotion to one another. They’ve been a married couple for years, but since they’re gay they’re not offi cially married at all. That’s about to change.
I got an e-mail from Gary a couple hours ago. I’m invited to a party this coming Saturday night — a going away party. Gary and William have sold their home in Price Hill and are moving to San Francisco.
They bought a house there, and they’re going to get married. After I read Gary’s e-mail, I said out loud to myself, “Good for them.” His e-mail got me thinking about love and marriage and being gay.
I think marriage is a little old fashioned. I don’t think you need a piece of paper con firming what you feel in your heart for some one else, but if a gay couple wants to get a marriage license and make it all official, just like Gary and William want to, I say go for it. The controversy over gay marriage baffles me this morning while I drink coffee and try to get rid of my headache. Why are we as a society so uptight about this? I might be kidding myself, but I like to think even here in conservative Cincinnati most people support gay rights. After all, we got rid of Article 12 of the city charter a few years ago. If we support these rights, how come we’re still opposed to gay marriage? Why is it if you’re gay and want to get married you have to go to California or Massachusetts to do it? How come only two states consider this “normal?” Perhaps I know the answer to at least the last question: California and Massachusetts are considered progressive states. Ohio will probably be considered that way when hell freezes over. Gary and William know this, too. That’s why they’re leaving.
When it comes to gay marriage, the United States is a bit backward. Countries like Canada, Spain and Norway consider same sex marriages exactly the same as opposite sex marriages. In these countries, the marriages share all the same civil rights. Why can’t we do the same here? I think it all gets back to religion. Right wing religious organizations still control this country and look down and judge people whose lifestyles are different from their own. In my view, many religious people think when it comes to being gay it’s all about the sex and nothing else. Love doesn’t enter the picture, so marriage shouldn’t either.
Religious leaders have brainwashed their “flock” into thinking that homosexuality is evil and bad. It’s immoral. They don’t want to marry “fag” sinners.
What bullshit. We need to move away from this utter stupidity.
When I think of the problems this world has — war, famine, poverty, global warming and other huge, serious issues now in our faces — gay people simply wanting to get married doesn’t cross my mind. Not even once. However, religion — any kind of organized religion — does give me great pause. This constant, overreaching and imposing into our lives is increasingly concerning. It’s danger ous, and we need to get it under control.
I find myself wondering this morning if Gary and William will adopt a child after they move to San Francisco. They’ve talked about it for years. They’d be wonderful parents.
I could start thinking of other issues facing them — like a gay married couple adopting a baby — but I don’t want to make my headache any worse than it is now. Instead, I’ll think about Saturday night and the fun I’ve had with these good friends. I plan on getting them some going away gifts.
Maybe for William I’ll get a couple of stoneware casserole dishes. For Gary, maybe a rolling tool cart to use in his new lawn and garden in San Francisco.
I’ll miss them, that’s for sure, but I’m excited for their new start. I wish them love and total happiness. Most importantly of all, I wish them much good luck.
CONTACT LARRY GROSS: firstname.lastname@example.org
When I think of the problems this world has (war, famine, poverty, global warming and other huge, serious issues now in our faces) gay people simply wanting to get married doesn’t cross my mind. Not even once.