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Gay Marriage On The Rocks: Ain’t No Surprise

The wheels appear to have come off the gay marriage bus in the US and no one seems to know how to put them back on.  Not even the lesbians.

And that’s not according to meddlin’ Limey Uncle Tom ‘slut’ me (as I was dubbed by the Voice of Gay America) but according to the gay-marriage-supporting  New York Times in a piece last week titled ‘Amidst Small Wins, Advocates Lose Marquee Battles’:

…the bill to legalize same-sex marriage in New York failed by a surprisingly wide margin on Wednesday. In New Jersey, Democrats have declined to schedule the bill for a vote, believing that the support is no longer there. Voters in Maine last month repealed a state law allowing same-sex marriage despite advocates’ advantage in money and volunteers.

And on the other reliably liberal coast, California advocates of gay marriage announced this week that they would not try in the next elections to reverse the ban on gay marriage that voters approved in 2008; they did not believe they could succeed.

Gay marriage doesn’t appear to be something that even liberal ‘bi-coastal’ America has much of a stomach for, let alone the God-fearing ‘flyover’ States that of course make up most of the US.  So how earth did the US gay rights movement turn down this gay marriage cul-de-sac, apparently without a reverse gear? 

Even supporters of gay marriage say that all the optimism got ahead of the reality.

“I think there was some overreading of the political marketplace for gay marriage,” said Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster. “It’s not so much that something changed. There was a misreading of where the public was at.”

You don’t say.  Perhaps though it was not so much an ‘overreading’ or ‘misreading’ but rather more a case of complete illiteracy.  I mean, who would have guessed that screaming ‘BIGOT!!’ at beauty queens for believing, like most Americans, including President Obama, that marriage is between a man and a woman wasn’t going to be a terribly persuasive strategy? Whoever would have imagined that trying to blame black voters for California’s re-banning of gay marriage last year at the same time as trying to hijack their history of civil rights struggle and proclaim gays as ‘the new blacks’ wouldn’t play so well?  

And who could have possibly conceived that self-righteously denouncing civil unions, a much more politically achievable – and in my Limey Uncle Tom slut opinion also much more appropriate and modern – institution for giving same-sex couples legal protection as ‘riding at the back of the bus!’, and instead going pell-mell after gay marriage and respectability would have turned out to be such a tactical and strategic blunder? 

Empowered by judicial decisions affirming a constitutional right to gay marriage, beginning in Massachusetts in 2003, advocates argued to move away from a strategy that had focused on more incremental change.

“The gamble has not paid off,” Mr. Garin said.  “We leapfrogged from civil unions to marriage, primarily as a result of judicial decisions that were followed in some cases by legislative action. But the reality is that the judicial decisions were substantially ahead of public opinion, and still are.”

And, it might be added going pell-mell after gay marriage also helped George Bush get re-elected in 2004. Which as we know was such a wonderful outcome for everyone, gay or straight.

Mr Garin may be more clear-headed on this issue than many gay marriage advocates, but the expression ‘ahead of public opinion’ sounds to me like more ‘overreading’.  Maybe most Americans don’t accept that a relationship between two men — and after all, it is this double-penised aspect, not two wombs together, that the straight public think about — is ‘just the same’ as a relationship between a man and a woman, not because they’re backwards, or ignorant, or prejudiced, but because, if you’re not blinded by liberal platitudes, it clearly isn’t. 

And please, can someone over there point out, if only just to be really annoying, that the assimilation of the radically new phenomenon on modern gay relationships to the moribund institution of marriage with its reproductive role-playing, religious flavouring, and history of treating women as chattel does not exactly represent ‘progress’?

Fortunately, there’s one American homo left who isn’t Gore Vidal doing exactly this — though not of course in the NYT.  The novelist Bruce Benderson, interviewed by Christopher Stoddard in the latest issue of East Village Boys about his new book Pacific Agony makes some salient points about male sexuality which the Andrea Sullivanized American gays don’t want to hear:

Bruce Benderson: I have a kind of old-fashioned idea about what a homosexual is, and I think it’s somebody who is made to live outside the social norm. And the reason he was made to live outside the social norm is because one of the main functions of the structure of a social norm is to perpetuate the species, but I don’t think that’s a natural thing for male homosexuals. Not just homosexuals, but men in general are naturally too promiscuous. It’s their relationship with women that makes them more stable so that they can channel it into building a family. These gay couples are going around saying, “Oh, we’re just like you straight couples, really! We just happen to be two men.” I don’t believe that. I think they’re different.

Christopher Stoddard: Okay, so you think that gay men are essentially subject to “vice”?

BB: If you want to make that moral judgment… Suppose a bomb dropped and there were only 100 women and 1 man left. Well, theoretically, that man could repopulate the species by impregnating 100 women a year. Now, take 100 men and 1 woman after the bomb drops; we could only make 1 baby a year, okay? To perpetuate the species, men have been programmed by evolution to be promiscuous. Marriage is the social taming of a man’s sexual energies by a woman, which is necessary to build a social structure. Because a man is made to screw more than one person, there’s nobody to stop him if he’s with just another man.

CS: You sound like the proverbial Repulican who believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

BB: I think that marriage should be illegal! Just like pledging to God should be illegal. Marriage is a sacrament that has absolutely nothing to do with the State, and it should have no legal status whatsoever. A domestic partnership should be recognized by the State, and it should hinge on things like wills, joint tax filing, inheritance, things like that. And any two people should be able to do it. A marriage is just this left-over sacrament that somehow wiggled its way into legal status.

CS: You don’t believe that two men can be devoted to each other in a monogamous way and not cheat because of these carnal needs?

BB: Correct. I believe two men can be totally devoted to each other, but it probably won’t be in the same way that a man and a woman can be totally devoted to each other. I know several gay male couples who’ve been together a long time and go to the baths together, or they both go to one of those, you know, orgy places.

CS: I think I know who you mean. {chuckles}

BB: Yet they’re totally close, and they totally trust each other, and it’s a wonderful pairing.

Be careful, Bruce!  You can’t just go around talking the truth about gay men in public!  Not if you want to be taken seriously, that is.

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63 thoughts on “Gay Marriage On The Rocks: Ain’t No Surprise”

  1. insightful article, glad i stumbled onto this. sexual orientation became a hot discussion topic and many viewpoints are presented.

    why do we need to make things so complicated. in the first place i think monogamy is a joke.

    i been saying this many times in my blog:


  2. Perhaps you mean “a reputable scoundrel”, because even a chump can be a successful one, yes?

    Both are changes to the received wisdom. It seems a hard case to layer one decidedly as more subversive.

  3. To be a successful scoundrel is demanding beyond a mean capacity: certainly more demanding than you seem to give credit. But that is beside the point.

    The source of your misunderstanding comes from the belief that normalizing partnerships is somehow “subversive”. That fails due to logical inconsistency; it makes no sense to claim that placing your sexuality under state control is divergent with the status quo. You are making it the legal standand and relinquishing the freedom that we have had in favor of an oppressive control which ultimately just defies healthy personal exploration may condemn the free exploration which is more consistent with most healthy natures.

    What guy wants to be someones wife, after all, when women distain the role?

  4. You mean, do I have the attention span of a scoundrel?

    What were we talking about?

    …oh, yes.

    They don’t say it is a “mimic”.

  5. stranger: Are you aware of the odd thinking process that goes into the formation of your connundrums? Why would anyone think that either civil unions or marriage were subversive, yet wonder which was moreso? Nothing is subversive at all if it seeks to mimic the status quo. What sense does it make to ask which is moreso.

    How did you get their from where we were. You have the strangest analytical process I’ve ever encountered.

  6. I think there are some genuine, emotional aspects of LTR, beyond…’calculation’, don’t you? There can be something very ‘at home’ about them, a sense of belonging that goes beyond comfort and familiarity. One doesn’t have the constant striving, of being ‘on the make’. For this, one gives up something, too, so…

    I’d be curious, when Mark finishes his New Year’s bubbly, et. al., which he thinks is more subversive of the status quo, civil union or marriage.

  7. Can’t speak for anyone else, but my guess is that some kind of coupleship is “on the way there”; I would be arrogant to think that my experience & thoughts should answer everyuones’s questions and frustrations. I’d be another priest! The option should be open to people. As a culture or whatever, homosexuality, is in flux with the rest of culture as Mark S. expressed so well (above). Sexuality is in flux , period. I can see how the fear of AIDs has pushed some people into the hope of a risk free form of love (real or not). Other people fear growing old alone. Some are just worried about how to best invest their money(which is callous but true.

    As for Sulivan, Americans are generally the most naive and manipulated people on the face of the earth. He just happens to hold all the dance cards, probably because he and Rupert rub noses.

  8. I don’t mind whipping Andrew, but it would be a grave distortion to imagine that the he somehow drenched the fuel of the sexual liberation fire.

    Here’s another thought: if one truly believed that a sexual liberation “vibe” (or whatever) is where things might still be headed, rather than something in the rear view mirror, one could make the case that gay-marriage is a stop on the way to that consciousness, one achieves it in order to get beyond it. It’s a view. I’m not sure I would hold it strongly, but …

  9. I fondly recall the days of sexual liberaltion. Indeed, there was such a thing as a marriage type conjoining which was veiwed as an acceptable and amusing variation on unbridaled sexual expression. it is important though to remember that heterosexuals shared in this countercultural revolution en mass,apart from the Ayn Rand group. When I came out I lived with a woman in an open relationship as I fucked her and also various men, since she was looking for a regular man with money. One of my more normal female friends,remarked, a while ago “What happened to the days when we didn’t bother asking someone’s name until they were proven a good lay.”
    Marriage was generally unpopular even to heterosexuals. To homos, just a cute, but rare amusment. This is entirely at odds with the current pervasive fetish. There were a few seroius marriage advocates-not at all reflective of a general sentiment.

    Gay marriage only became a serious endeavor when priestly A, Sullivan took advantage of gay AIDS shame to hoist his Catholic fetish on the benumbed gay populace.. When he announced the ‘death of gay liberation” in the New Republic, Gays sucked that up along with the Right wing delusiveness that went to the rest of America.

    The contexts of these occurances is widely divergent. In America it is silly to be anything but cheeky ; people are pretty much like a bunch of frogs in a bucket, trying to make observations of the world at large, and drawing conclusiomns on what they see.

  10. Interesting read. One fact to clear up, though. Marriage for gay couples in the U.S. predates Andrew Sullivan’s writings by decades, with the first gay marriage license requested in 1970, at a time associated with sexual liberation.

    Anyway, I hope everyone has a Happy New Year, with whomever makes them happiest.

    God knows, I love cheeky subversives (not the bastard ones, the cheeky ones), so the most I’ll do is share views, not preach.

    And, in case anyone takes themselves too serious, perhaps someone could deconstruct this, for fun:

  11. You may be right ! Remember though that we have the benefit ourselves of the coincident moralizing and propaganda; They can’t just go to a kennel and test drive these chimerical patterns and dreams of hope, like dirty dogs do. (And it’s surly more tangled an hypothesis).

    Actually I wonder if at the end they’ll even know what they are. The partner of the S/M fellow I mentioned (above) is having a permanent electroshock device implanted in his skull because his partner is such a “sex addict” (wanting any sex more than once every two weeks!) So that he can have steady voltage. hum?

  12. Mark W: I agree that one of the reasons for the (precipitous) decline of marriage amongst heterosexuals is the lack of divergence between the sexes today. Clearly delineated gender roles – and worlds – meant that men and women really and truly needed one another. Women needed someone to be a man for them – and men needed someone to be a woman for them. Not just emotionally – but practically.

    Now women can be ‘men’ themselves. And increasingly men are catching up and realising that they can be ‘women’ for themselves: especially since women won’t be for them. All the things that have made female independence possible – the Pill, washing machines, microwaves, feminism – have also made male independence possible. There are a surprising number of intelligent women, some of them feminists, who have failed to grasp the male corollary of female emancipation. They want to imagine that men will continue to be utterly entranced by and dependent on women in a way that women ceased being about men decades ago. They want to have their freedom and for men to eat it.

    Gay men as you suggest tend to couple up even less well than today’s heteros, because in general there is even more similarity between them – and because sex is generally much more available for them outside of a relationship than in it. And although sex with women is much more available for straight men than it was in the past, unless you’re willing to pay for it or you’re Tiger Woods (which means that the tabs will pay her for it) there still isn’t the superabundance of no-strings sex that gay men enjoy (or complain about).

    But perhaps we shouldn’t be so cynical. With the right training, therapy – and shaming – anything’s possible. Here’s someone from the UK who wants to train dirty gay dogs to be more like nice domesticated cats:

  13. Some very apt generalizations, Mark. Gay men, in America, in attempts to fit into a contrived arrangement both bumble painfully through completely ill suited pairings or spend their time trying to avoid such fearsome commitments for good ones by avoidance training: A few case studies I’ve encountered in the last few days of people who’ve confided in me: (1) A well confirmed and randy masochist set up with someone who is big and rough looking(hence attractive) who as it turns out is a real pussy and can’t even begin to understand, yet satisfy his partners sexual needs. They get along in other respects well and everyone thinks they are such a nice couple. Only they can’t manage to have sex once every 2 weeks(unsatisfactorily). Needless to say the masochistic guy stays attached because he is made to feel like shit on a regular basis and is frustrated to tears as the are sexually committed. This is good because everyone else thinks so?
    (2) A young and attractive fellow said theat he is tired of getting into arrangements by being sexually attracted to people first and then finding out that they are totally intolerable otherwise. His solution, as prescribed by a therapist: Get to know people well first and then you will fall in love and want sex with them after you get to know them know them. Well , of course, after he gets to know people, desire dissipates, since mystery is a major aspect of the sexual turn on.
    Of course, we wish (2) good luck! (1) is barking up the wrong tree, letting the marriage paradigm overrule any reality of the individuals sexual psyche’s. In either case the glue that holds a marriage together-sexual compatibility is absent.

    At the time when men and women had significantly different roles defined by society to work symbioticaly, sex was always a potential, and sex was a constant because of that. In correlation, the fact that heterosexual marriages are becoming unhinged has it follows to do with the fact that male and female roles are much more alike.

    This is an hypothesis, of course, but it would follow that the reason that males don’t permanently mate well as sexual pairs is that they are too much alike.

    Our resistance to this kind of thought would come from the obvious resistance heterosexual feminists would have to believing that marriage success relies on divergent sexual roles. Oh dear !

    In any case, I do think that Mark is right in his observation that Men struggle to suit a paradigm which they think will work just if they and society think it enough.

    Sort of like believing hard enough that my cat with training-i.e., teaching him to fetch, role over, walking him around the block, keeping him from climbing trees-will become a dog.

  14. Supermarky: Faggot-victim-whinery isn’t going out of fashion any time soon. My piece that prompted Queerty’s angry public shaming of me as a SLUT! — and a Redcoat SLUT! at that — pointed out that probably most gay men are single and will probably remain single with or without gay marriage. Not that this stops Queerty from blithely invoking the ‘gay men are only sluts because society is nasty to them’ argument, prefacing it with: ‘It never occurs to Simpson that the very fact that having these relationships are relegated to second-class status….’.

    Gay marriage advocates do themselves no favours by making it clear how much they frown, Prom Queen like, on SLUTS! – and how much they take for granted that couples are better than singles and should be privileged as such. It’s funny though to see such shrewish, reactionary thinking dressed up as radical faggery, especially when it merely repeats the way that society has valued straightness over queerness.

    The oddest thing of all though is the way that many gay marriage advocates are single themselves, but think that being in a couple is going to save them from their standard issue unhappiness. They blame their inability to be in a couple not on their own unwillingness to compromise (or in fact, their unconscious wish to remain single) but on homophobia. They regard gay marriage as a form of social engineering that will make gay boys more likely to grow up into couples.

    This seems to me to be a lot of trouble to go to find yourself a boyfriend.

  15. I’m not sure I want face pubes in my porridge, even those of a pure Irish Catholic girl like Andrea.

    I agree though that marriage is basically a contract between two people — and these days two equals. In that sense, most marriages are becoming ‘gay marriages’. The romantic and religious and traditional aspects of the institution are being stripped away by modern life, not by The Gays. That’s why pre-nups are becoming more and more common, and are in effect agreements to get divorced before getting married, recognising that above all this is a contract – and again, a contract between two equals and not a bread-winner man of the world and a baby-maker stay-at-home who will be damaged goods after any divorce, incapable of supporting herself and spurned by all other men.

    Divorce law still treats women as if they were helpless and tragic creatures. Feminists should attack this type of sexism rather more loudly.

    Incidentally, someone told me that adultery is not accepted as legal grounds for divorce in gay civil partnerships in the UK.

  16. Admit it, Mark, you want Andrea slaving away over a hot stove in your kitchen.

    And to think he thought he was into bondage. No leather harness is as confining as apron!

  17. First, I would never yell out ‘bigot’ at lovely Carrie Prejean. She knows better than anyone else that burying her pretty blond head in a shaved poon, licking-up all that tasty girl-honey, and then pulling out a double-headed, vibrating ‘toy’ ain’t marriage. No, it’s something far better!

    Of course it’s the opponents of Gay marriage who are troubling. In California it was led by the Mormons looking to further distance themselves from their own history of peculiar marriages. In Maine it was led by the Catholic Church, an institution which continues to allow thousands of women to tie the knot with a 2,000 year old dead guy. Mormons and Catholics have quite a bit in common, it would seem.

    Being a non-religious sort, what I like about ‘the gay marriage controversy’ is that it shows the ‘venerable and holy’ institution of marriage for what it is in its essence: a contract. As I know of no statute barring two parties from entering into a contract on basis of sex, gays are correct in claiming that they are being denied equal protection. But then straight couples are equally correct in believing that gay marriage undermines their unions for, as any lawyer — even David Boise — will tell you, contracts are made to be broken.

    You know, Mark, back in the sixties a man we both greatly admire dismissed marriage as a ‘pagan rite’. After Jerri Hall, I suspect MJ has reverted to his original position. Benderson’s absolutely right: it’s marriage that shouldn’t have any legal standing. That’s the battle that needs to be fought!

  18. supermarky : lack of proofreading seems the least of your difficulties. Larry Kramer is more off-base than usual if this claim about Vidal is real. At that time, no one ever thought about gay marriage. It happened as a byproduct of HIV and Sullivan’s assimilationist ranting. Vidal’s Socialism would have trumped anything as a deterant in the rabidly Coorporatist /anti socialist right wing U.S.
    Dykes on Bikes and Sisters of Perpetual Indugence were/are authentic expressions of both rebelion and alternative lifestyles which are still valid. Are all dykes supposed to look and behave like Ellen DeGeneres.?
    In the conformist groupthink atmosphere of the U.S.disidents are a great breath of fresh air.

  19. had to skim through the “uncle tom” alleging blog. I love logic like this:

    “So basically, because Mark Simpon’s friends are a bunch of sluts who can’t keep up a monogamous relationship, we don’t really need gay marriage. It never occurs to Simpson that the very fact that having these relationships are relegated to second-class status by the state may have something to do with why they aren’t enduring.”

    Please, when will this whiney, reality-eschewing, excuse-making faggot-victim stuff ever lose currency? Another nice example of which is the sniveling of addicts who blame their crystal meth habits on “soceity’s frowning” upon man on man sex. (And this reminds me of another bit of gay logic that I find exasperating: people insistence that gay bashers are most likely gay themselves, less because it makes a whit of sense than out of a desire to bestow the ultimate put-down on people who take the trouble to hunt us like vermin.

    The only reason I could ever accept for the crusade for “gay marriage” as opposed to civil unions is that which Larry Kramer got around to in connection with observing that the community has had this mental block about acknowledging that this gay marriage nonsense is what derailed Gore’s candidiacy for president. He said that once you demand something, equal rights-wize, you must never go back. Now it looks as though that’s what will happen after all. Will there even be a push for civil unions or do we just whine for a few more years until the “climate” improves?

    People over here misjudged the ;climate; because of the success of all these frigging minstrel shows on TV depicting gays proudly embracing every horrifying stereotype on the books. It never occured to them, as comfortable as they are with gayness and the sisters of perpetual indulgence and the dykes on bikes etc, that the rest of this sick-ass country doesn’t view all that uh garbage quite so benignly!

  20. Hypocritically assigning values? I guess, to some degree, but we do that all the time, for lots of things. For instance, we pretend that we live in ‘democracies’, when we clearly don’t and we pretend that’s best, when it very clearly may not be. It’s part of grasping the paradox of how mankind lives in society, maybe, and also with the tension in his own soul…

    Stand a creative nudge? You mean, like, put all the Tories on an island and start over…well, yeah (*grin*).

    The problem isn’t a wanting for a creative nudge impulse. Plenty of people have had a desire to ‘push mankind’, including Mao and Pol Pot, and tens of millions died. The problem is knowing how much and, maybe, more precisely, how to cover-your-ass so that you can backpedal a bit if things ‘go wrong’.

    And even though I’m well on the progressive side of the political spectrum, I’m not sure how much pushing is needed. As societies get more wealthy and as their citizens, hopefully, have time and leisure to develop a greater conscious, that is how a lot of ‘change’ occurs, at least the change that isn’t pushback against an obvious yoke. So, I’m actually fairly optimistic, that the tide of History is on the side of change, positive change, not just decay.

    Some things, like the great tolerance of the Dutch, built up over hundreds of years of Dutch interaction with a diverse world (of trading). This won’t be replicated anytime soon in middle America, I don’t care how “flat” Thomas Friedman thinks the world has become… That’s not my observation, but it’s fairly common and accessible.

    Last, the sort of Utopian vision of a 100% libertarian (or libertine) society is … like staring at Borg perfection. It’s intensely alluring, but I worry that most social groups would collapse under the weight of it. Sadly, “dull and disingenuous” is the price we pay, the cement, that keeps us from flying apart.

  21. “stranger’ what strikes me most clearly about your vews is that you seem to have grasped that no one has any partcular brief wth relatonships. What is so pervasive in your psyche appears to bea built in discrediting of authentic, other than Western heterosexual value paradigms (without which we are doomed to dull and disengenuous conformity). God knows humankind have grown to resemble something far worse than our worst conceptions of futurist c robots. Have you ever wondered if that which is given could stand a creative nudge? Or a big push?Or is mankind is as good as if dead in it’s tracks?

  22. But then, along that line, ” Virtue is it’s own punishment ” too. It seems inconsistent to place both arrangements on the same plane, and then hypocritically attach values to the two arrangements.

  23. steady, steady… I didn’t make any such insinuations, so hold off pissing until the consensual part of the evening and I will too.

    If I can admit that there are some ‘rewards’ to carefree or recreational sex (assuming slutty touches a nerve, even though if you could hear my tone I don’t say it that way), can you admit that there are other types of serious ‘rewards’ to long-term sexual relationships?

    If you can, then I think I can make a case for tipping the table in favor of that kind of relationship recognition. In other words, my approach doesn’t involve _proving_ that unfettered libido is morally wrong, spiritually bereft, or any of the sometimes nasty things that psychologists label it.

    In other words, I don’t think one has to becoming pious about the ‘correctness of marriage’ in order to favor it as relationship recognition.

    It’s a balancing act. To borrow a phrase, one might say, ‘Marriage is the tribute that vice pays to virtue’ or something… That seems about right to cover the complexity of it all and of us all.

  24. To jump from an observation that there are ways to experience sexuality other than that in presumptive marital bliss to assuming that Mark and I were in colusion and assuming that we are sluts and gossips is a great imaginatory leap for which only you can take credit and has no relation to any reality.or logical validity. I’m sure that both of us would rather gossip about other things and while generous, I am very picky about who I shag. Mark has remarked before that it’s more fun to talk about missed opportunities. Very humble!

  25. (How did I let myself end up as a side in the Mark e Mark show?)

    I’d rewrite Mark’s comment to, “One night stands are more fun when there is marriage.”

    That’s because some part of the psychological charge of bridges and trusses comes from being outside the fold, which wouldn’t be true if it were to become the norm.

    It’s a weird paradox. A whole set of people seemingly happily describe themselves as ‘sluts’, citing all kinds of rewards (and yes, there are some); but they are the first ones to say, “You’ll NEVER guess who I saw with cum all over their face in the woods asking for more!”, implying shock, alarm, or revelation. As if the appropriate response of the listener, from their own adopted perspective, shouldn’t be, “Who gives a fuck?”, i.e. boredom.

  26. Agreed, roof tops and bridge truses are far more romantic and less demanding off anything but a little athletic prowess and ingenuity..Invarably breathtaking and memorable. After all why do a sleepover for an hour or so event. which is best when spontaneous and unencumbered by planning.and housekeeping.

    Just imagine the fuss with marriage.

  27. I’m not heeding AS and you are exaggerating. One-night stands get boring, not only because they are so terribly limiting, at least as boring as ‘marriage sex’.

  28. 1000 a year might be too busy; but , in a lifetime you’re probably malingering. A good reason to get strange ideas….

  29. I submit that it’s possible to have 1000+ tricks and love (just the ultmate!) each and every one in his or her own way. Any lad with a heathy libido will hopefully fall in love at least once a day if as long as he goes outside.

    If you’re heeding Andrea Sullivan, a stray hippopatomus if there ever was one, that could be at the heart of your discontent andconfusion.,

  30. “I avoid even knowing the names of people I shag if possible; why would I need that?”
    It might be true, but ‘sex should be the same as going to the toilet’ is not a proposition about sexuality that will put ‘wheels on the bus’, again, to borrow Mark’s phrase above.

    And the whole idea of unencumbered, anonymous sex (which I think even Sullivan, following Pagila, trumpeted, once) seems as much fantasy as ‘true love’. First, it assumes that there is an endless supply of willing, anonymous partners. That doesn’t work out too well, in small town America or even big town America, where chances are high that you’ll see ‘someone’ again the next day, or someone who knows someone. Second, even among the people who have had 1,000 tricks, the ones they remember are (a) the wildest adventures and (b) the ones they almost ‘fell in love’ with, I submit.

  31. a social contract intended for the rearing of children and protection of women.
    Come again?

    Personally, I think this whole ‘rearing and women’ stuff is part of a stylized anthropology that was put up to deny gays access to civil marriage or bolster the case of some ‘Family Values’ people to collect money from subscribers; but I’m a bit behind in _proving_ that, so…

    What about this, as an alternative anthropology:

    Marriage was ‘invented’ to “protect” both people. It kept men from waking up and finding out that someone with more money had bought his wife (for her favors or permanently), his children (for whatever), or, gasp, pressed him, himself, into “service”, wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

  32. It all might be most coherant to comprehend that marriage itself is a social contract intended for the rearing of children and protection of women. Buy and large it’s oly association with “love” or sex is out of necessity or a product of movies. It ‘s a responsability and a pain in the ass for most men, since it is constructed for women and children’s good..
    Without realizing this basic principle you don’t even have ground talking about heterosexual male or female liberation. You have no idea as to how many straight men envy gay freedom. It used to be that to get some pussy they had to wait until marriage. What a terrible gamble that would be!
    Personally, if I had to be harassed with suggestions that I marry whomever I had sex or made friends with I go live in a cave. I avoid even knowing the names of people I shag if possible; why would I need that?
    By and large straight men, in kissing and coddeling women, treat them like overgrown children. Why would gay men want to mimic that sillyness? Yet having the same person following you around all day and staying in your house. Besides that it doesn’t even fill a social function.

  33. Let me hit this one head on, too, to see if everyone isn’t splitting hairs.

    Mark writes, elsewhere, “In my experience, many if not most long term male-male relationships are very open indeed.”

    I’ll bet that there are more, by number, swinging straight couples, now, in America, than would-be married gay couples.

    So, are we talking about matters of degree or matters of kind, here?

    It is the former, right?

    What’s more, I don’t think that the next generation has the same attitudes, as does, Sir Elton. That doesn’t mean they are any less randy males, but they have different ideas about what to do about it.

  34. I am listening, sweetie darling, I just cannot arrange everything I’ve heard yet into either a coherent philosophy or what Mark would call a ‘tactical and strategic’ success for everyone.

    Are you saying that the core insight from gay male sexuality is that friends/friendship are the same a lovers? Doesn’t that just ignore how powerfully intertwined sex and ‘connectedness’ are (or should be – gasp – , if you believe in the power of jealousy)?

    Can societies or social groups really use just “lust” as an organizing principle, as a norm, not just as a sometime thing that is tolerated to whatever degree?

    Myself, I’m not an “equality” crier. I think ‘marriage equality’ as a phrase is really bad marketing.

    But, marriage has a place on the spectrum. You know, for once, just once, it would be nice if someone asked, ‘You know, he’s a nice chap, are you going to marry him?’, rather than ‘Did you get laid this weekend?’ or ‘How’s tricks?’.

  35. Try to understand, sweetie. It’s not that hard.

    Although some gay couples want and should have monogamous marriage, true equality is about recognising that there are many different types of relationships, and the majority (heterosexual and homosexual) do not fit into the rigid confines of “marriage”.

    Those that cry “equality!” are not really aiming for equality, but some sort of assimilation that reduces all of gay politics into a marriage as the be-all-and-end-all.

  36. I still don’t get it.

    The myth of a gloriously happy slut _all their life_ probably has the same traction as the myth of the deliriously happy couple all their life.

    Somewhere between those two poles is a threesome waiting to happen…er, a reasonable set of public policies for relationship recognition.

    Your outline of what marriage is looks kinda rudimentary. Contrary to the assertion above, one has to doubt that scores of Americans have been Sullivanized, and that’s what accounts for the changing attitudes stateside. There is just something natural about some people falling in love, wanting to proclaim and celebrate it with their families, and wanting to make a life together. It’s not all indoctrination or Republican mimic (there just aren’t that many Republican lesbians, for starters, yuk, yuk).

    In that regard, the hope or idea that the gay community still exists at the forefront of a sexual liberation vanguard, I think, is dated by _at least_ 20 years.

    And, for those who still long for the old, “bad boy” outlaw insular culture (or whatever adjectives), how doesn’t gay marriage help them even more? As the ‘ultimate outsiders’, wouldn’t they become just that much more completely satisfied, because that’s what fuels their sexual identity or politics?

  37. Stranger:
    Here is a review of the major arguments for “gay marriage” and why (IMO) they are wrong.

    1) Same-sex love is equal to heterosexual love. Well, duh, of course it is. I don’t know of anyone who denies the idea of love. But there is many different types of loves – romantic, friendship, family. We queers (especially of an older generation) should appreciate the non-romantic love as many of us have had to form new relationships outside the traditional family.

    So, if we recognise that love is present in many forms (not just the romantic love that the gay movement presents as “ideal”) then ALL adult consensual relationships should be recognised. Will marriage do this? No. Marriage is an institution (at the moment) of romantic love. For full equality, we should be pushing for all types of love / commitments to be recognised. Civil unions would do this.

    2) Gay marriage is an expression of two non-heterosexual people’s love. I mean, really? If a couple needs that much affirmation in their life, they shouldn’t be married. They should see a counsellor about co-dependency and self-esteem issues.

    3) Gay marriage is needed to fight homophobia. People can see that non-heterosexuals can live in 1:1 relationships. Again, this only suits those who can live in 1:1 relationships, which are pushed as some sort of “norm” but, in reality, is subject to affairs, one-night stands, visits to prostitutes, etc. Again, us queers should be on the vanguard of pushing the acceptability of all adult relationships, not defining them in one accepted norm. So again, marriage fails most people (hetero and homo) as an institution. Civil relationship is a more realistic option as it does not have the baggage of marriage.

    4) We can still have marriage, and be sluts – we can subvert marriage into our type of relationship. Well, this is a slap in the face to people who do want marriage as it currently stands (monogamy, to death-do-us-part, etc etc). If a person is pro-marriage, they should then agree to the strictures of that arrangement. So leave the “marriage” to those who can agree to its conditions, and let the rest of us define our relationships as we see fit.

    In summary, I think it is difficult to support same-sex marriage as it is an attempt to shoehorn people into one narrowly defined type of relationship. Civil registration is a relatively new idea, and allows us to define ourselves much better than marriage ever could.

  38. the “arguments’ for marriage are just road kill
    ignoring that is not an argument itself, how is this assertion less of a strategic blunder, in the context described above, regardless of its tactical weight?

    I mean, seriously, is fly-over or bi-coastal America accepting of that assertion, in any form, except as a put-down for gays? I mean, fucking hell, they are even fully funding “National Marriage Projects” and more.

  39. AIDs originated in the jungles of Africa, not in bathouses; “Will you civil union me?” is just lousy syntax. ; other wise the “arguments’ for marriage are just road kill. Read “Related Posts”(above).

  40. But, what is your argument?

    Marriage is hard? Marriage is a cul-de-sac? Civil Unions are easy? The word “marriage” is unwanted, unmodern, unfashionable because 100 years ago it was about chattal? That’s persuasive?

    Gay men, gay couples are “different” and therefore civil union is the appropriate relationship recognition for all of them (even those who want to tell them they are different because they are inferior)? Are you sure? I mean straight people “invented” marriage – I can’t believe you think they all aren’t randy in major doses.

    Some people, including some gay men, like to have sex with a lot of people, therefore no relationship recognition is appropriate for anyone? Really?

    Two men in a longterm relationship walk into the baths. This invalidates their ‘marriage’, but not their civil union? Huh? Their relationship itself?

  41. Oops

    Maybe BB doesn’t have the whole truth.

    Somehow, ‘Will you civil union me?’ doesn’t quite have the ring to it.

    The Baths for everyone!? That’s a winning strategy and tactic, somehow better than yelling, “Bigot!” at princesses?

  42. Though I have enjoyed many of your essays over the years, your insistence that males are all randy tom-cats is simplistic. Some, both hetero and homo certainly fit the bill, but by no means all.

    Your reference to black civil rights leads me to suggest that there’s a n***er in the woodshed in your argument, namely STD’s and HIV. Have we learned nothing from the 1980’s culture of rampant promiscuity and its fruits (pun intended!). The burden of proof on the view that men who desire men are, and should be, creatures of the night and sexual outlaws trolling parks, rest stops and glory holes lies with its advocates and it is, I suggest, a losing hand. Now if you were a full throat-ed supporter of civil unions you might have a leg to stand on, but unless I misread you, you’re not an enthusiast of that either.

  43. Add to that couples who don’t have sex at all, and we can see that the traditional marriage is useless for the majority of its participants. So let’s abolish marriage and its so-called “sanctity” and replace it with a civil union / recognition contract of interdependency.

    Queers should really be pushing for this, not the assimilationist marriage crap that is the current hallmark of activism.

  44. About gay couples going to the bath house together, heterosexual swinger clubs exist all over the world and nobody judges the married straight couples to be less worthy of their marriage. And what about the “mandingo” parties in the US, where married men take their middle age wifes to get screwed by younger black men while they watch?

  45. p.s. With respect to benefiting from gay marriages it’s interesting to note that the attorneys would be glutted with divorce & contract business. They and the legal organizations who take scads of funds to lobby and fight cases are the people who validated the Constitutional scam.

    The saddest part about this is that it was falsely represeted as being the forefront of the gay rights struggle, instead of the promotion of a healthy tartism, which so many young men would enjoy more than burping babies and ironing clothes.

  46. Terrific report ! A consideration of who is the Uncle Tom in the matter should easily reducible to: Who wants to command heterosexual respectability ? (Be Lace curtain fags?) On the other hand, who is willing to stand apart if it means being authentic, in good faith with their own natures?
    Also, even a very short historical perspective given the marriage posture very perverse right wing credentials, being a pet of A. Sullivan, Bruce Bawer, etc. the most extreme of gay conservatives.
    Regarding the constitutional issue: While same sex marriage may have proven to be amenable to certain state Constitutions, it is by no even vigorous stretch of the imagination relevant, as is claimed to the U.S. Constitution.
    Not even a very loose interpretation would render the 17th Amendment, allowing people of different colors to marry can be twisted to change the definition of “marriage.” The wool was pulled over people’s eyes with that spoof. Proof of that is, like so many issues in America, not discussed: reality was determined by force, not by truth. The people who were mostly likely to benefit were rich white men keeping boy toys (primarily) and people who had a fervid investment of getting the churches'(God’s) recognition.
    Civil unions would have been feasable; a movement to extricate religion from Government incredible. Instead, gay people made asses of themselves, insulting, as Mark noted, some of the most dignified intelects in gay history, and blindly promoting more antipathy toward gays at work, housing schooling, etc. than could have been done in any other way.

  47. Tut-tut Mr Simpson. How dare you upset their wholesome, pretend-hisband-and-wifey, Hallmark-friendly fantasy???
    Love it that they have a photo of you that clearly illustrates your sluttiness though. Phwoar, old chap.

  48. Those comments from Bruce are a wonderfully uncommon gale of fresh air. Such a pleasure to read. Even since I was 18 or so I’ve never been able to understand why people continue to equate love and monogamy when to me they may be coincident, or not. And certainly if there’s one thing that centuries of multiple marriages, murders, mistresses, affairs and divorces clearly shows us is that a marriage contract is no guarantee of a never-ending monogamous relationship with another person, be they male or female.

  49. When the mainstream gay and lesbian movement forgot / ignored its history and went for assimilation over difference, this was (sadly) due to happen. I know many gay male Yanks who do see themselves in the midst of a civil rights struggle akin to the black civil rights struggle of MLK. And this isn’t just an American mindset – most western countries have a strong same-sex marriage movement which is lacking in any intellectual rationale except the need for acknowledgement that,”My relationship is just as good as yours.”

    Go on being an Uncle Tom you slutty Limey. I think you are a wise old Mammy and not some ditzy Prissy!

  50. I heard Ann Northrup and NY senator Tom Duane on the radio last week and was amazed at how clueless they sounded about why the NY Senate vote was defeated and the big picture on getting gay marriage laws passed in the U.S.

    They came off sounding very self-entitled.

    I don’t begrudge them their fighting spirit, but it won’t help their cause to not critically analyze the mistakes made in pushing this along without regard for voters’ confusion, prejudices, differing opinion, etc.

    I think younger gay men (at least the ones I know in NYC) are far more “marriage”-oriented than my own 40something generation. They really want to be able to marry in the same legalistic sense as their hetero peers. It seems less of an abstract “equality” issue to them.

    My own opinion on the gay marriage is that it is a constitutional equality issue and best left to the Supreme Court, not the U.S. voter.

  51. “Marriage is a sacrament that has absolutely nothing to do with the State, and it should have no legal status whatsoever.” – This is the real problem. We’ve somehow confused marriage (a religious sacrament/rite/ordinance/whatever you want to call it) with a civil union (domestic partnership). The should not be the same thing, because one is a religious rite, and the other a civil contract.

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