By Josh Kilmer-Purcell
Who's a gay gotta fuck to get a little hate around here? Is anybody else noticing the deafening silence of the social conservatives this year? After enduring cycle after cycle of brutal anti'gay marriage state-ballot propositions and fearmongering, 2008 seems to be the season of homo-so?-bia.
I know, I know, there are still anti'gay marriage propositions on the ballots of three states this year -- Arizona, Florida, and California. The fight is far from over. But after suffering 11 losses in 2004 and seven in 2006, this year seems like a piece of wedding cake. Besides, we stand a good chance of winning two out of three of this year's battles. In fact, we already won in Arizona once, when the state's 2006 anti'gay marriage amendment was rejected by voters.
It's not just the number of antigay ballot initiatives that's declining -- it's the response from our opponents. On the first day of legal same-sex weddings in California, gays got hitched without a hitch. No real protests were evident. In fact, Tony Perkins, president of the antigay Family Research Council, publicly explained their lack of indignation by shrugging, 'We'll let them have their day.' Brian Brown, executive director of the antigay National Organization for Marriage'California, decided to 'wish these same-sex couples well.' Even the reliably rabid Phelps clan cut short their California anti'gay marriage tour after deciding that Tim Russert's funeral was higher on God's to-don't list than we are.
Maybe Massachusetts is to blame for this new wave of apathy. Four years after we gained the legal right to marry in Massachusetts, the Commonwealth has come to consider us (shudder) commonplace. Recently the Massachusetts legislature repealed via voice vote a pesky 1913 state law prohibiting out-of-state gay couples from getting married in Massachusetts. A voice vote. That means it wasn't even close enough to bother tallying. 'All in favor, say 'aye.' All opposed, shrug 'meh.' '
I feel snubbed. I can stand hate. I can wallow in love. But this indifference is killing me. Remember when we were special creatures whom others, at best, tolerated?
We've brought this ennui on ourselves. In our rush to the altar we've decided to tiptoe the last mile. GLBT groups in California encouraged couples to tone down their weddings. Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, finger-wagged, 'There's a time to party, there's a time for celebration, there's a time for flamboyance. And then there's getting married.' Sure. Tell that to TomKat, Eva Longoria, and JLo.
You know what time it is, Kate? It's time for us to bring out our inner Britneys. I want to see Lance Bass wake up from a drunken evening next to a stranger sporting a wedding ring. I can't wait for our first gay Denise Richards'Charlie Sheen public divorce trainwreck. If Pam Anderson can ricochet between past husbands, why can't Anne Heche get in a brawl with Portia backstage at the Emmys?
I think we've once again mistaken assimilation for validation. We believe that flying under the radar is going to carry us over the threshold. Well, let me be the first to point out that America has never fallen in love with tasteful understatement. E! doesn't run end-of-year specials on discreet celebrity elopements. I promise you that if Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka rented out the Hollywood Bowl and exchanged vows on top of diamond-encrusted wild stallions -- with an exclusive photo deal with OK! -- it would do wonders both for their careers and for gay marriage.
Trust me, we're not going to win the wedding wars -- at least not the final battles -- with wallflowers. We're going to win with our God-given talent for spectacle. In this season of recession and foreclosures and endless wars, the public needs a little of our own special brand of sparkle. After all, why did the Massachusetts legislature overturn the 1913 marriage restriction so quickly and effortlessly? Some legislators publicly acknowledged that it was because they didn't want California to hog all the money to be made from our wedding parties.
Geoff Kors, executive director of the GLBT group Equality California, tried to tamp down California celebrations by warning that 'the world is watching.' But I think we know our strengths in front of audiences -- and they don't include restraint. I acknowledge (and am grateful) that a lot of hard work has gone into getting states to stop fighting off our weddings. Now let's start luring states into fighting over them.