In March I'm getting married in New York City to my partner of 24 years, and not entirely of my own free will. I am co-insured on his health insurance policy at work, as his company has, for many years and out of the sheer goodness of its heart, added me to the policy (they were not required to; they just did it because they're nice people). But since marriage equality became legal in New York last June, the company stated that they will only insure the married and are dropping the whole domestic partner charade. So, hilariously, we're being forced into a gay marriage. Take that, Mr. and Mrs. Bachmann.
But I'm more than happy to sign a piece of paper, recite vows before an officiant and assembled guests, and say, "I do," since I was planning on spending the rest of my life with him anyway. Where else am I going? Oh, I'm sure there's some hot little twink out there with my name on him who would be more than happy to carouse with daddy, but we would have to carry on a conversation, so no thanks. So, I'm marrying the love of my life, and unlike New Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Ronald Reagan, and Bob Barr, the author of the Defense of Marriage Act, when I say "I do," I'll mean it. If we're talking family values, I'm ahead.
But to Rick Santorum and the rest of the GOP field, my marriage will have no value because my relationship itself has no value. As far as gay relationships, Ron Paul ignores them, but he's like an old coot on a front porch with a rifle looking for varmints, and he has forgotten half of what he ever said anyway. Newt Gingrich demeans them, but he demeans everything, and he will turn it around and tell us that our problems are our fault. Mitt Romney was for them before he was against them, and he believes we shouldn't discriminate until we should discriminate.
But Santorum can't imagine a healthy gay relationship. It literally pains him to talk about it. In addition to comparing gay sex to sex with a dog, whenever he mentions the "sanctity of marriage," his face scrunches into a furrowed scowl that resembles a constipated altar boy about to have a gigantic bowel movement. Watch him. He really does look like he's about to crap in his pants.
If it were up to him, I wouldn't have been able to share my partner's insurance, or have any legal protections of any kind. People still don't realize this. I recently had a conversation with a a 50-something housewife from the Midwest who supports Santorum because "he means what he says." She had seen my act and congratulated me on my marriage. When I detailed Santorum's anti-gay agenda, she had no idea what I was talking about. She thought that Santorum merely stood for traditional marriage but didn't know that in addition to marriage, he and his cronies are all against any legal protections for gays whatsoever, and would in fact like to make gay sex illegal. She thought that was wrong, but she's still voting for Santorum anyway. Some people never learn, and they vote.
The marriage equality issue is the most loaded weapon in the "War on Religion," and all the GOP candidates have jumped onto this latest meme coined by Rick Perry, who left this phrase behind like a pile of cat vomit. Mitt Romney is the latest to repeat this mantra, since he would probably support incest if it was trending. Romney has the personality of an undertaker who says, "I'm sorry you lost your spouse, but you can buy another one." Romney's suit is so empty it might as well be on a coat hanger.
He's transparent, and everyone knows it, which is why Santorum is surging. Santorum is the one who really believes this stuff, and since the GOP base is desperate for a genuine candidate, Santorum is the new messiah, and people like the aforementioned housewife fall for his 1950s vision. Yes, he means what he says. So did Charles Manson.
He blathers on about the importance of families. What about my family? What about the families of thousands of gay parents and their children? What about their relatives? Santorum and his ilk are not pro-family. They are anti-family, unless said family conforms to their outdated definition. There are many different kinds of families out there. How many times do we have to go through this? And sorry, Rick, we're not "redefining" marriage. That has already been done many times throughout history. This is just the latest tweak.
I can't believe we're still having this freaking discussion, and staggered that in 2012 they're still calling it a "lifestyle choice." Believe me, if I had made a "lifestyle choice," it would have been the lifestyle of Richard Branson, with unlimited first-class air travel, flitting from Bali to Tahiti to the Maldives for gallery openings, scuba dives, and luaus, accompanied by various hot little twinks. It wouldn't have been a lifetime of having to justify my existence to these guys until I'm ready to put a bullet through my brain.
But according to them and the federal laws of the United States, my marriage will indeed have less value than that of a cracked-out stripper in Las Vegas who impulsively marries a guy she just gave a lap dance, with an Elvis impersonator officiating. It will have less value than that of a death-row inmate who can get married before he gets fried in the chair. It will have less value than that of a pair of Alabama teenagers who get pregnant one drunken night, can't stand each other, and are forced by their parents into a shotgun marriage. It will have less value than Kim Kardashian's ludicrous sham, Ethel Merman's and Ernest Borgnine's four-week marriage, Britney Spears' 55-hour union, or the marriage of Rudolph Valentino and Jean Acker, which lasted 20 minutes.
While gathering signatures to vote to repeal Washington's just-enacted marriage equality law, National Organization for Marriage lackey Brian Brown said, "Marriage is a cornerstone of society that not only unites a couple to each other, but ensures that any children born of their union will have the best opportunity to be raised by their own mother and father." The first part of the sentence is true, which is why I'm doing it. The second part is not, because a mother and father are no guarantee whatsoever of a good upbringing. We all know a lot of really screwed-up people, and the vast majority of them had a mother and father. End of discussion.
Even most of the young people at the Conservative Political Action Conference get it. A CPAC panel on marriage featured aged speakers and a sparse audience, all of them over 50. Most of these people will never change their minds, and they're just going to have to die off. In the case of some of them, it won't be too long.
Marriage is indeed a traditional family value, and I will finally be able to have it. At long last, I will be able to have sex within marriage (if I can talk him into it). I will be able to be a married man just like my dad, even though I still won't get the 1,000-plus benefits of federal marriage that he gets, and when I leave the state of New York, my marriage will evaporate, like cell phone service. But it's a start. To me my marriage will have all the value in the world, and nothing a scold like Rick Santorum or anyone else can say will spoil my wedding day.