John Irving on Same Sex Marriage: Civil Unions Aren't Equal Enough!

05/04/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Lisa Derrick Pop culture journalist,; art curator

This letter arrives via Rex Wockner, a San Diego- based syndicated journalist via author Edmund White.

Author John Irving (The World According to Garp, The Cider House Rules) wrote his thoughts on same sex marriage in Vermont and emailed them to author Edmund White, asking him to forward them on.

Edmund White wrote: Dear Rex--Here is a letter to me from the famous (straight) novelist John Irving (The World According to Garp) about the marriage bill in Vermont. He would like you to make it widely available. Thanks, Edmund Whit

Dear Edmund
It's interesting that, as you and I are comparing our calendars to see when we might get together in Vermont -- and while we are both engaged in overseeing the editing and copy-editing phase of our new books -- my fellow Vermonters are deciding the fate of a gay marriage bill, which I very much support, and which has been supported by the Vermont State Senate (by a wide margin)...

don't need to tell you that there are many people outside Vermont who are watching to see what my home state does about the S.115 legislation; I believe that gays, and all Americans committed to equality, are looking hopefully at Vermont right now. As a country, don't we lag behind Europe and Canada on the acceptance of gay people? I am proud of the Vermont Senate for passing this bill by such a commanding margin.
But wait a minute; I mustn't overlook our governor, Jim Douglas (R.). Around the state, I hear rumors that our governor has national ambitions of a conservative kind. Indeed,

Gov. Douglas's threatened veto of this important and timely legislation puts him on the wrong side of history; people opposed to gay marriage will soon belong among such dinosaurs as those who stood in opposition to African-Americans in Martin Luther King's time, or those other dinosaurs who once denied equal rights for women...

My question for Gov. Douglas is: Why should it matter to straight couples if gay couples want to be married? How insecure must heterosexuals be in order to feel threatened by gay marriage? Civil unions aren't good enough -- they're not equal enough!...

Lisa Deriick is La Figa at