In August 2011, after dating for approximately six months, sex tape/reality television star Kim Kardashian and professional athlete Kris Humphries were married during a highly publicized, over-the-top ceremony that has been broadcast repeatedly on E! Entertainment Television. This was Kardashian's second marriage and Humphries' first. On Oct. 31, a mere 72 days after their wedding, it was announced that they would be divorcing.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the United States, a lesbian couple, who have been partnered for 30 years, showed up at a Register of Deeds office in the town of Asheville, in my home state of North Carolina, requesting a marriage license. Since it is illegal for same-sex couples to marry in North Carolina, their request was, of course, denied, and when they refused to leave the office, they were arrested. Soon, voters in North Carolina will decide whether or not their state Constitution should be amended to officially ban marriage equality altogether. This will make it virtually impossible for future legislatures to extend marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples. North Carolina is currently the only state in the Southeast to not have passed such an amendment.
There is something seriously wrong with this picture.
There was a time when I wouldn't have given a second thought to the faux marriage of a famous-for-no-discernible-reason attention whore like Kim Kardashian. But that was then and this is now. And, right now, what is happening in North Carolina and all across a country that prides itself on equal opportunity and liberty and justice for all is so fundamentally wrong, it's criminal. Christian hate groups are working tirelessly, and somewhat successfully, to convince as many Americans as possible, political leaders included, that marriage equality is the single greatest threat to the so-called "sanctity" of "traditional" marriage. For instance, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), whose name makes it sound like some sort of government think tank that promotes matrimony, was "founded in 2007 in response to the growing need for an organized opposition to same-sex marriage." This is their sole reason for existence.
Current presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and former presidential candidate and alleged billionaire Donald Trump have both denounced same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, both are known adulterers, each of whom has been twice divorced and thrice married. Singer and actress Jennifer Lopez is currently in the process of ending her third marriage. This past June, a 51-year-old actor named Doug Hutchison was allowed to legally marry an attention-starved 16-year-old named Courtney Stodden. In 2009, in the United States alone, 840,000 divorces were granted. Ashley Madison, an online dating site marketed primarily to people who are looking for discreet extramarital affairs, claims to have over 11 million members. The list goes on and on. It's like a bad joke. Marriage has taken a relentless flogging at the hands of heterosexuals, and the assault continues. Therein lies the true detriment to the sanctity of marriage. However, there is no mention of any of these affronts to marriage on the NOM website. In fact, they seem to be concerned about "protecting" marriage only if it appeases their irrational, insatiable desire to discriminate against tax-paying, law-abiding American citizens who just happen to be gay. They couldn't care less about the obnoxious frivolity with which many heterosexuals regard their sacred institution. Why not propose a constitutional amendment to ban divorce? Why not try to make adultery illegal? Aren't these the two things that destroy most marriages?
Christian extremist hate groups can conjure up all the feel-good names they want: National Organization for Marriage, American Family Association, Focus on the Family, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, etc. They can try to convince voters that they are toiling away for some noble cause. They can wrap their hate up in a pretty package, but we all know it's not about marriage or family or constitutional freedom. It's about homophobia, bigotry and the desire for legalized discrimination, plain and simple. And, that's just so un-American.