Rage Against Those Scary Gays and Invoke an Angry God

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
Mahat­ma Gandhi

Shut Up And Say “I Do”
Rage against those scary gays and invoke an angry God—it’s Bush­Co’s “Mar­riage Pro­tec­tion Week”
By Mark Morford 

Did you hug a priest today? Run from a scary homo­sex­u­al per­son? Coo over a copy of Bride’s mag­a­zine? Fall on your knees and thank God Almighty that your child isn’t yet gay or pagan or lib­er­tar­i­an and if she is that’s OK because it’s noth­ing that reg­u­lar lithi­um and elec­troshock ther­a­py can’t “cure”?

You did? Great! Because this entire week, Oct. 13–18, has been decreed “Mar­riage Pro­tec­tion Week” by the delight­ful­ly sanc­ti­mo­nious and homo­pho­bic Bush admin­is­tra­tion. It’s true. 

And hence the time’s nev­er been bet­ter to shove any open-heart­ed, pro­gres­sive, non­tra­di­tion­al notions of love or rela­tion­ships or child rear­ing you might have deep, deep under­ground and be numbly hap­py that our fine gov­ern­ment is step­ping up to safe­guard mar­riage from, well, you know, them. Or it. Or something. 

Did you know? The glo­ri­ous God-giv­en sanc­ti­ty of tra­di­tion­al, mis­sion­ary-posi­tion mar­riage is under sav­age attack. The GOP is open­ly ter­ri­fied that gays are gal­lop­ing into the cul­tur­al con­scious­ness on sequined horse­back, lovers are shun­ning tra­di­tion­al wed­dings in favor of incense and anal sex and taiko drum­ming, chil­dren are weep­ing in the streets, neglect­ed and con­fused and read­ing Har­ry Pot­ter back­ward, won­der­ing why Mom­my scours the nerve.com per­son­als while Dad­dy is off vis­it­ing his “sis­ters” in Bangkok. 

Bush­Co does­n’t, of course, spec­i­fy just what mar­riage requires pro­tec­tion from, exact­ly, except the “gay agen­da” thing, which appar­ent­ly means lots of hap­py les­bians hand­ing out free vul­va hand pup­pets to con­fused lit­tle girls on pub­lic play­grounds. Oh the horror. 

But that does­n’t real­ly mat­ter, because, much like porn or ecsta­sy or mur­der­ous wars that gut the heart of a nation and dec­i­mate economies and kill U.S. sol­diers every day for the sake of petro­chem­i­cal and polit­i­cal prof­i­teer­ing, you don’t have to actu­al­ly prove any sort of actu­al dan­ger from the “evil­do­er” in ques­tion to launch your bil­ious counterattack. 

This is the Bush­Co way. This is the neo­con­ser­v­a­tive creed. Invent a bogus threat, inject black smears of fear, hint that some­thing church approved and “fam­i­ly friend­ly” is in dan­ger and that wee inno­cent chil­dren and cute pup­pies are about to be tat­tooed and/or made to wear lots of leather chaps and eye­lin­er, and if we don’t stand up to the Big Bad Evil, soci­ety as we know it will, very lit­er­al­ly, crumble. 

They cite stud­ies, many from anti­choice, homo­pho­bic neo­con­ser­v­a­tive groups from Col­orado Springs. They try to show that chil­dren of hap­py well-adjust­ed well-nar­co­tized Bible-riff­ic man/woman par­ents fare bet­ter in the world than chil­dren of “oth­er fam­i­ly struc­tures,” like those hor­ri­ble and clear­ly irre­spon­si­ble sin­gle par­ents who should be shunned by soci­ety and sent off to sav­age islands some­where in Indonesia. 

They try to prove that gays are gath­er­ing in fur-lined base­ments and bright airy well-designed lofts right this minute, strate­giz­ing how to best rip apart the stur­dy cor­duroy fab­ric of soci­ety and replace it with a nice light wool/spandex blend, all while intro­duc­ing more young boys to Satanism and cool design­er shoes. 

There­fore, if we all work to “pro­tect” marriage—which appar­ent­ly means lots of coun­sel­ing and guilt-thick church meet­ings and bad sex and ram­pant loathing of gay peo­ple, cou­pled with your tac­it agree­ment to bury your sense of self and endure yet anoth­er decade of unhap­py mar­riage with some­one you might not love any­more and who might be abu­sive or unhealthy or just plain depress­ing as hell—society will be saved. 

Fun­ny. They do not cite stud­ies that prove chil­dren of, say, superla­tive well-fund­ed pub­lic schools and Head Start pro­grams and robust arts pro­grams fare bet­ter in the world than those who attend Bush­Co-reamed pub­lic schools as they are, well, right now. 

Fun­ny. They do not cite stud­ies that prove it’s not, in fact, mar­riage that makes the fam­i­ly sta­ble, but, rather, human con­nec­tion and love and true com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and that unwant­ed mar­riage or “stay­ing togeth­er for the kids” can have a vicious, debil­i­tat­ing effect on chil­dren (not to men­tion the mis­er­able par­ents) that is far, far more harm­ful than any divorce. 

Fun­ny. They do not cite stud­ies show­ing how the GOP’s very own snide misog­y­nis­tic anti­choice stance and fear­mon­ger­ing tac­tics dri­ve many young women who aren’t ready to have chil­dren into tail­spins of mis­ery and guilt. 

They do not cite how the Catholic Church is telling poor nations all over the world that con­doms don’t pre­vent AIDS. They do not cite how Bush­Co’s mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar fund­ing of dis­gust­ing “absti­nence only” sex-ed pro­grams in pub­lic schools works mere­ly to poi­son the bur­geon­ing sex­u­al­i­ty of youth and leads straight to far too many mis­in­formed vir­gins get­ting mar­ried and hav­ing awful sex and then get­ting divorced because they’re so damned lousy in bed. 

They do not cite stud­ies that show that sex­u­al repres­sion and typ­i­cal neo­con­ser­v­a­tive intol­er­ance lead to real­ly awful par­ent­ing and the rise of alco­holism and des­per­ate­ly horny priests and sloth­like kids who are way, way too into pro­fes­sion­al wrestling. 

And per­haps most telling of all, they do not cite the obvi­ous com­mon sense that any­one of any true aware­ness knows: that gay cou­ples are equal­ly, if not more, capa­ble of rais­ing healthy and wise and savvy and beau­ti­ful chil­dren than het­ero cou­ples, and that, with a 50 per­cent divorce rate still rag­ing like a bad STD among hap­py mar­riage-pro­tect­ed Chris­tians, it might very well be the new move­ment toward empow­er­ing the gay-love rela­tion­ship that saves mar­riage at all. 

Let’s make this per­fect­ly clear: Mar­riage does not need pro­tec­tion. Tra­di­tion­al mar­riage does not need any forcible recom­mit­ment by right-wing Chris­t­ian zealots who try to force every­one into lit­tle shiny hap­py het­ero­sex­u­al SUV-sized box­es of same­ness and sanc­ti­mo­ny and bad rent­ed tuxe­dos and engraved gravy boats. 

In fact, much like the church and the con­cept of “fam­i­ly” and Jen­na Bush, mar­riage needs to be bust­ed wide open. Mar­riage needs to be allowed to move and progress and dance as the cul­ture moves, as con­scious­ness pro­gress­es, as times and mores change, rec­og­niz­ing along the way that what might have been some tox­ic nuclear-fam­i­ly ide­al in 1953 holds near­ly zero rel­e­vance today, and in fact only makes us more uptight and rigid and confused. 

Mar­riage needs to be tick­led until it screams. Mar­riage needs to be stripped down and sprayed with whipped cream and licked all over. Mar­riage needs to be blown apart with the dyna­mite of new pos­si­bil­i­ty and put back togeth­er again in ten thou­sand dif­fer­ent kalei­do­scop­ic con­fig­u­ra­tions, each one encour­aged and cel­e­brat­ed and applaud­ed, even those that don’t involve ridicu­lous­ly expen­sive cakes and tepid church cer­e­monies and the bride zonked on Val­i­um as the groom slams anoth­er scotch to calm his nerves. 

This is the only way. Evolve or die, hon­ey. Because it’s exact­ly when you try to force-fit love’s mod­ern, ever-evolv­ing muta­tions into archa­ic, increas­ing­ly bit­ter box­es of ide­ol­o­gy and Right wing-approved bland­ness and sac­ti­mo­ny that the cul­ture suf­fers most. Leg­is­lat­ing love is nev­er the answer. Hey, just ask your neigh­bor­hood Catholic priest. 

So. Let us rede­fine this week. Let us claim it right back from the hounds of fear­ful con­ser­vatism. Let us call it “Shut the Hell Up and Get Your Damn Con­ser­v­a­tive Agen­da Out of My Love Life Week.” In fact, let us make it a month. A year. An agen­da of our own. 

After all, mar­riage ain’t just for uptight right-wing Chris­t­ian zealots any­more. And it nev­er will be.

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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