Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The military gay wedding that wasn't

As First Things notes, the recent "military wedding" of a US Air Force guy with another guy attracted a lot of news attention; only thing is, it was a civil union, and isn't the definition of "wedding" the start of a marriage?

I read about the "same sex wedding" (its headline) in a long article at Slate.   Sure, within the body of the article they note it was a civil union ceremony, but it takes a while to get to the point.

What's more interesting about the Slate article is the detail of the background of these guys.  Both come from conservative religious backgrounds; both have been married (to women, one of them twice) and have 2 children.   They fell in love via meeting at church, while was of them was still married; the discovery of the relationship (I don't think it is clear whether it was physical at that stage) sounds like it was pretty traumatic for his wife.   

But, of course, the general tenor of the article is that everything is fine and wonderful now because two guy have finally found their love match.

This type of treatment of this type of story shows the sort of bias that the media treats sexuality with these days; although to be honest, many people go along with it.

Of course, what I mean is that if this were a heterosexual story, would the media see much there to celebrate?   People falling out of love with their wives, particularly while they have children, and falling in love with someone else is rightly seen as kind of sad, no matter how happy the new couple are.   And given statistics of divorce and remarriage, most cool headed people know that no matter how brightly the new relationship seems to be burning at the start, there is a very good chance it will not last.  

But finding a dude who you really like and gets you going in bed is supposed to change this equation entirely?   Yes indeed.  The national media will give you lots and lots and lots of attention, because imitation marriage by same sex couples are just meant to be so heartwarming. 

Update:  having a look at the slide show of the "wedding" at the Slate site, I have a modest request:  can gay couples do us marriage conservatives* a favour and stop appropriating heterosexual marriage imagery (down to slow dances on the reception floor, what looks like jokes about a garter on a leg, etc) for their wedding/commitment ceremonies/whatever?      

Do it in the nude maybe; or put the ring on the tubular organ that wasn't available for the purpose at the last wedding; I really don't care.   But do something original for God's sake to show that what you've come up with is an original idea that is new to the entire human race.

* by which I mean:  those who think a cultural and religious phenomena that everyone understood and accepted was heterosexual and about reproductive potential for the last 10,000 years shouldn't be changed on the whim of modern sexual identity politics of the last 20 years.  


TimT said...

You are a grumpy old bastard and I agree with a lot of what you say. Does that make me a grumpy old bastard too?

There's been a lot of confusion over the terms 'civil unions' and 'gay marriage' lately, with what I understand to be changes to legislation around civil unions (eg, Queensland) being portrayed and argued about as 'gay marriage' legislation, while activists in other contexts continue to pursue changes to marriage legislation as desirable, ignoring the civil union possibility! There's a good deal of confused thinking about the whole issue - the 'debate' we are having seems to have been based on confused terminology and contradictory ideas ever since we started having it. (Who decides what these public 'debates' are anyway, and why do they bear so little relationship to the sensible sort of argument you might have with a friend?)

Not sure about the grumble about gays appropriating traditional marriage imagery though - so much of what goes in marriages these days is appropriated anyway. The classic white wedding imagery dates back only as far as the 19th century; the smashing of plates that occurs in Greek weddings... has not occured for many many years in Greece - etc.

Steve said...

Yes, you are right on the confusion, Tim.

In fact, I was confused too about Britain, which I had assumed had gone the whole hog into gay marriage (the scenes of people dressed up as if for a wedding at the ceremony for Elton John had probably done it) when it fact it was civil unions and only now is the push on for gay marriage.

I have no idea why the gay rights advocates in Federal Parliament appear to have no one who is prepared to just put forward legislation for civil unions instead of gay marriage as something that may be achievable.

Malcolm Turnbull argued for that approach - I am assuming the Coalition doesn't have a policy on that?

As for gay weddings - well with all this innovation, they should just keep going. My initial feeling was that it should be more pagan looking; except (as I have mentioned before on this blog) one of the odd things in all of this is that pagans who found male brothels frequented by husbands (when they weren't having it off with their household male slave or the new kid they spotted at the baths the other day) pretty unremarkable would still find the idea of gay marriage silly.

So maybe what I want is straight marriages to be more pagan!