Thursday, July 13, 2006

Gay Marriage Rights? How About Gay Writes!

In light of the recent New York State Supreme Court ruling prohibiting gay marriage in that fair state, not to mention the Republican Party’s apparent enthusiasm for banning a practice that has yet to exist, I have to say that I’m 100 percent behind this bigoted, homophobic effort.

Not because I think gay marriage is immoral or a threat to traditional marriage and the family unit. I’m not against it because I hate homosexuals or don’t think gays and lesbians deserve full and equal treatment under the law.

It’s because of writing. I’m against gay marriage in order to protect the institution of literature.

Because if gays got married, they would, like, have a better chance at domestic bliss. At happiness. And if they’re happy, that means all the great writers throughout history who happened to be gay would be less miserable and less likely to write great books.

Think about it. Take Walt Whitman, the perfect Everyman for his times. What if he’d settled down, married a man, and not been fixated on creating the American poetic idiom? He’d be baking cookies and working at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, that’s what! He’d still be there, goddamnit, writing stupid newspaper stories, and “Leaves of Grass” wouldn’t exist!

A threat to the institution of fiction

Or take the ancient Greeks. What if Plato had married Socrates, instead of publishing the Dialogues? They would have had a nice Athenian existence, dining on olive oil and feta, taking vacations on Crete and collecting Attic vases. Ditto for Aristophanes and all the other great Greek thinkers and writers. They’d be so happy, all domesticated and such, they’d have nothing to write about.

Too far in the past? How about Thomas Mann? You think that a happy dude who spent his weekends grilling kielbasa and drinking warm beer with his husband would write “Death in Venice,” the perfect distillation of sexual repression on the Lido? Don’t think so!

Face it — you can’t write great literature unless you’re goddamn miserable! You have to suffer! If I were gay, I wouldn’t want the security, happiness, and legal standing that marriage confers upon its adherents. No! I’d want to be denied basic rights to health care, parenthood, property, and the societal acceptance that I was “normal.” If I had all of those things, I wouldn’t write!

OK, you’re saying, Wait a Minute, Bookfraud! You’re married. You’ve got the dignity and legal rights of the betrothed. Sometimes you even say you’ve got a good marriage. And you write.

And hey! There’s plenty of people who are miserable and married, and even those who are gay, single, happy, and do write! You can suffer for your art and it may have nothing to do with your sexuality or marital status! Alright! You got me there.

(Irony-challenged, sit over there.)

Sure, you can bet your subscription to Martha Stewart Living that if Tony Kushner had been happily married, he wouldn’t have summoned the anger and depth of feeling needed to write “Angels in America.”

But of course, if gay marriage had been legal all the time, perhaps we might not have had an AIDS crisis in this country among gay men, and there wouldn’t have been “Angels in America” in the first place.

Actually, there are few issues that befuddle and anger me as much as the battle against gay marriage. That we have different classes of citizens (true as it is) makes me sick, that because of who you sleep with disqualifies from the benefits of what is supposed to be an egalitarian society.

What’s humorous (if not sickening) about the anti-gay-marriage homophobia is the idea that the “institution” of marriage is “under attack.” The "defense of marriage bill" and all that. Those of us fortunate to have been hitched a few years already realize we don’t need any help from gays and lesbians for our marriages to go careening off a cliff. We can handle that just fine ourselves.

If you’re married, I know, you don’t suddenly become happy. That’s why the strongest proponents of gay marriage are divorce lawyers! Think of the business they’re going to get!

Walt Whitman Mall - yes. Mrs. Walt Whitman - no.

Oh, I hope all of those groom-groom and bride-bride couples lining up in Massachusetts know what they’re in for. Turning even the most perfect relationship into marriage changes the rules of the game. Usually for the better, but it’s not the same as before. (Trust me on this one.)

But I’m still sticking to my original thesis: if you’re completely content, you’re probably not going to be a novelist, poet, or playwright. I don’t think you’re going to write if you were Prom Queen.

No gay joke intended.