In the aftermath of our stunning defeat at the hands of religious bigots, Tom Ackerman has come up with an interesting proposal: Don’t recognize their marriages either. Ackerman says:
Yesterday I called a woman’s spouse her boyfriend.
She says, correcting me, “He’s my husband,”
“Oh,” I say, “I no longer recognize marriage.”
The impact is obvious. I tried it on a man who has been in a relationship for years,
“How’s your longtime companion, Jill?”
“She’s my wife!”
“Yeah, well, my beliefs don’t recognize marriage.”
Fun. And instant, eyebrow-raising recognition. Suddenly the majority gets to feel what the minority feels. In a moment they feel what it’s like to have their relationship downgraded, and to have a much taken-for-granted right called into question because of another’s beliefs.
I read the piece to John, and we liked it. We talked enthusiastically about putting it into practice.
We also talked about boycotting hetero weddings. “I’m not going to any more weddings in states without equal rights,” I said. John agreed.
One thing about that, though: No matter how sarcastic we are, no matter how strident we are in making our point, the bottom line is that they’re still the first-class citizens and we’re still the second-class citizens. They still have rights and we still don’t. It might be a way of making a point, and I haven’t ruled anything out, but I have my doubts about the enlightenment of bigots. I don’t think We’re people, too, you know is the kind of point we ought to have to make. It seems degrading to have to point that out.
So. I visited my parents last night. If you’re just tuning in, my parents are right-wing Christian Evangelicals, lifelong Republicans who have been drawn more and more deeply over the years into the most extreme wing of that party. Whenever I go to their house, Fox News is on the television — even though they consider Fox News “too liberal.” There are a lot of things my parents and I just can’t talk about. Apparently, my marriage is going to be one of them. I didn’t even get to the wedding; I started with what we’re going to do about our names.
“So what are you going to do?” asked my dad. “One of you puts on a suit and the other one puts on a dress and then you prance down the aisle together?”
I resisted the impulse to tell my father to kiss my ass. I resisted the impulse to insult him, or his marriage, back.
“I’m sorry you’re disappointed about having a gay son,” I said. “But making insulting remarks isn’t going to change that.”
I stayed longer than I intended, but when I left he was still pissed off. So was I, frankly. So what do I do? Denigrate my parents’ marriage? Boycott their 50th anniversary next year?
Meanwhile, John’s nephew is getting married this month. He’s a fine young man, and his fiancée is a lovely young woman.
He was crushed when a medical problem prevented him from shipping out to Iraq with his unit. “We’re supposed to be in this together. I’m supposed to be with them, and I’m not,” he told me. It wasn’t that he wanted to go to Iraq; it wasn’t support for the war or even patriotism that made him feel so disconsolate. It was a sense of brotherhood and mutual responsibility. I don’t have to approve of this war, or any war, to respect that.
His fiancée voted for Obama and is an outspoken critic of racism. That might not sound so brave in the 21st century, but bear in mind that this is the most Republican county in South Carolina. Racism is still socially acceptable here; it’s almost expected here.
John let me make the call. Are we serious about boycotting straight weddings? Are we going or not?
Yeah, we’re going. Of course we’re going.
I resent Christianity, and Christians, for the unrelenting campaign of bigotry, hate, discrimination and lies. I don’t fucking appreciate it all. I’d like to let them know how it feels.
But I don’t think most of them are ever going to get it. Invincible ignorance isn’t just a Christian doctrine, it’s a Christian goal, and one of the rare ideals they’re pretty successful in achieving. Most Christians are never going to see their way clear to doing unto others as they would done by — not when it comes to queers. Not in my lifetime. Fine.
Don’t get me wrong: I plan to keep of criticizing Abrahamic religion and all its ignorance, bigotry, stupidity and hate. I haven’t resolved to shut up.
But when it really comes down to it, we just don’t have it in us to do unto the Christians as they do unto us.