Saturday, May 09, 2009

gay marriage, welcome to the vomitorium

At first glance the whole subject seems too ridiculous to entertain. I don't think any of the gay men I know really want to be married. They want a gaudy spectacle of a wedding. They want attention but I doubt that they have any concept of what marriage is supposed to be. I say supposed to be because normal people have damaged the institution of marriage and damaged it severely. It's like taking a piece of fine linen and tearing it to shreds and then objecting when your kid puts his dirty hands on it.

Marriage was mocked and shredded long ago. And you know who did it? Your parents and their parents. When Elizabeth Taylor was going from man to man people still flocked to her movies. When Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner humiliated his wife in public, people idolized Frank and couldn't get enough of Ava. And don't forget your part: you love reading People and US magazine to see what Brad and Angie are up to, don't you?

We will never know for sure if Cardinal Cushing knew the extent of JFKs adultery but we do know years later when Jackie was about to marry the divorced Aristotle Onassis when people asked Cushing what he thought he stated that people should practice charity and leave Jackie alone. Later when Jackie died she was given a Catholic funeral, anyone who mentioned that at the time of her death she had been living with a married man was branded a gauche hater.
Decades earlier, Archbishop Sheen told Joe DiMaggio to his face that his "marriage" to Marilyn Monroe was wrong, but he was only the only churchman who did. It may not seem like much now but millions of Catholics and non Catholics were watching and listening and making conclusions.

Once, a divorce or open adultery was the end of a Protestant minister's career. No more. In the 1950s, the Reverend Adam Clayton Powell dumped his wife to marry his lover. Most people in the church were shocked but didn't stop attending Abyssinian Baptist Church. Joel Osteen's father was a divorced man but that didn't faze his congregants. He married again and built up a powerful ministry that spawned the career of Joel. Richard Roberts, son of Oral, divorced his wife and most people in the church didn't even flinch, at least not in public where it counted. Some people excuse the ministers by saying that it's hard being a preacher's wife (it is) or that the wife wasn't fit to be a preacher's wife and that the divorce was her fault. Other's use the King David excuse.

In the American Catholic church annulments are handed out like cookies at a girl scout meeting. People who've been married for decades with teen aged or adult children have gotten annulments. Are you telling me that ALL of these annulled marriages REALLY were invalid? Now, yes, of course, there are pitiful cases where an annulment is the only right thing to do : A woman who finds that she's married to a secretly gay man was lied to from the beginning. Her marriage was not valid. She did not have all the facts before the wedding. A man who finds that his wife has no intention of having children and didn't tell him was duped into a false marriage. I know of one woman who married a man who suffered from severe depression. His family was relieved when he married. Did anyone tell the wife about his condition? I don't know but if no-one did she has a right to an annulment one day. Those are sad cases but they aren't common. They aren't enough to fuel the annulment machine we seem to have today. And let's not forget the divorced and remarried Catholics who haven't gone the annulment route have been known to present themselves for Communion.

To a gay man, who is the victim of parents who probably didn't have the marriage they should've had or who fell prey to a horrible situation early in his development it must seem like rank hypocrisy that we who have played marriage so fast and loose should turn our noses up at him for trying to play house. I could argue with him pointing out that he's not right in the head (and he is not) but he could argue back that the society that produced him is sicker. I expect gay marriage to be the law of the land within five years. Of course, if it's true that as some economists are predicting, that the entire US economy is going to collapse, gay marriage will collapse with it. A rich fat man can afford to be decadent. He can afford to ignore gay marriage.As long as his wife's gay friends don't insinuate themselves into his children's lives, he'll shrug his shoulders about the whole thing. A man who's rioting in the streets for food or who hasn't worked in over a year will not look kindly on the frivolous or the ridiculous. After the binge comes the hangover. After the bacchanal somebody is left cleaning up the vomitorium.