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March 20, 2007

Garrison Keillor: Gay-Basher

I was as surprised as you. And yet in this column, titled "Stating the Obvious," he makes a good point. It's buried under all that gay-hatred, of course. But still there.

I grew up the child of a mixed-gender marriage that lasted until death parted them, and I could tell you about how good that is for children, and you could pay me whatever you think it's worth.

Back in the day, that was the standard arrangement. Everyone had a yard, a garage, a female mom, a male dad, and a refrigerator with leftover boiled potatoes in plastic dishes with snap-on lids. This was before caller ID, before credit cards, before pizza, for crying out loud. You could put me in a glass case at the history center and schoolchildren could press a button and ask me questions.

Monogamy put the parents in the background where they belong and we children were able to hold center stage. We didn't have to contend with troubled, angry parents demanding that life be richer and more rewarding for them. We blossomed and agonized and fussed over our outfits and learned how to go on a date and order pizza and do the twist and neck in the front seat of a car back before bucket seats when you could slide close together, and we started down the path toward begetting children while Mom and Dad stood like smiling, helpless mannequins in the background.

Nature is about continuation of the species -- in other words, children. Nature does not care about the emotional well-being of older people.

Under the old monogamous system, we didn't have the problem of apportioning Thanksgiving and Christmas among your mother and stepdad, your dad and his third wife, your mother-in-law and her boyfriend Hal, and your father-in-law and his boyfriend Chuck. Today, serial monogamy has stretched the extended family to the breaking point. A child can now grow up with eight or nine or 10 grandparents -- Gampa, Gammy, Goopa, Gumby, Papa, Poopsy, Goofy, Gaga and Chuck -- and need a program to keep track of the actors.

And now gay marriage will produce a whole new string of hyphenated relatives. In addition to the ex-stepson and ex-in-laws and your wife's first husband's second wife, there now will be Bruce and Kevin's in-laws and Bruce's ex, Mark, and Mark's current partner, and I suppose we'll get used to it.

The country has come to accept stereotypical gay men -- sardonic fellows with fussy hair who live in over-decorated apartments with a striped sofa and a small weird dog and who worship campy performers and go in for flamboyance now and then themselves. If they want to be accepted as couples and daddies, however, the flamboyance may have to be brought under control. Parents are supposed to stand in back and not wear chartreuse pants and black polka-dot shirts. That's for the kids. It's their show.

Which is what I keep saying. Andrew Sullivan and his ilk keep insisting that marriage is about "love," which demonstrates immediately they don't understand marriage, or rather are determined to redefine it.

It's not about love. The state has no special need to promote "love." Love being one of the greatest things in the world, it hardly needs state promotion. The product sells itself.

What the state -- and the species -- have an interest in is promoting the creation and maitenance of stable familes. Not love between adults, per se, but love between parent and children. And if the adults happen to love each other too, bonus -- because that's good for kids.

Andrew Sullivan doesn't really care about the true point of marriage. His conception of marriage is just Goin' Steady with a government certificate declaring that fact to the world.

For God's sake, he has a blog, if he needs to get the word out about his "fiance" (I'll believe that when I see it) he can just write about it every few days. Oh wait -- he does.


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posted by Ace at 10:04 PM

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