Sunday, May 18, 2008

erica jong: "fling" won't end marriage for gay couples

California's recent decision to overturn that state's ban on gay marriage has brought the issue back to the forefront of American politics whether we like it or not.

Wouldn't it be nice if people could simply recognize that it's none of their business? Marriage is supposed to be about love. But any way you slice it, there are still quite a few Americans who would deny their fellow citizens that chance at love, and they will undoubtedly let their loud voices be heard this election season in order to attempt an electoral divide like the one we saw in 2004.

Erica Jong wrote an article ["Hurrah for Gay Marriage"] on HuffingtonPost in defense of gay marriage. Here's an excerpt:

So hurrah for California and Massachusetts. Let's hope the anti-gay lunatic fringe eventually sees gay marriage as a blessing not a curse. It certainly promotes stability and family. And it's certainly good for kids.

We agree with much of what she writes in the rest of the article, but one paragraph stands out like a sore thumb and it just has to be addressed.

I've often found that gay people are better at marriage than straight people. They don't get all bent out of shape about sex for sex's sake. At least this is true for gay men. And they don't run to bust up a perfectly cozy union because one member of the couple -- or both -- has a fling. Some couples are faithful and some not. And they seem to practice this without the territoriality and hypocrisy of mixed-sex couples. Actually, they should be our role models in marriage. They take it far more seriously than straight people -- perhaps because it was forbidden for so long.

Okay, so let's get this straight. "Gay people are better at marriage than straight people." That sounds like an interesting argument, but it could have legs. A sociologist once told me that gay people make better parents because they can never accidentally have children; they have to work for it. But the kicker is still to come: "...they don't run to bust up a perfectly cozy union because one member of the couple -- or both -- has a fling."

Is she for real? Is she actually reinforcing gay stereotypes, especially one regarding promiscuity, in a marriage debate? Gay people won't get divorced over infidelity because they aren't monogamous by nature. That's what I'm getting from this. I appreciate the sentiment, but what started as a defense of same-sex marriage ended up as an offensive stereotype of the very people that the author is supporting.

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