Dear Queer Diary —
Should I get married?
I mean, now that the state of New York has passed the gay marriage bill, should my girlfriend and I get really and miraculously and legally married?
Or. Should I, as a queer, reclaim my right to legal ostracism, grab my lesbo luv-muffin, and take her underground with me to fight the state that gave us this soul-sucking, boilerplate “privilege” in the first place?
Oh Queer Diary, my inner being has split into two warring factions. Here they are now:
ME 1: For joy! How amazed and happy I am — I, a newly sanctified lesbian, can become, with tears of joy streaming down my cherub-cheeks, the lawfully wedded wife of a woman who shares my gender! Together, my fellow-wife and I can grow old, enjoying the 1,400 legal rights and fiscal benefits that this country has long afforded wedded heterosexuals, until one of us keels over and dies suddenly during a routine argument about whether to watch the Food Channel or ESPN. Oh what shall I wear to plight our troth? Does anyone know a good gay wedding planner?
ME 2: You fucking idiot.
ME 1: Pardon? Have we met?
ME 2: Governor Cuomo spent the year cutting funds for Medicaid, public schools, and legal services. He forced wage and benefit concessions from the state’s largest public employee union, and next year he plans to curb public pensions. Can’t you see Cuomo shepherded this gay marriage bill through the legislature because he needed something to make him look like a liberal?
ME 1: So what? We’re legal — us, whose love now dares speak its name! The name being, of course, Gay Marriage!
ME 2: That’s not a name; that’s a brand.
ME 1: A brand I can trust! Like Kleenex and . . . and . . . Electrolux!
ME 2: Which proves that this thing blows and sucks. Read the story in the June 25 New York Times: Governor Cuomo, sick of “rampant infighting and disorganization” in the groups that had been pushing gay marriage for years, called gay activists together last March, merged them into a single coalition, hired an outside consultant, and demanded “meticulous, top-down coordination.”
ME 1: Oh no. All that beautiful infighting, destroyed. But don’t you think it was worth it?
ME 2: Cuomo also met with a “group of super-rich Republican donors” — one of whom, a billionaire, has a gay son. These donors wrote six-figure checks to the gay marriage lobby, amounting to over $1,000,000.
ME 1: So the gay movement married for money — big deal. So the bill passed because of Cuomo’s “relentlessly strategic mind.” I read that story, too, you know. I also read the Times on July 16: “Gay-Rights Group Gave Cuomo $60,000 as He Pushed Marriage Bill.”
ME 2: I hate you. Why did you let me go on like that?
ME 1: We’re the same person, remember? I just wanted to savor one joyous moment of feeling society’s validation and acceptance without you bringing me down.
ME 2: Now I know where I get my extremely low self-esteem.
ME 1: Well cheer up, because I’m back to my usual feelings of despair and alienation.
ME 2: Good. Now we can start to bond with the people we’re alienated from. Like Black people, Brown people, sick people, union workers, schoolchildren: basically, low-income people. This year, none of them got lucky like gay people.
ME 1: That’s not true. It was very nice of Governor Cuomo to give major tax breaks to rich people.
ME 2: Fine. You go right ahead picking out your silver pattern, nimrod, so you won’t notice that Cuomo’s about to lift the ban on hydraulic fracturing that pollutes drinking water by blasting carcinogenic chemicals into —
ME 1: Hydraulic whaah? You mean fracking? Hey, I feel abused by your shame-based barrage of politically correct factoids. Why can’t you think of positive ways to resolve our differences? Like holding consciousness-raising gay wedding ceremonies at scenic upstate fracking sites!
ME 2: I love how you smash our pain into a sarcastic ball of self-involved retort.
ME 1: Whimsy helps me shoulder the burden of white middle-class privilege.
ME 2: Was that sarcastic, too?
ME 1: I don’t know. I only know I want world peace.
ME 2: I also love it when you don’t know. I guess, beneath our torment and confusion, I feel an undying self-love for you. I forgive you. Marry me.
ME 1: I can’t. We have a girlfriend.
ME 2: OK, let’s marry her. Think of the loot — we’ll get toasters — microwaves — contour sheets! Life is good!
ME 1: But you can get those at a commitment ceremony.
ME 2: OK, then let’s just have a big party —
ME 1: Yeah! And invite the low-income people! We can all marry each other! Toasters — microwaves — contour sheets for everyone! YAY!
ME 2: Where are we going to get the money for all that?
ME 1: We’ll also invite our friend Andrew Cuomo. We’ll remind him we’re gay, see? He should be able to figure something out . . .
Susie Day is a writer.