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More Musings about Buildings and Food

by anna at 07:18 PM on November 20, 2003

The US Congress is batting around the idea of a constitutional amendment to supersede state laws permitting gay marriages. Just like in that old Seinfeld episode they'll point out that there's nothing wrong with being gay and then proceed to say something derogatory or hurtful to those who choose that lifestyle. They'll also claim to be rushing to the defense of Holy Matrimony. This argument assumes matrimony needs defending. I've been married 15 years and I'm hear to tell you that if every gay alive tied the knot today it wouldn't threaten my or any other marriage one iota. It's homophobic bullshit, plain and simple.

Furthermore, there are myriad arguments in favor of permitting if not encouraging this practice. Gays want access to partners' health insurance, tax breaks and whatnot. But much of that is a chimera. Most gays hold separate jobs i.e. there aren't many stay-at-home gays. And if there were, most large companies already extend health coverage to "domestic partners." As for tax breaks, I'm always hearing about the so-called "marriage penalty." Still, there's no reason to deny anyone these supposed benefits. (But might I suggest that we come up with a better term than "domestic partner" or "significant other." God I hate those designations.)

Society benefits from gay monogamy by way of less AIDS transmission and a higher likelihood that gays will pool their resources to purchase homes. Most of the US tax code is designed to promote home ownership. And certainly we don't want a return to 80s-style bathhouse bacchanals. Case closed.

But as usual with me, there's a rub. Above you'll find a perfectly logical case made for my position. I'm good that way. A moralist could try to debate me and I'd welcome the opportunity to shred his half-baked reasoning. Yet our gut reaction to visceral stimuli is a different animal altogether. Show me a death penalty proponent who doesn't recoil at the images on botched execution sites and I'll show you a callous a-hole.

What I'm getting at is this: I am not comfortable with public displays of gay affection. It doesn't revolt me, that's way too strong a term. I just feel awkward viewing it. I just wish they wouldn't do it in front of me and honestly, I don't know why. Then again, I myself don't care for PDAs of any sort. I don't like it when hetero couples progress beyond a peck and a hug in my view either. Even the Madonna/Britney lip-lock left me cold, wondering if the Material Hag's breath stunk. As a Swede, I guess I'm a "get a room" kind of guy.

When you take it a step further, it gets even trickier. Who hasn't walked in on a couple going at it? Sure it's embarrassing, but there's an element of voyeuristic fun there too (unless it's your parents---EW!) I myself have never chanced across a gay couple in the act, male or female, but I doubt I'd like it. It's a crying shame we can't force our reactions to certain sights conform to what we know is true---that this is just a natural expression of their love (unless it's Michael Jackson-style action---yuk!)

I realize that scads of guys would disagree when it comes to lipstick lesbians playing Bedroom Twister. Hell, for all I know gals relish seeing guys have at one another.


comments (32)

Well, most of the people who are against gay marriage feel that way for religious reasons. I'm not a religious person myself, but I think it is really hypocritical to ignore this fact. I mean, when someone walks onto a bus in Jerusalem strapping a bomb or flies a plane into a skyscrapper, the same people who are pro-gay marriage are willing to say we should try to understand where these people are coming from. When someone says "Hey, gay people can do whatever the hell they want in the bedroom, but we shouldn't sanction their actions by allowing them to be married," somehow that is evil and biggoted. The same way I believe that, for example, Palestine should be given its own state if they stop all the murder, the majority of people in this country (who belong to churches that believe homosexuality is against god) shouldn't be forced to accept that lifestyle as long as they agree not go around killing people.

by mg at November 21, 2003 8:45 AM

How do you know that seeing breeders bang each other doesnít equally turn off gay people? I don't see that part of your topic as being "tricky".

Anyway, Iím neither for nor against gay marriage. Iíve said this before; I donít think anyone, gay or straight, needs the governmentís permission to marry who they want.

by MrBlank at November 21, 2003 9:41 AM

I think, if two people love each other, then who are we to say they can't be married whether they are gay or not. I'm not revolted by seeing gay men display their affection in public but I have found it does make me a bit nervous. I guess you don't really see it that much so it's something different and people are usually scared of or don't understand things that aren't familiar to them. I have seen girls go at it and that didn't bother me at all but I believe that watching two men would freak me out right or wrong.

by Ezy at November 21, 2003 11:22 AM

it's well past ridiculous to prevent any two people from getting married. doing so would be admitting that you don't consider them to be humans.

and people's reaction to gay/straight/bi pda is pretty much knee-jerk, and not to be explained. peronally, i tend to cringe when anyone makes it past first base on the street.

there was this one time i was at a bar though, and drinking at the window seat with my friend, just looking out. across the street, two really sloppy twenty-somethings, a drunk couple, were going at it furiously while trying to hail a cab. his fists were in the front of her skirt, moving around. her's were in his pants, jostling. it was such a spectacle, that the bouncer heard us howling, and came in to sit with us and comment. eventually the girl got down on her knees, on the street, and starting fussing with the guy's zipper. we were screaming! the only thing that ended up coming was the taxi...

by lajo at November 21, 2003 1:37 PM

;-) Ahhhhhh, street head. Hard to beat.

by Ezy at November 21, 2003 2:33 PM

yeah, it's like a sore peter.

by lajo at November 21, 2003 2:44 PM

That is absolutely hilarious Lajo. I've done some nutty things on cab rides home but that's beautiful. Pure quality entertainment.

by Ezy at November 21, 2003 3:54 PM

Amen, I wouldn't have minded that at all.

Good points all, but I especially like the one about gay people being turned off by breeders going at it. Never thought about that, or heard the term "breeders."

Any input on Mr. B's point from gay audience members?

Speaking of which, isn't it odd how we have this new contingent of visitors? It's like what Eff said, an elephant in the room.

by anna at November 21, 2003 6:30 PM

for what it's worth, and from what little i know....gay friends who have straight friends are usually fine with straight pda. but gay aquaintances who are entirely immersed in gay culture and are as isolated as possible from the straight world, often don't.

by lajo at November 21, 2003 7:19 PM

I have to agree with Anna that I don't particularly like pda by anyone anywhere. However, I am more turned off by a hetero couple going at it on the streets than by a gay couple (male or female). In a society where gays are frequently bashed (literally and figuratively), it takes some guts to shove your tongue down someone of the same sex's throat in public. I almost feel like picking up some pom-poms and cheering them on. But then I remember that I don't like pda by anyone anywhere. And so I smile on the inside and walk on.

by leaffin at November 21, 2003 8:23 PM

so mr. blank...if nobody needs the government's approval to wed, you're pro brother/sister brother/brother sister/sister child/parent relationships? i know it's kind of a silly argument, but hey, some people actually need laws to tell them it's not a good idea. actually, the gay sibling relationships wouldn't have the same problem as the hetero ones...they don't combine and pass on genes that lead to the stuff that made incest a bad idea in the first place. innnnnnteresting...

by JC at November 21, 2003 8:50 PM

I think the whole shoving of tongues down throats thing originated with the French; hence the term French kissing. But I swear no one ever did that to me until I was in my late twenties. It's very confusing when you don't know which party is supposed to shove and which is supposed to accept.

And to expand on what JC said, what about farm animals? I've heard that ranchers take sheep out to the edge of a cliff to ensure maximum recoil.

by anna at November 22, 2003 9:15 AM

I think the whole shoving of tongues down throats thing originated with the French; hence the term French kissing. But I swear no one ever did that to me until I was in my late twenties. It's very confusing when you don't know which party is supposed to shove and which is supposed to accept.

And to expand on what JC said, what about farm animals? I've heard that ranchers take sheep out to the edge of a cliff to ensure maximum recoil.

by anna at November 22, 2003 9:16 AM

Ah, go Leaf. That's exactly what I would have said had I gotten to it first. And no, the fact that Leaffin and I are good friends has nothing to do with it. I've considered carrying around pom-poms just for that reason....

But as far as gay input on B's comment... for me personally, it kind of depends on who and the level of the PDA. It makes me incredibly cranky, and grossed out to a point, to be at a bar and see two breeders gettin' it on (it happens waaaaaaay too often here in Rome.) Holding hands, adorable. Little kisses, great. Slip some tongue anywhere other than during tearful goodbyes (or exuberant welcome-homes) in an airport, and that's crossin' the line, buddy. Penis+vagina, Penis+penis, vagina+vagina, etc. etc. irrelevant: same holds in my mind for all.

I can't help but think back to a cute picture I saw once. It was entitled "Work Kiss" and it was two twentysomethings kissing each other goodbye as one, in a suit, headed off to work, and the other, in a sweatshirt and jeans, was probably walking him to work. It was a chaste, closed-mouth kiss... and yet the fact that it was two boys kissing would have inspired anything from head turns to verbal abuse to worse. Honestly now. And as amusing a lajo's comment is, you can bet yer buttons that had that been a gay couple pretty much anywhere (except maybe the Village) the bouncer wouldn't have broken out the popcorn.

As far as the marriage issue goes, there's this: there are scores of rights that go along with marriage that are not covered in most other types of marriage-esque legal agreements. We've all heard the stories of partners being turned away from their dying partner's bedside because they aren't technically considered a spouse or family. And you know what? Those stories are 100% true.

Health insurance is another topic that I'm going to have to disagree with you on. It's only the most progressive companies that will extend health coverage to domestic partners of the same gender; many will extend it to domestic partners of opposite genders. And it is completely up to the company; there are no legal recourses.

Oh, and one last thing: not to be a hata, Anna, but you might want to retract that statement about lowering AIDS transmission; last time I checked the stats, straight women were far and above in the highest category of transmitting to and contracting HIV. As a matter of fact, it's an extremely, extremely small percentage of the gay population that will even consider unsafe sex in this day and age.

by snaggle at November 22, 2003 7:19 PM

Sheesh. How come it's always me who writes novels in comments? Buh. I could have posted my own entry in response, but nooooo... apparently not.

by snaggle at November 22, 2003 7:21 PM

Thanks for the input Snaggle. Consider it retracted. I am remiss when it comes to fact-checking. It's like what the old fool Ronald Reagan once said: "Facts are silly things."

Seems like we're all pretty much in agreement when it comes to wanton PDAs. Which begs the question of why Lajo's example is the exception to the rule. The knees thing maybe?

by anna at November 23, 2003 8:24 AM

a sunday morning comment...

i think you're right snaggle, about my story being flipped to inclulde two men. although, it still could have happened here in sf. i've seen guy on guy, open-zipper handjobs in the street before.

also, anna...you're title's my fave in the talking heads canon.

by lajo at November 23, 2003 12:53 PM

oh, also....the story i shared may be an exception to the rule because, aside from perhaps hardcore womyn-only lesbians (and even then...maybe), secretly, nobody minds seeing two drunken slobs trying to enact a blowjob in traffic for show.

especially while you're out drinking and already looking for a spectacle.

by lajo at November 23, 2003 12:59 PM

two sunday morni....

THREE sunday morning comments !!!

by lajo at November 23, 2003 1:00 PM

Let me just say how much I hate that term "womyn," when it's used without irony, that is. It's right up there with "significant other." Oh, give it to me my significant other! Your rod is so...sizable.

by anna at November 23, 2003 3:22 PM

For the record, I definitely would mind seeing two drunken slobs trying to enact a blowjob on the streets. I think I would be repulsed.

by Leaffin at November 23, 2003 3:56 PM

JC, Iím not sure how to answer your question. If I were to begin to back up my argument with such a question, I would start with the reasoning that brothers and sisters canít get married because they are already family Ė but Iím not going to develop my opinions on marriage based on what the lowest common denominator might do.

by MrBlank at November 23, 2003 5:06 PM

I do realize that folks against gay marriage can dismiss it just as I dismiss incest marriage. Iím not interested in how others see marriage. It wonít affect what I do. Some look for the governmentís approval, some look for Godís approval and others donít need anyone elseís approval but their own. Iím one of the latter. If I find a partner, and we want to make a life-long commitment to each other, weíre going to do it. I donít give a flying fuck what anyone else thinks. All that other stuff like benefits and tax breaks are just stuffing. Marriage laws need to go like anti-sodomy laws did.

PS: I have to tell someone else about this. I have an example of how ignorant people are about gay relationships Ė jeeze, it ainít rocket science! A guy I work with told me that he understood why we shouldnít allow gay marriage. ďItís because homosexuals arenít monogamous.Ē I told him to shut up and reminded him that straight people are just as slutty as anyone else. That pissed me off so much, especially since we worked under an assistant director who has been in a committed relationship with another man for over twenty years.

by MrBlank at November 23, 2003 5:44 PM

I don't think that people who are pro-gay marriage generally mind whether the US government approves of their lifestyles. I think it's more that they (or we, since that includes me) wish the government would stop saying that an act which is harmless to any two consenting adults is not allowed. This contradicts the doctrine of separation between church and state. The government is supposed to treat all belief systems equally.

I saw this troubling quote in a Christian Science Monitor article from one Richard McCord who is part of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops: "Marriage is such a foundational social institution, instituted by God, and by its nature the union of a man and a woman." Sure, *Catholic* marriage is-- and *Christian* marriages are-- instituted by "God", and are supposedly between men and women, but what about *secular* marriages? I don't need a priest to marry me. I don't believe that the Christian god instituted marriages, because I don't believe the Christian god exists. But I can still get married, because marriage in this context is not a religious matter. This is why you are allowed to get married at the courthouse. Allowing heterosexual pagans, Wiccans, swingers and Muslims, for example, to get married but not allowing homosexuals to do so is a double standard.

by jean at November 24, 2003 4:59 AM

I had hoped this post might generate this thoughtful sort of discource. What you see in mainstream publications is all so much knee-jerk preaching to the choir that it is rendered essentially meaningless.

by anna at November 24, 2003 7:55 AM


I am going out on my own limb to say that I don't really mind seeing happy couples making out. No matter the gender of the parties. Now, I don't want to see, like, EVERYTHING, but some sloppy kissing and stuff... that heady oblivion... good for them. And, I'm not kidding, I like it even when I am not dating a hot guy that Lajoie said I should call "Sean" and not "Steve."

Funny how we mind PDA but enjoy steamy sex scenes. I guess the level of attractiveness of your average sex scene participant vs. your average maker-outer-on-the-street might have something to do with it.

by Linz at November 24, 2003 4:33 PM

linz, if that's your segue into using the name 'sean' for your new beau instead of 'steve' (fraternity?), then take it.

no offense to all you steves out there but come on. your name IS stupid. like for instance, what am i supposed to call you if your name is spelled 'stephen'? and also, i just don't like it.

by lajo at November 24, 2003 5:34 PM

Well, SF is a whole 'nother ballgame. So different, in fact, that you can't even tell who the pitchers and who the catchers are. *ba-dum-CHING* (note: that was only funny if you're up on your gay terminology. And even then, only moderately funny. Okay, not at all.)

Hm. If I'd had many to drink, that could be an amusing scene, granted.

by snaggle at November 25, 2003 1:51 PM

i likened it to a circus, where maybe you have a bearded lady going down on an elephant. and they were drunk. it's like sweeps week programming. i challenge anyone not to watch.

you're right about sf, snaggle. it's soo different in fact, that it's played a certain fuzzbuster to my once stout gaydar. i don't know what's what anymore.

rule of thumb....early on, check for dick.

by lajo at November 25, 2003 8:16 PM

How, praytell, does one tactfully check for dick?

by anna at November 27, 2003 8:05 AM


Good article on the subject.

by MrBlank at December 2, 2003 4:38 PM

God says Gays shouldnt have sex. I didnt make this stuff up, so daont blame me. Its not so much the matrimony but the holy part. Of course, we are rather liberale by letting them live.

by CR1138 at May 4, 2006 1:45 PM

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