Gays Against Adam and Steve

Jonathan Soroff explains why some gays, including him, are against same-sex marriage.

It seems like every time I see certain family members—my niece and father, for instance— they ask me when I’m going to marry Sam, the man I’ve been with for five and a half years. Sam’s father is one of the worst offenders. He and I are literally never together alone without him saying (as if there were a direct correlation between the two), “Jonathan, when are you and Sam going to get married? I think you two should have children.” I put a temporary kibosh on this one day at lunch, when I answered, “Paul, I’ve been trying to impregnate your son on a regular basis for a couple of years now, and you know what? So far, nothing!” This silenced him for about six months.


Living in Massachusetts, where gay marriage is legal, this is one of the hazards of being gay. Everyone expects you to be pro-gay marriage, and I can’t say that I am.

Don’t get me wrong. I think Sam should have inheritance/pension/social security rights, be my healthcare proxy, get the tax breaks, be eligible for citizenship, etc., etc., exactly like heterosexual married couples. What I’m against is the use of the word “marriage,” and I think we would have achieved equal rights by now, on a national level, if so much breath hadn’t been wasted and the right-wing gotten its knickers in a twist over the nomenclature.

I’d go so far as to say that “gay marriage” (not even as an issue but as a matter of semantics) helped cost John Kerry the presidential election that brought us for more years of squandered opportunity and global goodwill, along with gross mismanagement, that characterized the Bush administration. So why do they insist on calling it marriage? 

It’s demonstrably not the same thing as a marriage between a man and a woman. It’s two guys or two girls, and no matter how much Mendelssohn and matching white outfits you dress it up in, the religious and social significance of a gay wedding ceremony simply isn’t the same. We’re not going to procreate as a couple (until science catches up), and while the desire to demonstrate commitment might be laudable, the religious traditions that have accommodated same-sex couples have had to do some fairly major contortions to do so (which is probably healthy for them but neither here nor there). So the promise part is nice. Otherwise, “gay marriage” is beside the point. And for precisely that reason, I find it cringe-worthy to watch gay couples aping the rituals of a heterosexual wedding ceremony.

Which brings me to the saddest story I know about the legalization of gay marriage. A prominent gay couple who had been together for many years and were raising two sons were expected to be among the first to throw a lavish wedding when marriage became legal in Massachusetts. When the invitations weren’t forthcoming, I asked one of them why, and he said, “Fuck that. We’ve already spent a fortune on lawyer’s fees to be able to have the same thing.”


That’s where the true injustice lies. Gay people (even in states with gay marriage, if they’re dealing with a federal matter) have to shell out big bucks for something a drunk straight couple can pay an Elvis impersonator fifty bucks to do in Vegas. Wouldn’t it make more sense to concentrate on that, instead of what to call it?

We could call it a “floogle,” or any other word you’d care to make up. The argument that this would create a ”separate but equal” scenario is specious; simply make the legal wording exactly the same as civil marriage, and who really cares?

In short, I understand the sentiment, and I appreciate the desire for an acknowledgement that my relationship is the equal of any other. But Sam and I don’t even know what to call each other. “Boyfriend” sounds trite. “Partner” sounds like a business arrangement. Significant other, better half, lover, all unwieldy or awkward. Out of frustration and facetiousness, I usually refer to him as “my de facto husband-type-person.”

So if we don’t know what to call each other, why harp on what to call the relationship? We know what we mean to each other. We both want what the world grants straight couples after they exchange vows. And someday we’ll commemorate our commitment somehow, which will probably involve a fairly major party. But if it wasn’t called “marriage,” neither of us would care, and for the gay people who do, you’d probably get what you want sooner if you weren’t so hung up on that one word.

Photo Katie Tegtmeyer/Flickr


  1. boy people on here are gullible. I seriously doubt John dude isnt even gay. Christian rightwingers are chronic liars.

  2. Society Voice~This is the same hate that cause wars and religion ,the gender of skin color, the complexion of your pigment ..the same fight that led out to walk-out and sit-in’s it’s human rights for everyone there is no difference live on and be your self guys..this world is so hateful people rather comment suicide than be who they are….i am not perfect no one is..but guys we all are humans we all have feelings we all love…so if a woman and men walk around with rings on there fingers why so harsh to a men and men or woman and woman walking around with rings on there fingers…i’m just saying strip away all the negative shit! it’s time to stand up and speak…if they don’t wanna here us..fuck them well make them listen!!!!!

  3. Lately this while gay marriage thing has been quite unsettling for me. I am not gay, first off. People urge my boyfriend and I to get married for reasons such as money, benefits, and personal religious views, which to me is no reason to get married in the first place. Unless somehow those religious view were so fit ours. But reading your article is was an interesting thing. But I wasn’t sure if you were saying your opposed because the word marriage. Sorry I’m a bit of a dits. And I had one more question, even against the same sex marriage, would you vote for it so people who made the decision to get married would have the right to do so? Why or why not? I am certainly not one to hate no matter the answer. I am just trying to learn about this very sensitive topic. Every opinion holds value. And I am very eager to hear.

    • I am against gay marriage for similar reasons. Call all marriage unions with these “unions” granting all legal rights in all states, then have religious cermonies where us religious people can choose not to marry gay people that want to be married in accordance with doctrine and conscience with them granting no extra rights. This bull about seperate being inherently unequal is nonsense and has no legal basis as changes can be affected in line with what I said, it is in fact all about semantics and forcing people to give up their religious views so that can trash religion. If it where about getting the same rights as straight couples more folk would agree with this brave author but the ones in favour of calling it marriage are so entrenched that they never reflect on what exaclty equality means and what they are trying to achieve and the rights of others. In uk we have civil partnerships yet they demand marriage when not one extra right would be granted, its about the extremist front taking aim at institutions that once, wrongly, supported homosexuality being illegal, its all about revenge or hurting people.

  4. Joe Schmoe says:

    If you don’t call it “marriage,” it will fall short in some way, and perhaps in a way that we can’t predict. It was decided a long time ago that “separate is inherently unequal.” This applies to marriage as much as it applies to the original context in which it was uttered.

    The most obvious flaw is portability. Even if DOMA is dead, another state will say that they don’t have to recognize something other than marriage as having any legal bearing. You can’t force a state to recognize an entire category that is not part of that state’s law (all states have “marriage”).

  5. So, are you saying you’d be pro Civil Unions?

  6. Thank you, Ben, for one of the most articulate and reasoned replies to this. I don’t disagree with you. Just arguing a point, and yes, as an older-than-you gay man, I miss the lawlessness of gay life back in the day (but AIDS did more to scotch that than the prospect of marriage). Regardless, you’re a lawyer, as are others who have replied, and not a single one of you has adequately explained to me why the law can not be rewritten so that all couples joined legally in whatever you want to call it have the exact same rights as married heterosexuals do now, both state-by-state and on the federal level. I understand you pick your battles, and that’s the most difficult, but who said life was easy?

  7. Work is getting in the way of my putting together a more thorough response to your piece, but the words of a 27 year old reader of The Daily Beast seem to be a good start:

    Other bullet points: (a) marriage, at least in America, is primarily a civil institution, not a religious one; (b) given the record, procreation is silly gatekeeper for marriage; (c) the politics are complex, but the civil union/marriage distinction makes only a marginal difference in terms of the palatability of gay unions in most places (the true right wingers won’t give you that either), and it will only further complicate the issue down the road as we move toward the repeal of DOMA (your state-sanctioned civil union won’t get you federal rights even after repeal — it would take even further, perhaps more controversial federal legislation, to get you there); and lastly (d) I take no issue with your and other’s distaste for marriage, it’s not for everyone, but it terms of achieving full civil equality it is the most straightforward, effective and (small c) conservative way of getting us there.

    • Thank you, Ben, for one of the most articulate and reasoned replies to this. I don’t disagree with you. Just arguing a point, and yes, as an older-than-you gay man, I also value the lawlessness of gay life back in the day. But you’re a lawyer, as are so many of the people who have replied, and not a single one of you has adequately explained why the law can not be rewritten so that all couples joined legally in whatever you want to call it can’t have the exact same rights and responsibilities as married heterosexuals.

  8. I’ve often wondered why, if there is a separation of church and state, it is even called a “marriage license?” It should be a “civil union license” across the board. For all, woman and man, man and man, woman and woman, 2 people could be the requirement. The marriage part is traditionally what happens in the religious arena/church. That might also help the whole scenario, as well as streamline some of the legal aspects, that “mythago” points out.

    Jonathan, I always enjoy reading your work in The Improper. You’re a great writer.

  9. The only thing I take from this piece is that the writer is very likely over 50 years old.

    It seems to be the ‘cut-off’ line on the marriage issue. For gays and straights alike. (Of course, there are exceptions.)

    The writer seems very much to have internalized the notions of his day ~ that gay citizens are unequal human beings and undeserving of every civil right every other citizen is simply by virtue of birth.

    It’s kind of sad that the writer does not consider himself inherently equal. Because that is the only revelation in this piece.

    • It’s remarkable how carelessly people read things and then incorporate their pre-digested, firmly held beliefs into their interpretations of what they read. I’m not 50 (although I’m close) and I certainly don’t fall into any “cut-off line” on any issue. I have always been an independent thinker, and I have been openly gay since I was in high school (which in the 80s, was a much bigger deal than it is now). I internalized nothing but the love and acceptance shown to me by my friends and family, and nothing in what I wrote indicates that I consider homosexuality inferior to heterosexuality. In fact, I’m conceited enough that I wholeheartedly consider myself inherently BETTER than 99.9999999999% of humanity. So where this “revelation” comes from is a mystery.

      • Belinda B says:

        Awesome Jonathon!

      • You go, John. You got your head on straight, and I love your ability to be a TRUE QUEER; standing out and not conforming to the hetero world. I love your ability to realize your relationship is more than just calling your lover your husband. I respect that.

    • A Gay Guy says:

      Yeah, I read an article written by a gay guy that lays out very interesting points on homosexuals against same-sex marriage. , I think gays for gay marriage just tend to SPEAK the loudest!!!!

  10. Joan in Boston says:

    I am a lesbian, legally married in Massachusetts. Separate is not equal! People uncomfortable with the notion of gays and lesbians being married need to get over it. We did not constrain civil rights for African Americans because some were uncomfortable with it. And as far as the inability of gays or lesbians to procreate, we do not require heterosexual couples to prove fertility before marriage, do we? The author of this story has every right to marry or not but he does not have the right to make that decision for other GLBT couples who want marriage and are fighting for that right.

  11. I am afraid that if gay “marriage” becomes legal, gays with my lifestyle choice (fucking and sucking anything that moves… with a cock, that is) will be even more marginalized. I would hate to see society have yet another reason to try to change us. “Why can’t you settle down like Adam and Steve. You know it is legal now!” I know, I know. I hear you say: “They don’t say that about straight men, so why do you think they will say that about you?” Seriously, There aren’t that many straight men of my age (57) out looking for the SAME KIND of casual encounters with women as I go out to look for with men. I am absolutely certain of it. Heterosexual women on average do not like to be treated like pieces of meat. I do. And I like to treat my partners like pieces of me. Often friendships evolve, but that is secondary. I don’t want to be thought of as “one of those gays” because from my experience we are not that small a minority within the community, we are just the ones who sit on the sidelines and let the elites, the log cabin republicans and their friends the progressives do all the sloganeering. I am sick of it. Don’t force me into a category I don’t belong to. I don’t want to be legally marriageable. But I guess it’s more important that Adam and Steve get their papers in order so they can fight over their adopted Chinese baby that neither of them really wanted in the first place when they inevitably divorce…

  12. mythago says:

    All Soroff has managed to explain is that he really doesn’t understand how laws work.

    Words have meaning. When a law says that it applies to a spouse, or to married people, that’s what it means. It doesn’t apply to floogles. And no, you can’t simply wave a magic wand and say “Every law in the entire country that says ‘spouse’ or ‘marriage’ now also include floogles”; it doesn’t work that way. How would the federal government assert the right to change a state’s laws if it didn’t want to? What if a particular law was absolutely meant to apply to a male/female couple – can we really just say it applies to floogles too?

    Soroff can’t have it both ways. If the word ‘marriage’ is such a no-biggie, then why are bigots fighting so hard to keep us away from it? If it is a big deal, then why should we give it up?

    I really don’t see this article as much more than the rantings of a privileged, clueless man who wants his family off his back and thinks it’s daring and shocking to be anti-SSM.

  13. Carolyn in the Ozarks says:

    Mr. Soroff, there isn’t presently another word to describe the legal rights a heterosexual couple has when they are “married.” Your arguments against marriage seem to be directed at every OTHER aspect that goes along with marriage, whether between heterosexuals or any one else. Unfortunately, a gay couple does have to pay big bucks to have attorneys “insure” their civil rights – and those rights can still fail to be upheld in states which do not recognize the union. In a society where 60% of heterosexual marriages end in divorce, I doubt that society is so hung up on the word “marriage” as you suggest.

  14. First of all, the term “gay marriage” is a misnomer. There is no such thing as “gay marriage.” Gay couples in Canada who are married are not “gay married”; they are married. Secondly, there is no rational reason to exclude gay couples from civil marriage. Go through the arguments one by one; none stands up. Marriage has evolved considerably over the years, and including gay couples in marriage is a natural evolution. Not that every gay couple will want to marry (I live in Vermont, have been partnered with a man for 20 years, and we have, thus far, chosen not to marry), but every gay couple should have the same opportunity to marry (or not) that straight couples have. Marriage equality does not infringe on religious liberty. Religions, on the other hand, continue to try to impose their beliefs on a civil institution. Sorry, I respect those who disapprove of the institution of marriage altogether, but I see no legitimate reason for anyone to disapprove only of marriage that involves gay couples.

  15. This is nonsense. I never wanted to be in a domestic partnership, civil union, or a “floogle”. I’m from Tennessee and when my fiancé and I went to Washington, D.C. last December, we got married! It’s one thing to argue for changing how governments and people recognize or conceptual relationships, but it’s another thing entirely to tell your fellow gays to delay getting married until your desired changes to society -potential- come to fruition over the coming decades and centuries, while everyone else can marry and continue on as usual. And note, marriages do not require one to “shell out big bucks” to the industry that has built around it, nor does it require for their to be biological or adoptive procreation nor that their be a religious basis to be married. These arguments have been rehashed time and again.

    And P.S., John Kerry arguably lost the 2004 Presidential elections due to the anti-gay marriage campaign run by none other than a then-closeted, gay republican strategist: Ken Mehlman. That makes for a more interesting story about gays and their viewpoints than what you briefly mention of 2004 above. Just because that happened makes for a poor argument to now not call it marriage.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Fuck this nonsense. I’ve never wanted a domestic partnership or civil union. Being from Tennessee, my fiance and I went up to Washington, D.C. and got goddamn married. If you’re interested in changing society and civilization and how the government and everyone else recognizes and conceptualizes relationships, then that’s one thing, but don’t tell us that we can’t get married and have to wait for your desires to come to fruition while everyone else continues to marry and carry on as usual. Some of us have a live to life and can’t wait for the tides to potentially turn over the coming decades and centuries. – Yours, non-academically.

    P.S., I smell a gay republican/conservative here given all the invalid arguments against gay marriage in the article (need for procreation, religious basis, etc.). And P.P.S, John Kerry arguably lost the 2004 elections because of the anti-gay marriage campaign run by none other than a closeted gay republic strategist, Ken Mehlman; that is a more telling story than what you briefly mentioned above. And lastly, gay couples do not need to “shell out big bucks” for marriage. This has everything to do with the marriage industry, which does not need be bough into when getting married. /rant

    • Carolyn in the Ozarks says:

      I don’t think he meant that gay couples shell out big bucks for marriage; he was talking about the legal rights that come with the marriage license.

  17. daftpunkydavid says:

    given the dearth of actual arguments, i’m left to wonder: is this a case of internalized homophobia? and by that i don’t mean the author hates himself; i allude to his belief that gay people are different enough from straight people that their unions ought to have another name. gay people want to belong, and that’s what the whole marriage battle is about: belonging. in our communities, in front of the state.

    i’m also left to wonder why the author can’t make a distinction between his and his boyfriend/partner/non-husband (as of yet) and other gay people. you don’t want to belong, suit yourself! it seems the author wants to prevent other gay folks from having the choice to marry because the people around him pressure him to do get married. what an absurdity!

    finally, i’m left to wonder what the author would think if he were living in arkansas, or uganda, and heard people who actually have marriage equality at the state level, talk about how unnecessary equality is. such a shame.

  18. QuantumInc says:

    Is it too much to ask for the oppressed to think differently than the oppressors?

    To me marriage never really implied hetersexuality, or traditional gender roles. It has however always seemed closely related to the concept of romantic love. I believe the vast majority of people in western culture would also think the Love-marriage connection is ultimately more important than the hetero-marriage connection. Though apparently many would say they’re both important, and perhaps equal.

    Either way, culturally disentangling “one man and one woman” from marriage is probably far easier than disentangling marriage from “love”. If two people are in love for a long period, and it’s not familial or platonic love, marriage is assumed to follow.

    Of course either way, it is important to recognize that many people don’t believe in homosexual love. The majority grow up only ever thinking of or seeing heterosexuality. The idea that two people of the same sex could feel lust for each other is shocking, and the idea they could feel love is even worse. Of course, sometimes these people find out because they themselves are gay, and they have these feelings long before they can put a word to them. Soroff sounds like such a person. It seems like love to friends and family and to this reader, but the author is uncomfortable putting any sensible terminology to it, let alone the some words straight people typically use.

    Since there is a failure to recognize homosexuality, when it does occur there is a tendency to think of it as something OTHER. Wild and unknown and either evil or liberating depending on your political learnings. The advantage here is that the LGBT community finds it MUCH easier to re-write the rules surrounding love and sex. The disadvantage is that many see it as being…illegimate, as if the whole thing of homosexulity were a mistake to be corrected, presumably with a “God hates Fags” sign (not sure how that’s supposed to work). Some homosexuals feel they have evolved beyond that which burdens heterosexuals, some feel that something is horrifyingly wrong with them, some see themselves as straight, except not.

    In case you haven’t noticed, I personally believe that it is not only possible, but important to seperate romantic concepts from heteronormative ones. This would benefit anyone interested in such a relationship. It would benefit LGBT folks who could fall in love and call it that without necessarily designating anyone “the Man” or “the Woman”, and it would actually benefit heterosexual cis-gengendered folk because they could fall in love and call it that without necessarily designating anyone “the Man” (the one with the penis by tradition) or “the Woman”.

    • Marriage and love are are relatively new ‘couple’ in the history of the institution of marriage. Throughout most of history, the bride has been treated like a commodity – traded from her father to her husband. And based on notions of “the ball and chain,” the “seven year itch,” and the “loveless marriage”… it’s hard to persist in the romantic ideal. Marriages are social contracts between two people. Sadly, in the conservative/non-revolutionary United States of America, the two people permitted this kind of social contract are all too often restricted to “one man and one woman.”

    • “It has however always seemed closely related to the concept of romantic love. ”

      Always? Boy have you got that wrong. Marrying for love was considered at best very foolish and often just selfish and wicked. At best. In most societies the kind of women who would marry for love was not the sort of woman you could marry and bring homw to Mother.

  19. Mike Welch says:

    I don’t have a partner and doubt I would marry him if I did, but I work for marriage equality because it is the right thing to do. I want the legal protections in place for ALL partners, gay or straight.

    I do think we sell ourselves short by trying to mimic straight people in their marriage rituals. Yes, call it something different and create new traditions that reflect our culture. As long as the legal ramifications are the same, it’s all good.

  20. I’ve long since come to similar conclusions, but for very different reasons. Near as I can tell, my brethren and sistern are pursuing marriage equality for three reasons.

    First, logically and ethically it’s a no brainer. Being “almost equal” is like being a little bit pregnant. It’s intellectually insupportable and morally offensive.

    Second, as Mr. Soroff points out, cooking up the equivalent cushy legal deal from scratch costs rather a lot, and no one gives you a toaster for hiring a lawyer.

    But that’s all be hashed over in the press endlessly, and other to point out that reasonable conclusions are not necessarily desirable outcomes and that the cost of my niece’s recent 300 guest, multi-venue, three open bar, amazing dinner, outrageous dancing, tear-drenched and laughter rife extravaganza would pay for several dumpsters of custom legal documents with enough left over for a down payment on a house I’ve nothing to add.

    The third, greatest, and arguably dominant motivation is howevber a highly emotional elephant in the living room that’s rarely discussed. Gay people want marriage mostly because “anything you have we deserve too.” This strikes as an extraordinarily stupid reason to shop for socks, much less allow a church, the state, or my mother a stake in my relationships. We’ve mistaken conformity for equality and it’s a fatal error has terrifying as it is stupid. Ironically, I often find myself paraphrasing my mother: “If straight people jump off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in cement lingerie, are you going to follow them?”

    In 21st century America, the institution of marriage is a conspicuous economic and social failure. The 60% divorce rate is the tip of the iceberg. Two parent households work 90 hours a week and turn rearing their children over to minimum wage slaves in rehabbed storefronts and brightly painted parking lots. Heterosexual notions of commitment are inextricably joined to jealousy, possessiveness, and the insistence that the primary value of any relationships lies in its duration, to name but a few glaring faults.

    Further, not only is marriage a single, rigidly defined, one-size-fits-none institution, it’s de facto mandatory. Any women who hits 30 without it is regarded as inferior goods, and any man who lives outside its allegedly civilizing influence is suspected of concealing some freakish pathology. Worse still, those who do marry find that the terms of their relationship have been negotiated for them long before they were born, without consideration for their individuality or welfare.

    I please with other gay people, men in particularly: when reason tells us that we deserve the right to mediocrity, it’s time to listen to our hearts.

    My father once tellingly quipped: “I fell in love with a beautiful woman but somewhere along the way ended up married to a house and lawn.” Had he more time to think (less grass to mow) and been less crippled by convention, he might have noted instead that monogamous marriage caters to women’s classic sexual agenda while disrespecting and oppressing men’s. This is one example out of many possibilities but has particular applicability to gay men…

    It’s insane for two men two men to adopt an institution that caters to women’s needs at the expense of men’s.

    All of which and more leads me to ask not merely when is equality a step down, but when is it a precipitous blind leap into a spiritual, emotional, and economic sewer? To borrow a slogan from the golden age of feminism, “Gay men need marriage like a fish needs a bicycle.” Really guys, isn’t one plague on our houses enough?

    • Let the gay and lebian couples who want to marry fret about the stability or their relationship. But to deny them marriage simply because other people who get married are getting divorced at a high rate is short-sighted. I could ask you a variant off your mother’s bridge question… “If straight couples who get married then get divorced, are you going to follow them?” Whether marriage is a failing institution in the United State or not… to enter into a marriage ought to be an equal opportunity for all citizens.

    • “Heterosexual notions of commitment are inextricably joined to jealousy, possessiveness, and the insistence that the primary value of any relationships lies in its duration”

      That’s completely unfounded. It’s not even a logical argument. Are you linking jealousy and possessiveness to monogamy?

      At any rate, homosexuals are just as likely to be possessive in relationships. It’s human nature. It’s not a homosexual/heterosexual issue; it’s a universal one.

    • “he might have noted instead that monogamous marriage caters to women’s classic sexual agenda while disrespecting and oppressing men’s. This is one example out of many possibilities but has particular applicability to gay men…”

      “It’s insane for two men two men to adopt an institution that caters to women’s needs at the expense of men’s.”

      Two things:

      1. It is erroneous to think that all women want monogamy while all men want to be playboys. You obviously don’t know much about women. It’s a complete mix. At any rate, people — both women AND men — are naturally jealous, which is why monogamy is normally the status quo; it’s not that much to do with sexual desires.

      I agree that monogamy doesn’t have to be the norm (it depends on the couple), but it’s quite misogynistic and misguided on your part to portray women as manipulative and vindictive trying to get their claws into a man to chain him down for life.

      2. You’re completely wrong. In the past, marriage benefited men, NOT women. Women were used as commodities in business deals for the benefit of men. Most of them had very little choice in who they married. (This still happens in large parts of the developing world.)

  21. You went the whole article without one cogent argument about why gay marriage is bad. Oh yeah, the reason was you and your partner don’t want it, so no one else should be able to get married?

    That attitude is lazy, smug, and complacent. Your family and friends are just trying to show their support; you should be grateful. There are lots of gay people (like me) whose families will NEVER be supportive of their sexuality. So your family are bugging you. Big deal. That’s what families do. You just seem ungrateful, to be honest.

    Just because you don’t want something, you should not easily be so dismissive of those who have fought for our rights (basic things to do with your partner). Or if you are, you should at least provide a decent reason or a logical argument.

  22. I would agree that it would be best if we weren’t hung up on the word, but the point is that the rest of our society is hung up on the word. If we get the same thing that they get, then we’re equal, and that’s what puts their knickers in a twist. They think we are not as good as them and that’s why they don’t want the word. If we got everything but not the word marriage, there would be many reasons why they would have to say we don’t deserve what they have.

    As far as Jonathan’s point of saying that gay relationships are different, yes, but not every straight relationship is alike either. The two mom’s with 3 children is more like a hetero couple than the two guys heading out to their Provincetown summer place each summer weekend.

  23. It sound like the only problem is with the word “marriage.” Get over it. I have worked tirelessly to help gay people have equal rights, and guess what? Equal includes marriage. You can’t pick and choose what “equality” you prefer.

  24. AnonymousDog says:

    You do realize, don’t you, that you can write wills and execute powers of attorney and other estate planning devices which would give you and your partner those inheritance and healthcare “rights” in the absence of same-sex marriage or civil unions? A well thought out estate plan is usually superior to the default statutory schemes anyway.

    And the tax advantages of marriage are not a right, but a gift from the legislature which can be taken away by a majority vote at any time.

    • Mike Welch says:

      Not entirely true about estate plans and legal documents protecting our rights. Some gay partners have had legal agreements overturned by vindictive families who had plenty of money to spend on lawyers. Also, some institutions, such as hospitals, have chosen to simply ignore a partner’s legal standing.

    • While you are right that such documents can be prepared by attorneys, I’ll reframe your assertion by resorting to economic equality. To get married, heterosexual couples pay for a marriage license. BOOM! They instantly have all the rights that a same-sex couple would, without marriage, have to pay thousands in legal fees to achieve. And, as Mike Welch indicates, such documents can be challenged in court by blood relatives… costing even more in legal fees. There can be no doubt that persistent politicians (and their supporters) who continue to define marriage as “between one man and one woman” – as if genetic accidents of birth determine who should love whom – is clearly discrimination against same-sex couples.

    • As Mike and Jay already pointed out, estate plans and legal wills (while important for any lifetime couple/family, gay or straight) are often not secure for gay couples. Furthermore, they aren’t affordable for every couple. Marriage has built-in protections that extend beyond complicated legal documents, and in times of stress (in an emergency room, for example) proving that you are entitled to be a spouse is the last thing a gay partner needs to go through. There are so many benefits and protections only available to heterosexual married couples (social security, family health insurance through employment, etc.) and not to gay couples no matter what legal hoops they jump through that it is impossible to concisely list them. Equality means full civil marriage equality for any couple who wishes to marry.

    • Carolyn in the Ozarks says:

      So why should a committed gay couple have to shell out boocoo bucks to a lawyer for the rights that, in Mr. Soroff’s words, any drunken hetero couple can get by shelling out $50 to an Elvis impersonator in Vegas? Call it what you will, equality will only exist when all couples who desire it can achieve the same and equal rights via the same legal hoops.

    • mythago says:

      You do realize, don’t you, that marriage is not simply about rights, but about responsibilities?

  25. Obviously Sam is your ‘spousal unit’… 🙂

  26. Mervyn Kaufman says:

    Marriage may not be right for every gay couple, but the possibility is one that should be encouraged, not denied. I feel similarly about abortion. I think it should be an option, though mindful that not every woman who becomes unwillingly pregnant will want to abort. Freedom is what we should focus on. Isn’t what that Alaskan loudmouth Sarah Palin is always shrieking about—”Do you love your freedom??” Marriage—for gays or straights—should be a personal decision, uncomplicated by religious restrictions or unyielding law.

  27. Well, hearing it from the horse’s mouth certainly helps change my perspective. I always thought it strange for gays to be against gay marriage, but now I understand and it makes me reflect on my own desires to be in a so-called marriage. I want to get married (or whatever) certainly, but my fiance and I are completely childless by choice, so there will be no offspring in this union of ours. I’m also thinking about keeping my own last name, because the archaic reasons behind wives taking the last name of their husbands irks me.

    • mythago says:

      Should other childfree couples be denied the right to marry because you and your partner may not want to be married? That’s the argument Soroff is making.

  28. Thanks for this. I agree that it is important to step beyond marriage to recognize the rights for all couples, and that a lot of the discussion around same-sex marriage is missing some major points about discrimination. That being said, marriage can be an excellent bridge-building tool that allows straight (and maybe some LGBT) people who are sympathetic but uninformed to see in a crystal clear way that LGBTs are normal human beings and positive influences in their families and communities.

    Additionally, I take issue with the final note that “you’ll get what you want if you weren’t so hung up on that word.” This is based on the idea that LGBTs *don’t* want that word. Many do. The author can feel that civil unions are equal and acceptable, but he shouldn’t suggest imposing his personal feeling on an entire community. That kind of thinking is part of why we don’t have the rights Mr. Soroff is advocating for.

  29. I like this idea. Many hetero people don’t like the term “marriage,” either because it connotes the patriarchal, man-primary earner, woman primary-parent, separate spheres dysfunction of the past – which was especially hard on children.

    So, calling it a “floogle,” or a “civil union” or whatever, and setting it up where the relationship is adult and reciprocal (rather than heirarchical patriarchal marriage), might actually attract hetero people. I think in the UK this is going on – heteros using the laws set up for same-sex couples because they like that structure better. It’s not a “separate but equal” problem, when the heteros choose to do it too.


  1. […] As of today, gay marriage has been made legal in 13 countries, with Netherlands being the first to legalize the law in the year 2000, and it is also partially legal in the United States. You must be thinking, the LGBT community must be proud of their achievement. After fighting for umpteen years before the 21st century, they have finally passed laws and bills to legalize not only marriage but adoption for same-sex couples. Of course, without a doubt the LGBT community would revel in such victories. However, surprisingly enough there are some gays, despite being in committed relationships for years, who are not fond of the thought of marriage. […]

  2. […] Did you ever hear the expression “words get in the way”? Check out this article on the s… […]

  3. […] man against gays” is a man-bites-dog article no editor can resist, Jonathan Soroff writes a facile article about why there shouldn’t be same-sex marriage. If you’d rather not wade through this […]

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