The Olympic sport of getting gay married, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Mormons.
As if, the Mormons are going to stop me from getting gay married!
Do those Johnny-Come-Latelys realize I have been trying to marry the same woman four times now and will keep doing so until they or whatever group of intolerants that appear in California give up and finally go home?
In fact, getting gay married has almost turned into an Olympic endurance sport for me. And I can tell you I am not even close to being tired, even after the passage of Proposition 8 last week in California, which eliminated a recent court decision that allowed same-sex couples to marry and enshrined discrimination into the state constitution.
I have an Elizabeth Taylor appetite for gay marriage.
Of course, I could get all Melissa-Ellen-Portia-LiLo indignant on you and declare that I might not pay state taxes because of the appalling vote. I could go postal about the hugely deceptive ads that the Yes-on-Prop-8 side aired, where the mother gets a little too freaked out by a book called “King and King.” I could verbally slap around Mormons and church-going African Americans and old folks, all of whom proved to be the ones that tipped the initiative to victory.
I could even pull out the hankies and talk about how my six-year-old son was worried, after Prop 8 passed, that my partner and I would now have to break up the family and get married to men.
But let’s dispense with such things and get right to the point: I’m not going away, because I have an Elizabeth-Taylor appetite for gay marriage.
Let me give you the stats, to give you a better idea of what anti-gay forces are up against:
The first wedding my partner and I had was almost a decade ago—all duded up with the engraved invites, the flowery vows, the smiling guests and expensive catering.
I call that one: The Romantic One.
That marriage was obviously not legal—we used an Internet minister, after all—but done more for the symbolism for our friends and family, some of whom needed to be hit very hard over the head in order to start taking our relationship seriously.
It definitely did the trick, which we underscored with that Canadian one a few years later, It looked, in the bleak landscape of the Bush administration, that there might even be a federal amendment on the horizon and we wanted some fig leaf of protection that the very nice folks living north might provide. Of course, the marriage in Canada had no legal standing in this country.
Still, it was a nice affair held at a parking-lot chapel in Niagara Falls, right next to a Tim Horton’s Donuts. But, to be honest, it was rushed, because we really didn’t want to miss the “Maid of the Mist” tour.
I call that one: The Canadians-Are-Indeed-Nicer-and-Their-Side-of-the-Falls-More-Spectacular-Too One.
The third was in San Francisco in 2004, also in a hurry with our then-toddler and babysitter in tow, when Mayor Gavin Newsom lost his political mind and suddenly started marrying gay couples one February day.
The “Winter of Love” in San Francisco was too hard to resist, of course, an important moment in the history of civil rights that would have been criminal to ignore. As it turned out, our marriage was soon declared illegal and we received a very apologetic note from the Country Clerk that “voided” it, but kindly included our fee refund.
I call that one, of course: The Voided One.
The fourth was just a week ago, in the waning hours of Election Day, after I got super annoyed hearing that Utah-based Mormons had flooded California with tens of millions of dollars in cash to help pass Prop 8.
So, at the last minute, we rushed back to the scene of the last criminal marriage—San Francisco’s City Hall—and got hitched once again, just before the polls closed and made such a thing illegal. This time, we brought our two small boys, the neighbors and some friends, all of whom were just as annoyed at the out-of-state meddling as we were.
So, of course, we all call that one: The Mormons-Really-Piss-Us-Off One.
And, of course, they do, especially since the Mormon Church is now crying like a little baby--due to a vituperative backlash against it in the wake of the vote--claiming that it was its members that gave the money and not the church itself.
Thank goodness, that was cleared up. It’s nice to know that mass-donating by a single group was purely a coincidence. So sorry for blaming the church for encouraging discrimination against other citizens, when it was obviously a fluke!
In any case, as it turns out, despite the fact that my marriages so far seem to have the life span of a gnat and despite all the efforts by that huge, wandering and unorganized group of Mormons (but not the Mormon Church, folks!), this one might actually stick.
According to a lot of experts, a sentiment echoed by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger this week, the 18,000 same-sex marriages already done seem to be quite legal in the state, since Prop 8 is not retroactive.
Thus, while there is sure to be a lot of legal wrangling over the whole situation going forward, as well as constitutional challenges to the initiative itself, it looks like I might actually be married finally, at least in California.
Because, as bad as I am at getting married, I have to be very honest and say I am not as good as I could be at being married.
I am grumpy in the mornings and thoughtless a lot more than I should be and I cannot say I have always behaved as a married lady should behave. That is to say, living happily in the spirit of for better or worse. That is to say, making every effort possible effort to be a good partner. That is to say, seeing the forest through what can sometimes be very thick trees.
But, any straight person married a decade or more will, if pressed, eventually, cop to that kind of behavior. They know how hard it is to keep a solid and healthy relationship going with all the various pressures of modern life. They realize that it is much tougher to stay married than to get married. They know that getting through bad times with grace is as important as enjoying the ease of the good times. And they know that no couple with children under seven years old can have a meaningful conversation of more than one minute and 33 seconds.
That I know this and much more, tuning out all the noise about same-sex marriage that never seems to let up, actually means I have actually been quite married all along, since that first one back in 1999.
And I am confident the rest of the world will catch up too. While we lost Prop 8, it was much less of a loss than the last one and the next one will be less still, if not an outright victory.
As the playwright Tony Kushner once wrote: “The world only spins forward,” which a consider a truism for this fight and so many others having to do with the dignity of humanity, the civil rights of all people and equal rights under the law.
And, if it does turn out to take a little longer, of course, I very much look forward to wedding No. 5.
I think I will call that one: The Been-There-Done-That One.
Kara Swisher currently co-produces and co-hosts The Wall Street Journal’s “D: All Things Digital,” with Walt Mossberg. Swisher worked in The Wall Street Journal’s San Francisco bureau. For many years, she wrote the column, “BoomTown,” which appeared on the front page of the Marketplace section and also on The Wall Street Journal Online at WSJ.com. Previously, Ms. Swisher worked as a reporter at the Washington Post and as an editor at the City Paper of Washington, D.C.