United States: San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has shown that he has the biggest bollocks in the United States with his move to grant same-sex marriages and in doing so gives the royal salute to Christian fundies and indignant homophobic conservatives everywhere.
No matter what the final outcome, this past week will go down as one of those defining moments, a seminal point in American history. It hearkens back to the civil rights movement and to women's suffrage, though with less screaming chanting effigy-burning marches and beatings by angry cops, and more roses and warm-hearted grins and life-affirming smooches on the steps of city hall.
It was a delicious and heartwarming historic spectacle indeed, and there was simply no way for any person of any elevated consciousness or spiritual awareness — anyone with any heart whatsoever — to witness the huge line of happy, eager same-sex couples snaking around city hall and not be deeply moved, profoundly touched.
I was there. I saw the lines, the smiles, felt the intense emotional energy. It was simply irrefutable: These are people in love. These are couples who have been together for years, decades, who have started families and raised children and set up homes replete with dogs and dinner parties and antiques and regular shopping excursions to Safeway and the mall. You know, just likerealAmericans.
These are couples who are willing to go the distance, to commit and connect, and who are eager to prove to themselves and the world that their love is something true and real and momentous, something that, in truth, can only serve to reignite and reunite our stagnant, fractured, contentious, 50 percent-divorce-rate nation. Hey, we need all the help we can get.
And one other thing was very apparent: It was a situation in which you simply could not imagine anyone hurling gobs of intolerant hate at it. It would have required a serious amount of nasty, inbred ignorance and appalling nerve to march up to any of the passionate and committed couples waiting patiently in line for their marriage ceremony and say, you know, God hates you for this, you immoral disgusting sodomites, and it's intolerable and unacceptable that you wish to love and honor each other till death do you part.
Which, yes indeed, is exactly what a great many antigay groups are doing, in effect, right now.
But here's the best part: The City's brave move was not merely a giant well-manicured middle finger to the Christian Right and indignant homophobic conservatives everywhere.
Nor was it just an audacious act of civil disobedience, guaranteed to raise the ire of Bible thumpers and so-called pro-family groups hailing everywhere from Orange County to Colorado Springs. That's just a nice bonus.
It was, more than anything, an incredible celebration of love. The more than 2,600 wedding ceremonies performed so far were the purest evidence, an irrefutable outpouring of the most wondrous and messy and baffling and orgasmic and desperately needed of human emotions, the air electric and warm, the ceremonies themselves radiant and poignant and genuinely tearful.
And no question became so clear, so obvious, as the one being asked by same-sex-marriage advocates around the world: What, really, is so wrong about this? What is the horrible threat about two adults who love each other so intensely, so purely, that they're willing to commit to a lifetime of being together and sleeping together and arguing over who controls the remote? And what government body dares to claim a right to legislate against it?
It is a question no group, no homophobic senator, no piece of antigay legislation, no BushCo stump speech, no Bible-humping pastor has been able to answer with any clarity or conviction.
They can only mumble about immorality and quote some vague Scripture about sodomy that makes them all tingly, as wary biblical scholars all over the world roll their eyes and point to a thousand proofs that demonstrate, over and over again, how the Bible is basically a reinterpreted regurgitated piece of classic patriarchal misogynistic mythmaking that says exactly what the church rewrote it to say.
But I might have part of an answer. From what I can glean from some of my hate mail and the general conservative outcry, here is what the homophobes fear about same-sex marriage: bestiality.
That is, they are utterly terrified that same-sex marriage is a slippery slope of permissive debauchery that will lead to the utter breakdown of social rules and sexual mores, to people being allowed to marry their dogs, or their own dead grandmothers, or chairs, or three hairy men from Miami Beach.
In short, to the neocon Right, a nation that allows gays to marry is a nation with no boundaries and no condoms and where all sorts of illicit disgusting behaviors will soon be legal and be forced upon them, a horrific tribal wasteland full of leeches and flying bugs and scary sex acts they only read about in chat rooms and their belovedLeft Behindseries of cute apocalypse-porn books.
You know, just like how giving blacks the right to own their own land meant we had to give the same rights to house plants and power tools, or how granting women the right to vote meant it was a slippery slope until we gave suffrage to feral cats and sea slugs and rusty hubcaps.
This, then, is why it is a time to be incredibly proud. San Francisco is slapping this moronic worldview back to the dank basement of subhuman intellect, where it belongs. We have broken the taboo, challenged the ignorant and the easily terrified, made it beautifully clear that what matters most in a modern society is not unfounded, naive fears, not uptight religious puling, but a humane and equal, joyous sense of love for all.
The war is far from over. It will be a brutal battle, with much hate yet to be spewed, much Bible waving and law mangling accompanying what will undoubtedly be a slow, painful sea change for a very uptight, easily terrified American society.
But S.F. has taken the lead, has sounded the battle cry, has defined itself anew. And for that, more than any other of its wonders, I am incredibly proud that I live in San Francisco, the best city in the whole goddamn world — gay, straight or anywhere in between.
Now, That's San Francisco, Nothing like a few thousand gay marriage ceremonies to reignite your urban pride - SF Gate, 18th February 2004.
More Than 50 Gay Couples Are Married in San Francisco [BugMeNot] - New York Times, 13th February 2004.
Valentine's Day, or, thank you, Mayor Newsom - vitanuova.loyalty.org, 15th February 2004 (via Opinions of the Wolf: News).