As you already know, this country is currently engaged in a raging socio-political debate about whether homosexuals should be permitted to marry. There is so much name calling and finger pointing on both sides that it seems there can be no answer on which everyone will agree.
Or is there?
It just so happens that we here at the Sordid Tales Department of Social Engineering have the solution to this controversial cultural conflict.
It's called Marriage with an Asterisk.
Seems to me, the reason homosexuals desire the right to marry is to enjoy the same privileges as everyone else and really to just be included in society, while the reason others oppose it is because they think there is something very wrong with homosexuals, and including them in normal society is about as horrifying to them as including John Ashcroft at your next magic mushroom mountain campfire.
So where can a compromise be found? Marriage with an Asterisk, of course.
I think Married* should be the legal designation of a union between two members of the same sex. The county clerk could stamp an asterisk on their marriage license and from that point forward, the new couple should use asterisks on whatever other formal documents and applications they sign during the life of the union.
Such as, “In case of emergency, please contact my husband*” or “What's your marital status: single, divorced, married or married*?”
It's the best of both worlds. Marriage with an Asterisk allow gays to marry and glean all the legal rights and benefits that come with it, but with an asterisk attached to signal to the bigots and homophobes of the world that there is something different about this particular couple so that they may continue fearing and loathing them in their usual bigoted, homophobic manner.
That's what it's all about, right? To allow homosexuals to marry each other is basically normalizing this type of relationship. And if we start sending that message, well what's to keep everyone from going gay? I ask you, what's to keep everyone from simultaneously leaving their jobs and families to go racing off into the forest to find the great homo swimming hole and diving in and splashing and thrashing around with gayphoria while civilization goes to hell in a Hummer.
Sordid Tales understands your concerns.
But even the most carbuncle-brained homophobe can recognize that, as much as he fears and loathes the spread of homosexuality, it's still probably wrong to deny them the basic human rights that marriage allows everyone else-like power of attorney, or inheritance rights, or the right to go on a scandalous humping binge while your wife is home cooking dinner.
Hence Marriage with an Asterisk.
For instance, I own a small piece of rental property in Ocean Beach. It's called the Decker Compound. What if someone of a homo persuasion dropped off a rental application with only “married” written under the “marital status” section? Well, how am I supposed to know not to rent to him and his husband*? The next thing you know, my quiet little family compound turns into a Roman bathhouse: greased-up, torch-bearing gladiators walking around in skimpy armor, the constant, throbbing cacophony of techno music and bleating farm animals keeping us awake all night.
However, if he listed his marital status as married*, then I would know that it would not be prudent to rent to this couple, even though it would technically be illegal to deny them (on the basis of their sexual orientation). See how beautiful that is? This way, I the individual may continue forth in my canker-brained bigoted ways, while at the same time the government can remain neutral on social issues.
Marriage with an Asterisk.
It's like when we freed the slaves in 1862. We didn't actually set them free. We set them free with an Asterisk. Because freedom without an asterisk means that we don't make them drink from a different water fountain and we don't routinely round up lynch mobs to keep them in check-because everybody knows a free* Negro is infinitely less dangerous than a free one.
I think we should employ the asterisk more often in this society. An asterisk helps us maintain a neutral position, like when we say, “Michael Jackson sleeps* with boys.” And maybe if President Bush had said that Iraq's threat to America was imminent*, he wouldn't be in the soup right now. And then there is, perhaps, mankind's most valuable application of the asterisk: an asterisk on love.
You know, that awkward moment in a new relationship, the first time your new boyfriend or girlfriend says the L word to you and you don't know yet if you can say the L word back? Well now you can say it-that's right-with an asterisk:
“Honey, I think I'm in love with you.”
“I love* you too, babe.”
“What the hell does that mean?”
“It means that I love you, but I still look at other women, though I won't sleep with them (unless they let me), and even if I do, it still doesn't mean I love them, or even love* them for that matter-I only love* you.
“Oh, honey, that's so sweet*”
See how useful that tiny little star is? Each one of them is like a hit of Ecstasy. It just makes everyone so happy. No more fighting over who loves whom, no more hidden political double-speak and no more arguing over who should be permitted to marry whom.
It's marriage with an asterisk, people, and everybody wins.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For more quality* writing visit www.edwindecker.com.