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Cue the Fat Lady

Marry me a little Love me just enough Cry but not too often Play but not too rough Keep a tender distance So we’ll both be free That’s the way it ought to be I’m ready I’m ready So wrote Stephen Sondheim back in 1971 in a song famously cut from Company. Well, famous to any man I’d consider marrying. And if Judge Richard Kramer’s ruling, striking down state laws that limit marriage to “a man and a woman,” stands up to state Supreme Court review, I can indeed marry such a gentleman: to be precise, my lover of the past 32 years. When Company was conceived, neither Stephen Sondheim (you’ll find his picture under “fabulous” in the dictionary) nor his equally gay librettist George Furth could have dreamed of same-sex marriage. “Love me just enough” was the best that could be expected in a culture where the overwhelming majority of the same-sex–oriented were firmly ensconced in “the closet.” So Sondheim and Furth weren’t inclined to include such a prospect, even in a musical about an urbane urban “bachelor” (such a quaint term, no?). Yet here we are, only a few decades later, with gay marriage kept at anything but “a tender distance,” despite an ever-roiling opposition. “For a single judge to rule there is no conceivable purpose for preserving marriage as one man and one woman is mind-boggling,” howls the duly boggled Matthew Staver, representing the Campaign for California Families, one of two organizations that joined the state Attorney General’s Office in defending the existing laws. And they are but two of many anti-gay-marriage organizations nationwide. “This decision will be gasoline on the fire of the pro-marriage movement in California as well as the rest of the country,” Staver declares. And who can doubt him, what with “traditional marriage” advocates getting 11 states to vote for anti-gay-marriage statutes last November. Yet recent months have seen courts in New York, Oregon and Washington state rule in favor of same-sex marriage, with one in New Jersey ruling against it. With appeals in all these cases in the works, the Fat Lady hasn’t sung. But there’s every reason to believe she’s tuning up for a rousing rendition of “O Promise Me.” For the 4,000 same-sex couples who married last year in San Francisco, thanks to “metrosexual” Mayor Gavin Newsom, proved that the desire for same-sex marriage runs a lot deeper and wider than any of us — gay or straight — had ever suspected. Consider a “Weddings and Celebrations” piece in last Sunday’s New York Times, celebrating the Ontario nuptials of New Yorkers Andrew Kirtzman, host of WCBS-TV’s Kirtzman & Co., and Kyle Froman, a dancer from the corps of New York City Ballet, who met about five years ago. “One of the first things I asked him,” Kirtzman recalled, “is whether he was a dancer. He had incredible posture and a disciplined aura.” “I just thought to myself, what an awful pickup line,” said Froman. “I was about to ignore him, but he kept on talking to me.” And that talk led to marriage. But with “la vie gay” being what it is, what can the Kirtzman-Fromans expect down the line? Wedded bliss or promiscuous perdition? They should take the cue from what a very wise heterosexual songwriter, Frank Loesser, once wrote: Marry the man today Trouble though he may be Much as he likes to play Crazy and wild and free Marry the man today Rather than sigh in sorrow Marry the man today And change his ways tomorrow.

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