My head got fucked up about the gay-marriage thing at the gym this morning. My hetero workout partners David and Cyril, who are usually politically savvy, talked optimistically about the news from Canada recognizing gay marriage, at least in Ontario, and the prospect of Canada’s permissive attitude spreading south to the U.S. They were either trying to cheer me up, or just celebrating the fact that something progressive had happened in North America. They’re fine ones to talk, a Brit and Swiss-German, respectively, they both have received permanent alien resident status here in a very short time. While their green cards are backed up by authentic marriage certificates and honest-to-goodness monogamous relationships with American women, they handhold me through the immigration frustration I still have to endure. My partner of four years is a man, and he can’t get a green card to save his life. As a cranky atheist with a Pentecostal background, I know how fervently snaggletooth Christian the foundation of America is, and I don’t expect any policy change anytime soon. But looking at David and Cyril, I can’t help but feel cheated. As an American gay, I am not entitled to the benefits of domestic partnership, and this man-on-man love relationship I’m involved in is even now considered some kind of a taboo. Or less respectable than one based on the Adam and Eve model.
Still, I am uncomfortable with taking on the weight of injustice against the gays — I try not to do victim. I don’t go to parades. It’s easier for me as a self-identified freak and sexual outlaw to turn on the group and its repulsive agendas that took hold after years of mainstreaming the cause. I’m not so much against the assimilationism of the post-AIDS reality shift back in the ’90s, when gays started adopting children and sharing turkey-baster babies and wanting proper marriage, it’s their sense of self-righteousness that bothers me — the attitude that says, “We’re growing up, and you’re holding us back.” Somehow, even in that schism, a boring middle ground was found; I think all that “we are a diverse community” talk was supposed to calm down the trannies and grisly bears.
The wedding ceremony is another concept for me. I’ve plexed long and hard on why the walk-to-the-altar-in-white fantasy thrives to this day, especially when a totally untraditional, funky, crusty friend pulls it out of nowhere. I’m only half cynical, otherwise I’d be a hypocrite. Though I’ve had no ceremony of my own, I’ve been the “father” of the bride in two white weddings, held up a corner of the chupa in a Jewish wedding, and most recently was my own father’s best man (in his third marriage). But I’ve never been to a same-sex commitment ceremony.
I wouldn’t have expected the immigration of my lover to seem like a right if my two friends hadn’t had their lives made easy in the very same situations. My partner and I are still struggling to find solutions to sort out his immigration status; everything we’ve come up with has been time-consuming, somewhat risky, and all entail expensive lawyer’s fees. There hasn’t been an amnesty for illegal aliens since the ’80s, and another one is unlikely to happen anytime soon. His country has pending legislation to give equal rights to same-sex unions, but for now we remain stuck in this situation. He endures this patiently. I, on the other hand, am so hateful it’s eating me up and causing problems in our relationship. In my smaller picture, I have no bullshit attitude about whether marriage mimics heterosexuality: I simply want to get my man a fucking green card.