- By John Stark
No sooner had Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed same-sex marriage into law on Tuesday than my phone began ringing. Friends were calling from both coasts to say they heard the news that gays can officially tie the knot, starting Aug. 1. “So when are you getting married?” everyone wanted to know.
Let me be very clear about this: I am not getting married.
Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean I’m going to do it. Jumping out of airplanes is legal in all 50 states and you don’t see me doing that either.
The same thing happened to me in 2004 when I lived in Massachusetts and same-sex marriage was legalized there. Everybody kept asking me when I was getting hitched.
I said it then. I'll say it again. I am not getting married. So quit bugging me.
Don’t get me wrong. I like the idea of having the right to marry whomever you love. I'm delighted for all the gay Minnesotans who are rushing to the nearest city hall to get licenses. But I’m over 60. I’ve earned the right to come and go as I please — to eat whatever I want and when. I make no apologies. I like living by myself.
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Why are my friends so insistent I get married? I’d like to think it’s because they want to see me happy. But in truth, that can’t be the reason. All my married friends are always arguing and bickering. Remember the New Yorker cartoon from a few years ago? A man with a weary face is sitting in an armchair reading the newspaper. He says to his wife, who is sitting across the room, “Gays and lesbians getting married — haven’t they suffered enough?”
The real reason my friends want to see me get married is because everybody loves going to weddings. You get to dress up. There’s music and dancing, gourmet food and expensive champagne — all this for the admission price of a fondue pot.
It’s no wonder that a majority of Americans now support same-sex marriage. Millions of gays and lesbians saying “I do” means finding more embossed wedding invitations in your mailbox. Think valet parking, open bar and bacon-wrapped scallops.
It’s a good thing gay marriage wasn’t an option when I was young. By now I’d have been divorced eight times and widowed twice. I’d have broken Liz Taylor’s matrimonial record. Since I was usually the breadwinner, I’d still be in alimony hell.
Pop culture isn’t helping, either. On Thursday’s episode of “Glee” boomers Patty Duke and Meredith Baxter played lesbians who had been together for more than 30 years. In one scene at a restaurant they talk about their relationship, how they met, and what they mean to each other. Suddenly Duke falls on her knees, whips out a ring, and asks Baxter to marry her. Baxter, with tears in her eyes, says yes. Everyone in the restaurant breaks into applause.
See what I mean? Gay marriage is the zeitgeist. I’m the party pooper.
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This morning I got a message from my brother, who is married and conservative. But like so much of the country his social views have softened and evolved. “When’s the big day?” he tweeted me. “Judy and I can’t wait to dance at your wedding!”
That’s very sweet. But let me reiterate: I am not getting married — not in Minnesota, Massachusetts or the 10 other states where it’s now legal. Or the District of Columbia, where it's also OK.
Besides, no one’s asked me.