The farther away I get from my (failed) marriage, the more clearly I'm able to see it. My own particular marriage, yes, but also my relationship (no pun intended) to the institution itself, which usually fell somewhere on the spectrum between "cautiously optimistic" and "no fucking way." I can't say I'm agin' it entirely, because I'm not; I'm sure it works great for some people. Somewhere. A couple of them (ha!), anyway. But more often I've seen (me, personally, Colleen) how marriage doesn't work, how, instead of becoming a safe harbor of commitment within which two people can grow and flourish without fear of capricious abandonment, it becomes a justification stick couples take turns with to beat one another, and even themselves, about the psyche (metaphorically speaking, of course; hitting = bad). Even the marriages that look good from the outside may be rotten on the inside; I couldn't believe the number of people who were shocked, shocked, I tell you!, to hear that my own marriage, which had been rocky for years, was ending.
I'm not here to crap on marriage. Well, mostly I'm not. Like I said, I think two mutually consenting adults should be free to do whatever the hell they want as long as it's not going to hurt anyone else or significantly damage my property. Note I did not say "piss off anyone", you see where I'm heading with this, because there are plenty of things two mutually consenting adults could do (in the privacy of their own home, even) that would send certain other people into fits of apoplexy, like, oh, say, marrying someone they might have showered beside in the locker room after P.E. instead of someone they met, oh, say, in a titty bar. Or a church meeting. Or online. Or wherever the hell.
BIG HUGE FAT DISCLAIMER: PLEASE NOTE THAT I AM IN NO WAY SAYING THAT CHURCHES OF ANY STRIPE SHOULD NOT BE ABLE TO DICTATE GENDER APPROPRIATENESS VIS-A-VIS MARRIAGE (OR GENERAL FRATERNIZATION AMONG THE RANKS). THANK YOU; OBRIGADO; IN NOMINE PATRE, ETC.
What really pisses me off about marriage is what pisses me off about most things that stick in my craw: it's not fair. Specifically, it's not fair that some people (i.e., the ones who might meet in a titty bar) get to do it while others (the ones who might shower together after P.E.) can't. Period. I mean, I have lots and lots of issues about marriage, but I freely admit those are more about me hating the sound of the cage door slamming shut than Marriage as it might be practiced by non-lunatics (who, for the record, come in both the titty bar and P.E.-showering variety).
No, the fairness thing is different. It's not fair that my wonderful friends O-Lan and Halldor can be married while my other wonderful friends Ann and Susie cannot. They've been together the same amount of time; longer, even. They own property. They're raising a terrific kid.
Moreover, Ann and Susie probably wouldn't give a crap about getting married even if they could. They're not exactly flag-wavers for most of the dominant paradigms, Susie's corporate gig notwithstanding (well, how else do people afford health insurance?). But that's not the point; the point is (all together now): It's. Not. Fair.
So I'm clicking around on the SAG Pension & Health site, waiting for the nice lady on the other end of the line to give me authorization for 10 more shrink visits since a certain anniversary has apparently triggered some sort of mini-meltdown, and I stumble on a motherlode of links about alternative partnerships, and the creation, dissolution and legality of such. Makes sense: if you're crazyy enough to be an actor, chances are you're queer, off-kilter, or both.
My favorite of the sites, the Alternatives to Marriage Project (a.k.a. unmarried.org), has its own mongo cache of fun links, including: "Famous People in Unmarried Relationships (Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins are only the beginning!)"; jokes ("why don't melons marry? they cantaloupe"); and separate sections on being polyamorous and/or marriagefree ("as free as the wiiiind bloooows...").
But my favorite-favorite link brought me to something I'd never heard about: The Marriage Boycott. Basically, The Marriage Boycott is a solidarity movement: straight couples refusing to marry until gay couples are allowed the same privileges. Which, at first glance sounds kind of silly, who's gonna care, right? Until you think it through, at which point is gets kind of genius: it makes the personal the political in a really huge way, which can be useful in (a), converting potential grandparents who are sticklers for their offspring's offspring being legitimate to the Side of Good or (b), getting Aunt Agatha and the mah-jongg crew to wake up and smell the Sanka.
Of course, to be maximally effective it'd help to have some extreme types sign on, your Town & Country demo, your Tri-Delt debs, your future ex-Mrs. Donald Trumps, but every little bit helps.
Anyone care to propose? I'm ready and willing to turn you down.
For the cause, of course.