How Dan Savage Offended Me


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Dan Savage is a writer for The Stranger, a local liberal Seattle newspaper and he’s kind of a champion for gay rights. Last night I went to a little voting party put on by The Stranger at a local nightclub. There were politicians trying to win our votes and Dan Savage got up and spoke a few times to the whole crowd of maybe a couple hundred people (totally guessing on numbers). Now, I support Dan Savage. Many people I respect just love him. I’ve never actually read anything he’s written, but I could probably guess that if we went down the list of political opinions, we probably agree on the vast majority of them (except when it comes to who we vote for, since I believe that the lesser of two evils is still evil.) As a bisexual I do have an interest in gay rights, so I’ve kind of got to support the local figurehead.

But Dan Savage said something that made me angry last night, and I’m not sure why I can’t get it out of my head. Mitt Romney or Ann Coulter can say offensive and insane things all day and it doesn’t bother me, but when a well-known liberal says things like this it just irks me to no end.

This is basically the quote that I’m pulling from memory as best I can: “This is [can't recall the name]. We got married in Canada. He’s my husband in Canada where gay marriage is legal, but here in Seattle he’s my boyfriend.”

I immediately expressed my disgust at this statement to my buddy and he said something like, “Yeah, but this is a political meeting. We’re here to talk about law.”

But no, even a day later I’m still bothered by what Dan said. I still think it’s disrespectful to both his husband and marriage in general. I can only assume they discussed it first and Dan knew he would not be hurting his husband’s feelings, but still, to say in front of hundreds of people that your marriage is not actually valid simply because the government won’t recognize it is offensive to me as an anarchist and as someone who sees marriage as sacred. To say so easily and flippantly that your marriage is not actually valid is counter-productive to the gay-marriage movement because it confirms the theory that gays don’t have respect for the institute of marriage and it helps grant the government power over people’s love-lives.

If a conservative republican couple gets married in a traditional Christian wedding, then a couple years later visit an Arab nation where only traditional Muslim marriages are recognized, they aren’t going to go around telling people they’re not actually married.

If this same couple gets a call from the state and are told that they never filled out their paperwork so the marriage license never went through, they wouldn’t suddenly decide they were never really married.

If Dan Savage gets on a spaceship and flies to the moon where they don’t even have marriage, guess what? He’s still married.

Marriage is about love, commitment and your choices in life. Laws are about politics, public manipulation and money. To allow a law to dictate how you perceive your own right to love another human being just feels fundamentally wrong to me. You can argue that laws are necessary for society to function, but to allow them to dictate how you think and feel about your loved ones is not acceptable to me.

In other words, marriage always takes precedence over law. I don’t care who recognizes it. It doesn’t matter if not one nation on the planet recognizes gay marriage. If you got married, if you made that commitment, you are married. End of story. Nobody has the right to tell you otherwise.

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