The Same-Sex Marriage Zeitgeist
I struck up an Internet friendship with artist and art reviewer Maureen Mullarkey back in the early days of blogging, begun with an initial contact concerning our agreement about same-sex marriage. That agreement has apparently plunged her into chilling circumstances:
Strange times we live in when it takes a ballot initiative to confirm the definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Stranger still when endorsing that definition through the democratic process brings threats and reprisals.
In November, the San Francisco Chronicle published the names and home addresses of everyone who donated money in support of California’s Proposition 8 marriage initiative. All available information, plus the amount donated, was broadcast. My name is on that list.
Emails started coming. Heavy with epithets and ad hominems, most in the you-disgust-me vein. Several accused me, personally, of denying the sender his single chance at happiness after a life of unrelieved oppression and second-class citizenship. Some were anonymous but a sizable number were signed, an indication of confidence in collective clout that belied howls of victimhood. New York’s Gay City News asked for an interview because I was “one of only four New Yorkers who contributed more than $500.”
I ignored the request, trashed the emails, and forgot about them. But the West Coast bureau chief of the New York Daily News did not forget.
The ensuing experiences included finding two men waiting at her apartment to “interview” her one night, receiving promises of professional retribution, and the implicit intimidation that comes with having one’s home address published with the tone of “make the bitch pay.”
For some, it seems, marriage is not so much about love as about self-validation and an expression of power. Whatever proves true of the former, we ought not expect the latter to be tempered by victory.