by Brandon Tietz
Beyond being “fam friendly,” part of the reason I’m the resident hetero writer at The Phoenix is I have the ability to see the dividing lines between cultures without leaning too far one way or another on an issue. Let’s take marriage for example. I’m not married. I’ve never been married, but I understand why two people—any two people—would want to do it. It is perhaps the most substantial bond that a couple can make, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Hopefully, we all agree on at least that part of it.
This leads us into a dark little sub-topic: Why don’t some straight people want gays to get married? For readers of this mag, I’m sure that question has crossed your minds at least once if not several times. It is, after all, a valid question and one that’s often debated/argued/fought about both in-person and over the expanses of the interwebs.
Most gay people believe this resistance is derived from either hate or religion. Both true. Both have been written about thousands of times. Organizations like the Westboro Baptist Church are fueled more by ignorance than by faith. I don’t need to beat that dead horse nor do I really want to.
What I would like to cover are the less-cited reasons that don’t necessarily exist on the surface. Hate and religion are easy. Personal inadequacy and jealousy are a bit more complex. These are some the concerns straight people have when it comes to your big, bad, gay wedding.
“What if their gay wedding is better than ours?”
I know it sounds crazy, but this is a legitimate fear for some people. No bullshit. We live in a culture where weddings are so outlandish and competitive that it’s reality TV fodder. The flowers must be the best. The cake must be the biggest. The ceremony must be epic. It is the silent contest amongst bridezillas, so the idea of a gay wedding with all its grandiosity and flair is a threatening one. This demographic—historically called upon to handle the wedding planning—is now able to throw their hat in the ring. It’s extremely petty, I know, but some straight people can’t handle the idea of being beaten at what they believe to be their own game.
“What if their gay marriage lasts longer than ours?”
Although less petty than the wedding pissing contest, this concern is only slightly less so. We all know that old statistic, that half the marriages in the U.S. wind up in divorce. It’s actually closer to 40% now, but that’s still not great, especially when you consider some of these people are religious and oppose gay marriage. So what about same-sex marriage?
According to recent study from The Washington Post, same-sex couples are just as likely to divorce as opposite-sex couples. This doesn’t mean that same-sex couples are taking their vows lightly or approaching marriage with a cavalier attitude. If anything, it further demonstrates the equality of same-sex vs. opposite sex couples.
“What if they obtain the life we’re trying to get?”
Let’s be honest: There’s a silent competition in Leawood and Mission Hills over who has the best car, the best house, the best job, and highest combined income. Everyone is trying to “keep up with the Joneses.” So what if the Joneses were a couple of gay men? What if they were the ones setting the tone of the life you were trying to obtain? This is yet another whispered fear some folks in the straight community have, that they will “lose at life” to the type of couple they don’t fully comprehend.
Hopefully, you’re seeing the pattern here. Straight people have had this whole marriage and relationship thing down pat since its inception. They can and have gone through them like tissues. Now that same-sex marriage is legal in most of the country, it’s activated this petty competitive bone in a portion of the hetero community. It’s as if they believe a successful gay marriage will somehow devalue their own.
Gays are always going to see opposition in the form of religion, ignorance, and hate. Fear and jealousy, however, are just as present, although not nearly as loud. So the next time you’re dealing with a objector that isn’t shaking a Bible in your face or being a bigot, just remember that they might be terrified of losing a game you’re not actually playing.