"Straight people have made a mockery of marriage"

Readers respond to Dan Savage. Plus: Letters on the Michael Jackson affair.

Published November 25, 2003 9:49PM (EST)

[Read "I Don't," by Dan Savage.]

Dan Savage is the voice of common sense, gay and otherwise. Keep up the good work and resist the urge to merge.

-- Steve Hanna

Bless Dan Savage and his witty, well-reasoned column. Before reading it, I had woken up the same morning to Stanley Kurtz's gay marriage commentary on NPR's "Morning Edition," and had been angry ever since. Kurtz was blathering that while he was all for gay rights, like a lot of Americans he was worried that legalizing gay marriage would destroy the "institution" of marriage -- marriage being an institution whose main purpose is to raise children conceived by the married couple. I could do some blathering myself about all the ways Kurtz's definition of marriage and child raising is wrong for so many of the Americans whose viewpoints he claims to represent, not to mention the illogic of his argument that gay marriage would pervert it. But Dan Savage's "I Don't" is a perfectly elegant rebuttal to every single thing Kurtz said; I was overjoyed to read it!

-- Karyn Hinkle

Dan Savage says: "Considering how miserable weddings seem to make straight people -- the work, the expense, the seemingly inevitable conflicts with your parents, the 50 percent chance of a divorce -- shouldn't people who don't like gay people want us to get married, just to make us miserable?"

Bingo. This is something that has confounded me for many years. Why would gay couples want to take part in an institution that has been so thoroughly destroyed by straight people? OK, I can understand that they want their bond to be recognized as legal, just like a straight couple. That's fine by me.

But that leads me to my second question: If you have a large group of people that are so enthusiastic about getting married (and we've been told time and time again by the religious right that marriage is "good" for morals and communities and blah blah blah), then why don't you just let them get married?

It's been obvious for many years that we straight people aren't really interested in marriage anymore. We cheat! We lie! We divorce! We've made a mockery of the whole thing. It's time to let another group of people have a go at it and see if marriage can be restored as a sacred institution. And if they don't want to travel down that already fucked up road, like Dan Savage and his partner, then that's fine with me too -- I can understand why.

-- Stevie Shea

[Read "What Were They Thinking?" by King Kaufman.]

Thanks to King Kaufman for expressing so well my opinion of the parents of the child allegedly molested by Michael Jackson. I had the same thoughts, but even more damning -- not only do I consider those parents negligent and under the sway of celebrity, but I was reminded of a scene from the book "The Godfather," where a beautiful 12-year-old girl is offered up to a depraved producer. I think parents who offer up their children for sleepovers with a suspected child molester, a very rich suspected child molester, are pimps, pure and simple.

I don't know if they planned to sue all along, or were offered inducements upfront, but unless they've been living in a cave for over a decade, they must have known what they were subjecting their children to. Shame on them.

-- Mary Owens

I just read King Kaufman's article and finally, finally, I have read in print what my friends, family and husband have been saying for years.

What were these parents thinking? Has celebrity worship taken hold of otherwise sane parents and allowed them to risk their children's well-being for bragging rights? It would be like me letting my teenage daughter take an internship in Bill Clinton's office and then being surprised if she were seduced. Duh.

You can't protect adults from themselves but we should, as a society, be able to protect our children from predatory adults, no matter how rich and famous they are.

-- Helen

Like any good American, King Kaufman proclaims that Michael Jackson is "innocent until proven guilty," yet he also insists that no parent in their right mind would send their child to Neverland, the enclave of a "known whack-job." Kaufman also asks, "What kind of morons are you, to let your kid anywhere near that guy, anywhere near that place?" That doesn't sound "innocent until proven guilty" to me.

I have always viewed Mr. Jackson as a sad man, who wears the pain of a tortured childhood like a grotesque mask. He is a child who has refused to grow up and prefers the company of peers -- children. Does that make him a "whack-job" and a child molester? It makes him emotionally stunted, but not evil.

-- Olga Humphrey

By Salon Staff

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