California’s Recent Legalization of Gay Marriage

“In Which Jim, Who Has Previously Guest Blogged in This Space, Suggests His Lack of a Boyfriend Might Affect His Views on Social Issues, Specifically the State of California’s Recent Legalization of Gay Marriage”
So, yea, my pal Jim (aka iJim) used to live in Duluth; he was my boss. Tired of the town and the faculty he oversaw, for we are a wearying lot, Jim packed up his crisp white shirts last year and moved to Palm Springs, California, where he’d taken a job as a dean at a more-arid institution. In his estimation, this was a move up. After all, he was fleeing Duluth’s Northwoodsy fellas who wear red plaid flannel to weddings and heading towards a desert that was raining men sporting tight tank tops.
Nearly a year after his move Westward, Jim takes stock of his new state. He writes:
Jocelyn’s fans want to know: what does iJim think of the gay marriage ruling in California?

What’s that? You didn’t ask. Well, that’s fine, ‘cause I don’t care very much either way.

Well, that’s how I felt at first. Sure, this is historic. And so I changed my Facebook status to: iJim is “excited about gay marriage in California, although he’s received no offers.” Many of my friends are really excited about it. Many of my coupled friends.

It’s exciting for those who have a non-US-born partner (Tim and Alistair, Claire and Barbara). Or those without health insurance who might now be able to add them to their policies (Bob and James). Now that I think of it, there are more of these couples than I realized.

But for me–eh.

Maybe it’s because I’m new to California. Had this happened in my former home of Minnesota, I’d be more interested. I’d certainly be more surprised.

Plus I live in Palm Springs, where it’s 104 degrees. It’s hard to get worked up about anything in this heat. And I feel a bit remote, at least two hours from a real city. If I were in Los Angeles, where there was a rally at the corner of San Vicente and Santa Monica Boulevard, I’d probably go. But just to look at the boys.

Or maybe it’s because I’m single and bitter. Maybe I can’t see anything except through the lens of how this affects me today. But I’m not bitter. And not that self-centered. But if I had a boyfriend…

In graduate school, I thought I was Radical Queerrr. Didn’t believe in monogamy. (A shy guy, I practiced it by default.) Didn’t believe in “mimicking heterosexual social structures.” I wrote one or more screeds on the topic. I think I was just cynical then. I was certainly on the early path to Curmudgeonville, where I now blissfully reside next to Joce. (Call me Gloomeo.)

I didn’t believe that the state (or the State) had any business sanctioning one type of relationship over another. I still believe this. A majority (4 to 3) of the California Supreme Court sort of agreed, saying the state had no “compelling interest” in recognizing straight marriage and not gay marriage.

The decision also decrees that California must recognize gay marriages performed in other states. Maybe that will apply to Canadian marriages, too. David and Daniel will be glad. (Daniel will say he’s “fuckin’ ecstatic.” He may even use his jazz hands.) They got married in Vancouver and live in California.

And, you don’t have to be a resident of California to get gay-married in California. Will Palm Springs be the gay-marriage Las Vegas? Drive-in gay-wedding chapels with Cher impersonators officiating. I shudder.

Yet. The decision goes even further. According to the Los Angeles Times: “The majority opinion, by Chief Justice Ronald M. George, declared that any law that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation will from this point on be constitutionally suspect in California in the same way as laws that discriminate by race or gender, making the state’s high court the first in the nation to adopt such a stringent standard.” (,0,6182317.story)

So before I go too far into raining on the “marriage equality” parade, I should think about the ramifications. Court rulings are about establishing precedent and, as Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, about protecting the minority from the tyranny of the majority.

Already, there is a movement in California to get an anti-gay-marriage clause into the constitution. Given that the state has a long history of silly propositions being approved by the public, they just might win.

That would be wrong.

That would be, as Christopher Isherwood put it, living under “the heterosexual dictatorship.”

So maybe I care after all.

Now, about that boyfriend…





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23 responses to “California’s Recent Legalization of Gay Marriage”

  1. flutter Avatar

    Oh jim, if i were a man, i would totally marry you


    Jim! Great piece! xo Tim

  3. Claudia Avatar

    Jim, I have a friend you know…;)

  4. jen Avatar

    it’s not his fault. it’s absurdly hot in palm springs and sucks the joy out of most things.

  5. Minnesota Matron Avatar
    Minnesota Matron

    Jim! You were Radical Queerrrr in grad school (shhh – it didn’t quite work the way you intended but that’s our secret) NOT to worry about that. Who am I to talk? I considered myself the Femme Fatale of the English department (but I did NOT sleep with a certain professor, even though the night after he appeared at a Halloween party where I was convincingly dressed as Madonna -singer, people! – complete with wig and pasties and all kinds of mesh and panties and yes, after following me around all evening the next day he sent me an email that said — “We should have coffee and talk about your work” and I was hot and smart enough to reply “How’s your wife, sweetie?”).

    Sigh. those were the days? May your hot Palm Spring days be even better and full of Boyfriend. Isn’t there a work cafeteria that stores them?

  6. SQT Avatar

    As a Californian myself, I totally agree. The government has no business telling anyone who they can marry.

    Hopefully your single days won’t last too long.

  7. AmyTree Avatar

    For the first time in a long time I am proud to stand up as an American. Or as a Californian, anyway – everyone knows we should be our own independant country… I want a passport with the Great Bear on it!!!

  8. Glamourpuss Avatar

    I’m more interested in gay divorce than gay marriage – that’s the one to watch…


  9. Jazz Avatar

    The court is right in saying they can’t decide who should or shouldn’t get married.

    On the other hand, I don’t see the point in getting married whether you’re gay or hetero – but that’s just me.

  10. citizen of the world Avatar
    citizen of the world

    The courts should allow any consenting adults who are not otherwise-committed to marry. Or have a civil union with all the rights that go with it and leave marriages to the churches. But, personally, I don’t think I ever want to get married again.

  11. Say It Avatar
    Say It

    should I become suddenly single, I can’t say I’d ever marry again. However, I am all for anyone who wants to get married to be able to do so.

  12. Anonymous Avatar

    Thanks for the comments folks. Get married, don’t get married, it’s all the same to me.

    And Mary, you’re the least matronly person I can think of!

    And then there’s Ellen, questioning John McCain about gay marriage. A Cultural Moment is had by all.


  13. liv Avatar

    Jim, have you considered taking a wife? It’s working quite well for my gay husband in California.

  14. Princess Pointful Avatar
    Princess Pointful

    You have the whole of the internets searching for you husband-to-be now!
    Since, you know, Jocelyn’s readers are pretty much the whole internet.

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