The Queer Issue

In a 'Star Trek' Outfit

(How Not to Get Married)

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Steven Weissman

The Queer Issue

I've been watching movies of the legally endorsed gay marriages in California, and for the first time in a very long while, I'm feeling hopeful about the future of this country. An America that embraces marriage equality is an America that, for example, would think twice before torturing as a standard procedure. But more selfishly, I'm hoping that the gays, by setting a good example, will save the breeders from themselves.

You see, in the last 40 years, heterosexuals have systematically ruined everything that makes weddings worthwhile.

It all started when some anonymous jerk decided he wanted to get married wearing a Star Trek outfit. That anonymous jerk's wife, perhaps tired of fighting against Kirk posters and Spock dolls and all other things Vulcan and Romulan and Tribble, wearily nodded: Yes, she said, she would dress up like Uhura for a bridal outfit.

Since that day, when the most solemn bond that two human beings can forge was decorated in the style and language of a silly science- fiction television show, heteros have been merrily fucking up weddings in bigger, gaudier, and tackier fashions with each passing year. People are married on roller coasters, while scuba diving, and at Elvis-themed chapels. Brides and grooms have been dressed as superheroes, Hobbits, and Star Wars characters. Childhood dreams of being a princess are dragged out and put on display, embarrassingly, for everyone to see. For four decades, and with increasing avarice, we breeders have done everything we could to make the sacrament of marriage something cheap, like a casino attraction.

Like everyone else with a working human heart, I've been profoundly touched by the exultant stories of gay marriage that have been told in the last few years, in Massachusetts and now in California. Couples that have passionately and patiently loved each other, some for more than half a century, are finally having their love officially recognized as more than a freakish sex bond between second-class citizens. History will show, and possibly sooner than we think, that these citizens of the United States are right to want to publicly declare their love, and those who have opposed same-sex marriage were fighting for a monstrous, antihuman cause. But on a more personal level, I believed that gays would bring class back to marriage—surely, those who have fought so hard for so long would have some respect for the mythic power and dignity of the ceremony?

Then, last year, Disney announced that it was hosting commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples in the same places—Cinderella's castle, if you're wealthy enough—as straight couples. A call to Star Trek: The Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton confirms that they will happily host gay commitment ceremonies on the bridge of the USS Enterprise (with your choice of Federation, Klingon, Andorian, Borg, or Vulcan attendants, and with an optional catered dinner featuring appetizers like "Moogie's Famous Ferengi Flat Bread" or "the Holy Rings of Betazed," which is a tower of onion rings), and my hopes for the sanctity of the ceremony being restored by gay couples evaporated.

One of the first signs that gay marriage has passed the threshold of popular acceptance came last year, when GLAAD announced that every single state in the union has newspapers that run same-sex union announcements. Three-quarters of all U.S. newspaper readers regularly read a paper that carries gay-wedding announcements. But as anyone who's read the New York Times wedding announcement section understands, unwise couples frequently turn these blurbs into the dead-tree-and-ink equivalent of making out with someone while in line at an all-you-can-eat buffet. These announcements have become windows into how quickly gay couples have adopted the sheer geeky disrespect for marriage that it's taken straight nerds decades to develop.

The wedding announcements in Bay Windows, a Boston-based gay alternative weekly, are just as embarrassing as the straight counterparts: A couple boasts of meeting for the first time at a Fuddruckers restaurant in Natick, and their first dance was to Celine Dion's "At Last." Another pair of men were married in matching Utilikilts. "He's turned me into a raving Trekkie," one man exclaims in his public announcement of eternal devotion to his husband, "And every night we watch Voyager or Deep Space Nine or something like that. And that's our little quality time together, the only thing we're really both rabid about."

One lesbian couple in England proudly sent photos of their wedding cake, which was fashioned to look like the Death Star in the Star Wars films, to local news outlets, and the cake made the internet rounds. The bakery initially refused to fashion a wedding cake in the image of a fictional device that killed billions of people until one of the brides huffed, "Look, it's my big gay wedding and we want a Death Star!"

It doesn't have to be this way, gays. I was relying on you, and it's still not too late for you to save the wedding as a meaningful, important cultural institution.

Listen: I am not a religious man. Never once, from the day of my birth until today, have I even entertained the concept that there was anything remotely resembling a God or an afterlife. You might wonder why I should care about how people get married, a ceremony that has primarily been a religious rite for six millennia. But I do care; I get weepy at good weddings faster than many of the matronly ladies in the shiny peach dresses.

It's the ceremony that really does it for me. There are so few meaningful ceremonies in modern life (eighth-grade graduations and other manufactured feel-good achievement-fests don't count), and this one meaningful chance for you to celebrate an actual, bona fide rite of passage is too good, and too important, to mess up. Calling all your friends and family into one place to ritualistically announce that you're going to make this person you love a member of your family, and love and care for that person until the day you die, is some serious shit. Entire bloodlines are forever bound together; strangers are made into kin. For one day—one day in your entire life!—you can put away the Barbie cake toppers and napkins with Garfield printed on them and act like a goddamned adult.

It's still early in this historic hour; millions of gay couples around the country and the world will one day marry. As has always been the case, as with fashion and slang and dance music, heteros will look to the gay community for their cues. For heaven's sake, gay people: Set a better example for us than we have set for you. You are declaring your love to the world. Show a little self-respect: Leave the pointy ears and laser guns at home, in private, where they belong. recommended


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I hope the excercise of writing this was satisfying and cathartic in and of itself, because sadly it can't really address the fundamentals of your problem. You are imputing meaning in the act of ritual, or as you say, ceremony, as if this were some universal thing. Though not said directly, there appears to be an uspoken linking here of ceremony with tradition- a link which is often the case, though certainly it isn't always a given. There also seems to be an implied level of gravitas and seriousness inherent in the ritual which you require as well, for meaning to be found. Unfortunately, you speak as if there were some universal sort of meaning, as if traditional ceremony and gravitas inherently confer meaning in the hearts and minds of all the participants. I imagine that neither jumping over a broomstick, a ceremony with limited ritual but with a traditional, historical pedigree, nor a Klingon Wedding with limited pedigree but ritual and seriouness to spare, would satisfy. Since deep meaning is not necessarily the same for all people, it follows that it won't be the case for all gays and lesbians either. If anything, as the trend-setters for us all that you claim them to be, wouldn't you expect gays and lesbians to give us even less traditional/conventional ceremonies?
All of this, of course, you knew already, but I respect your desire to see meaning be restored as the most important part in the wedding ceremonies of anyone who gets married. Even if it never really went away in the first place!
Posted by Edholly on September 12, 2008 at 5:12 PM · Report this
strange that you would assume marrying in a star trek costume wasn't the girls idea?! i'm a woman and the only way i'd ever demean myself by getting married would be in a star trek uniform.

recently i went to one of those precious sacred ceremonies of which you speak where the woman was told she was inferior, made of his rib, and that it was now her duty to obey. she wobbled down the isle with her lotus-foot high heels, breath-denying white dress showing her virginal worth to be purchased, make-up making her acceptable for her comfortable-looking ugly groom.

no wonder these events make you cry! seeing someone sold into legalized slavery makes me sad too. when exactly was the time span where marriage was a sacrament? in the 50's when wife meant slave you can buy for free? before that? no it was worse. it seems like its been nothing but a way for people to profit by trading and selling women. what would make marriage sacred? a big silly white dress that looks like cinderella? so cinderella is ok if its "classy" but not star trek because you don't like it. a show that gave all of us non-male and non-white people hope for a future where WE mattered. maybe that's more sacred to some than a hate filled ceremony based on a book that considers blacks subhuman and women nothing but a part of man. hopefully gay people will not be so ignorant as to adopt ceremonies that have been used to negate their worth for millennia. what's the difference between following the doctrine of one fantasy book instead of following the doctrine of a science fiction book? leave your sexist backward ideas at the republican nation convention and let the rest of us decide what gets to be sacred on our private day.
Posted by ash on September 15, 2008 at 12:29 PM · Report this
Holy shit those were some tl;dr whiny-ass comments.

Posted by trizfay on January 29, 2009 at 2:53 PM · Report this
You think gays are not going to have theme weddings? I'm going to guess that 70% of all gay weddings will have some lame theme. They all love dressing up, You know, they're all gay like that.
Posted by potatoe on February 8, 2009 at 11:08 AM · Report this

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