Welcome, Gay Marriage!

A Divorced Straight Man’s Guide to Gay Marriage

Congratulations on Destroying Traditional Marriage—Now Here Are Some Things You Need to Know

A Divorced Straight Man’s Guide to Gay Marriage

James Yamasaki

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Welcome, Gay Marriage!

Take it from someone who's been there—marriage is not all cuddles and kisses and survivor pension benefits (and if you work for Boeing, not even that). Sure, it can be great. For the first couple years, at least. Kind of like living together, but with better appliances and sharper knives.

But marriage isn't easy, and legal recognition won't make yours any stronger. In an era when it's harder to break a lease than it is a marriage contract, that gender-neutral marriage license you just signed is about as meaningful as a Sylvan Learning Center "Certificate of Achievement." That's why about half of all marriages end in divorce.

So if you want to make the most of marriage equality—even a marriage that doesn't last—take a few tips from somebody who's been through all of its stages.

Have a big gay wedding.

After all that fuss, you're going to celebrate your right to marry with a couple of close friends and a justice of the peace? I don't think so. With rights come responsibilities, and your first obligation is to blow a wad of cash on a big fat gay wedding.

You owe it to your community—the thousands of florists, caterers, hoteliers, etc. who are banking on marriage equality to help get our local wedding economy back on track. Throw your own awesome gay-ass wedding. (Consult The Stranger's forthcoming special wedding issue—coming January 23— for ideas.) You owe it to your friends and family, especially us normals. You think it's easy putting aside millennia of tradition/discrimination (and let's be honest, a touch of revulsion), all for the sake of your happiness? The least you owe us for destroying traditional marriage is to throw us a fucking party with a decent meal and an open bar. (I had an open bar at my wedding, and I married into an Irish family. You can afford it.)

But mostly, you owe it to yourselves. You only get married once. Or twice. Rarely more than three times. And sure, your beloved may gradually morph into a selfish, soul-sucking shrew who steals all the joy out of your life. But he or she can never take away the precious memory of your one special day... or more than half the wedding gifts. Which brings us to tip number two.

Demand wedding gifts.

After a couple years of marriage, your romance will lose its edge faster than ice skates on asphalt, but properly cared for, an eight-inch Zwilling J.A. Henckels Pro Chef's Knife ($129.99, on sale at Macy's) will stay as sharp and shiny as the day you unwrapped it. That's why, whether you're a couple of young queens just graduating from college or a pair of old dykes who've been fixing up a West Seattle craftsman forever, you're never too old or too established to enjoy the one benefit of marriage that's bound to last: the wedding gifts.

Love, sex, companionship—that was great and everything, but the KitchenAid Immersion Blender ($39.99 at Target) we got as a gift was a revelation. You can puree soups and sauces right in the pot! Amazing. And while my wife has been gone for more than a decade, rarely a day goes by that I don't still make loving use of our trusty Magnalite Classic 11.25-inch Fry Pan ($72.89 at Sears). Heats evenly and cleans up like magic.

Remember: Love fades, relationships sour, and marriages crumble. But a quality piece of cookware can last a lifetime.

Have kids.

Anybody can sign a license and say "I do," but the ties that truly bind are our children. So I don't care how you do it—adoption, artificial insemination, kidnapping, cloning—if you really want to be equal, if you really want to handcuff yourself to your spouse the way we straights do it, for better or worse, until death do us part, then you need to get yourself some goddamn kids.

You see, once you have children, not even divorce can fully tear your marriage asunder. Every birthday, holiday, soccer game, parent-teacher meeting, graduation, and other such "special" occasions—even your kids' own godforsaken weddings—you'll find yourselves face-to-face, feigning politeness, whether you're still as in love as the day you wed or you now hate each other with an even greater passion.

Imagine your craziest, most regrettable, most embarrassing ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend. Now imagine spending every fucking Thanksgiving with that person for the rest of your natural lives. That's the sort of lifelong commitment that comes only from being divorced with children.

Also, kids are great. (Love you, Katie!) But either way, it just isn't full marriage equality without them.

Get divorced.

It's called "marriage equality," asshole, not "lifestyle one-upmanship." So if about half of you don't end up getting divorced, you're not doing it right. recommended


Comments (35) RSS

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Puty 1
Love the drawing! Love it!
Posted by Puty on December 5, 2012 at 8:48 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 2
This is one of the finest things you've ever written, Goldy. All it needs now is a well-timed dig at Tim Eyman.
Posted by MacCrocodile http://maccrocodile.com/ on December 5, 2012 at 10:25 AM · Report this
Stale premise, condescending, and smacking of bitterness--why are you ppl kissing this guy's ass?
Posted by Not Impressed on December 5, 2012 at 10:43 AM · Report this
Posted by dbgill56 on December 5, 2012 at 10:44 AM · Report this
According to census data divorce rates are at 40 year lows and are steadily dropping (even adjusted for fewer people getting married).


Divorce Rate per 1,000 population

1990 - 4.7

2000 - 4.1

2009 - 3.4

Talking of the failure of marriage as if it's just a fifty-fifty flip of a coin is not considering a slew of facts and likely a belief symptomatic as to the conditions necessary to make a marriage a pre-emptive failure in the first place.

Goldy your failed marriage is exactly that - your failure. Don't project onto an entire new batch of hopefully successful marriages.

Posted by tkc on December 5, 2012 at 11:26 AM · Report this
Gawd-awful piece.
Posted by abercrom on December 5, 2012 at 11:29 AM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 7
I've got a tear in my eye. This was beautiful.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on December 5, 2012 at 11:31 AM · Report this
"You owe it to your friends and family, especially US NORMALS. "

"You think it's easy putting aside millennia of tradition/discrimination (and let's be honest, a touch of revulsion), all for the sake of your happiness?"

Marriage equality is about more than individual happiness. It is about recognizing civil rights and that everyone is entitled to the same rights, privileges, and yes, even responsibilities. Referring to straight folks as normal (and by extension LGBT folks as abnormal) is not only hurtful and rude, but it demonstrates your prejudice.

Posted by LEL on December 5, 2012 at 12:02 PM · Report this
Ian Awesome 9
oh good, I'm glad that straight people are telling queer people how to live their lives, I was really wondering how to feel about marriage equality
Posted by Ian Awesome http://oneangryqueer.blogspot.com on December 5, 2012 at 12:04 PM · Report this
ean 10
this is really funny
Posted by ean on December 5, 2012 at 12:37 PM · Report this
All this is the truth.

Also factor in splitting all your money 50/50 from the day you get married plus all the lovely legal fees. It is so much easier living together. It is so funny to see how hard you all have worked to get this passed. Half of you are going to find this was a really bad decision you made to get married. The best of wishes to the folks who's marriage are successful.
Posted by Seattle 5 on December 5, 2012 at 1:00 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 12
There is a lot A LOT of confusion and mixing of concepts here in the comments. The RIGHT to get married is VERY important. Marriage it self is what two people make it. Because one person is a failure at marriage does not mean others are foolish for wanting it. The people failed the marriage, not the other way around.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on December 5, 2012 at 1:55 PM · Report this
Just got married last weekend (my second and last - her first and last). Weddings are just the icing on a cake when it comes to marriage. Marriage is a pain in the ass but we do it so somebody can be a princess for a day and photographs can be taken as proof that we're husband & wife now. Gay people deserve the same damn rights as straight people. They should be able to hear their parents give toasts after having had several drinks. They should have cake shoved up their noses so they can taste it again later. And as this author has stated, they should have the honor & privaledge of receiving candle sticks, champaign flutes, KitchenAids and Cookware too. Please limit the 1st kiss to "church-toungue" and enjoy!
Posted by Bluecycle on December 5, 2012 at 2:25 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 14
You know, I'm all for telling Goldy where to get off when he's being a selfish, self-pitying dipshit, but all I found in this article was humor. This was pretty funny. Good work, Goldy.
Posted by Matt from Denver on December 5, 2012 at 2:29 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 15
I agree...go for quality gifts..preferably that HE won't like (for when the divorce happens). HEH HEH HEH!!!
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on December 5, 2012 at 3:00 PM · Report this
Odds are 50-50 for success of the first marriage. Odds for success of the third marriage are equivalent of hitting the exacta at the racetrack.
Posted by drinkup on December 5, 2012 at 3:11 PM · Report this
reminds me of the time I was at an anti-prop 8 rally in California ... a guy drove up, looked at our signs and said "hell yes!! gays should have the chance to be just as miserable as I was!"
Posted by abrock_ca on December 5, 2012 at 3:34 PM · Report this
Baconcat 18
Posted by Baconcat on December 5, 2012 at 3:38 PM · Report this
TVDinner 19
I got a set of Henckels as a wedding gift.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on December 5, 2012 at 4:00 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 20
@13- "Just got married last weekend (my second and last - her first and last)."

You sound like you're going to murder her.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on December 5, 2012 at 4:25 PM · Report this
The 50% chance of divorce trope is annoying and false. Funny article, but bullshit statistic.

My own chance of divorce is apparently 11% in the next 5 years. My husband's is 8%. Kind of a neat little tool.
Posted by wxPDX on December 5, 2012 at 5:33 PM · Report this
Too many dicks on the dance floor.
Posted by on the one on December 5, 2012 at 5:39 PM · Report this
Too many dicks on the dancefloor.
Posted by on the one on December 5, 2012 at 5:42 PM · Report this
Goldy, you fucking ROCK!
Posted by auntie grizelda on December 5, 2012 at 10:16 PM · Report this
Why are they so pissed off at that blender? Is it broken? Can they not both agree to a refreshing smoothie?
Posted by ctmcmull on December 6, 2012 at 7:57 AM · Report this
nothing but truth, truth, truth. Rain-on-the-parade truth, but truth nonetheless.
Posted by plum on December 6, 2012 at 10:06 AM · Report this
Almost well camouflaged. If this were sincerely a humour piece, it would have contained a call for a splashy-and-loathsome public proposal.
Posted by vennominon on December 6, 2012 at 2:08 PM · Report this

Posted by CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON on December 6, 2012 at 11:38 PM · Report this
Henckels? Really? Better off asking for Wüsthof s.
Posted by ThursdayFae on December 7, 2012 at 1:02 PM · Report this
@29 Henckels Twin is better. Fun article, Goldy!

@5 ummm... did you look at the data on the link you posted?
Yes, divorce rate per 1k 1990 = 4.7, 2009 = 3.4
but marriage rate per 1k 1990 = 9.8, 2009 = 6.8

So 4.7 / 9.8 = divorces equaled 48% of marriages in 1990
3.4 / 6.8 = divorces equaled 50% of marriages in 2009

But the Census bureau only tracks new marriages and "new" divorces each year, which could be skewed by the fact that the population age distribution is changing. A "bulge" of young people = more new marriages (so looks like fewer marriages ending in divorce, but it's not the case), a bulge of old people = lots of divorces, so it looks like people are more likely to get divorced but that's not the case.

What you really want to know is when people get divorced, how long were they married -- so are people *staying* married longer or not? And you want to track this separately for people who are divorcing for the first time vs. repeat divorces, because that might differ. Maybe first marriages aren't ending in more divorce, but the subset who divorce and remarry are doing it more... You even have to adjust for when people marry -- since they are marrying later (but also living longer), you can't look at divorce by age-of-person, but by duration-of-marriage, and even duration-of-marriage might be skewed if people start living really longer.

The Census bureau does not track any of this and those records aren't easily available -- there are some data from surveys / smaller studies at the national marriage project with this stuff. The 50% figure is basically still accurate, that's the overall chance of divorcing before one spouse dies. But it's much lower for some demographics, higher for others, indeed, the chances of a *first* marriage ending in divorce lower than 50% because the repeat-marriages-divorces boosts the overall divorce rate quite a bit.

Details at:


Of course, the slightly conservative marriage project (NOT NOM) fails to mention that due to conservatives, it's harder and harder to be wealthy and educated, so that demographic is going down.
Posted by delta35 on December 10, 2012 at 1:34 AM · Report this
Even if your kid's other parent doesn't stick around at all you get to have THOSE in-laws FOREVER.
Posted by inlawsareforever on December 10, 2012 at 2:42 AM · Report this
Excellent piece. But please don't think all of us are naively gaga about getting hitched. I and a lot of other people worked very hard and gave a lot of money to get this done, not because we necessarily wanted to get married, but to defeat the assholes who said we shouldn't be allowed.
Posted by JPD on December 29, 2012 at 5:30 PM · Report this
This posting is the God's-honest-truth. Apologies in advance to all our gay friends and relatives who will find out sooner or later
Posted by jcricket, the original on December 29, 2012 at 9:24 PM · Report this
Oh Seattle, why so earnest? Why does the divorce rate equal the amount of people who get their butts in a ruffle because they have no sarcasm meter? Do you need a special font or something to let you know when someone is (gasp) poking fun, example here at the gays AND straights?

Your Norm friend
Posted by Lisa808 on December 31, 2012 at 6:04 AM · Report this
Beetlecat 35
Reading these comments reminds me that so many have lost the ability to understand sarcasm and satire unless it has an innane "colon-close-parentheses" figure at the end of it.

so here you go --> :)
Posted by Beetlecat on January 2, 2013 at 10:00 AM · Report this

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