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Take My Civil Unionized Partner, Please
by Jennifer Parello

This article shared 1475 times since Wed Dec 8, 2010
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We were driving down a country road in the Lake District of England when one of my British friends spotted a sign that pointed the way to the remains of an ancient Roman bath.

"Oooh, let's stop!," Jayne trilled. "I adore ruins."

"That's why you married one!," I called out from the back seat, delighted as always when I make a clever remark in the moment. Usually these come hours later, well after the statute of limitations has expired for a witty retort.

"We're NOT married," Jude, Jayne's "wife" grumbled from the driver's seat. The British gays have civil unions, not marriage.

"Well, it's not as funny to say 'that's why you civil unionized one,'" I responded, quite sensibly.

And, that, my friends, is the main reason why I think gays should be able to marry. Because it's funnier than getting civil unionized.

"Take my wife, please!"

"I take my wife everywhere, but she always finds her way back."

These classic jokes would lose so much punch if we were forced to replace "wife" with "civil union partner."

For years, I've been ambivalent about gay marriage. In the plus column for marriage:

It would cause many Republicans to explode. I mean that literally. Gay marriage would pass and Republicans would spontaneously combust. It would be messy but fun.

I'm intrigued by the idea of alimony, but only if it works in my favor.

I've always found ball-and-chain imagery rather titillating.

In the minus column:

Most married people don't have a lot of sex… or I should say that most married people don't have a lot of sex with each other. And I like sex. It's messy and fun, just like exploding Republicans.

When you're married, you have to go to your wife's relatives on holidays. That would make my mother mad! When you're not married, you are not considered a fully realized grown-up, and, thus, your middle-aged carcass is expected at your traditional place at the children's table at your parents' home for every holiday.

The mere mention of the word marriage makes me clammy and claustrophobic. When it comes up in conversation, I immediately begin looking for an exit sign. Maybe it's because marriage is an institution based on ownership and I don't want to be anyone's chattel. Unless, of course, I'm cast in the role of chattel as part of some type of role-playing sex romp. Then I'll merrily cede control of my personage, but only for a half hour or so.

So, when news got to England on the teletype that Illinois, the state that bore and raised me, passed civil unions for the gays, I was both happy and sad. Hurray for the liberal-minded, no-nonsense, completely corrupt but totally loveable Illinois state legislature for allowing the gays to enter into a dreary bureaucratic contractual agreement! Fantastic news, but not all that romantic.

I've been to civil union ceremonies in England, and while it's always touching to watch friends in long, loving, committed relationships formally agree to stick it out together until one of them dies, the civil ceremony lacks the panache of a wedding. Basically, in a civil service, you vow to be best pals and you seal the deal with a firm handshake. Marriage is more terrifying and, thus, more romantic.

And, so, while I really kind of hate marriage, I really kind of love it, too. Without it, we'd put a lot of old Jewish comedians out of business. With it, we'd get to watch Sarah Palin, the entire Bush family, and the new Speaker of the House whose last name sounds suspiciously like an erect penis explode in front of our eyes.

This article shared 1475 times since Wed Dec 8, 2010
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