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Defending Marriage

by Kevin Isom

Saddam Hussein will never attack American marriages again. That's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear that Congress has passed a "Defense of Marriage Act." Then you realize that Saddam hasn't assaulted American marriage at all. He's been busy attacking the Kurds. Who, then, could be menacing American marriages? Why, the homosexuals, of course!

Come again?

Where did our esteemed Congresspersons get the idea that the remote possibility of legalized same sex marriage in Hawaii threatened the state-sanctioned union of "one man-one woman"? The question bears examining.

Maybe DOMA, as it's called (rhymes with "coma"), could be explained logically. Why, if same sex couples could marry, I bet straight Dicks all over America would say, "Gee, Jane, I thought I wanted to marry you, but now my options are enlarged. I've decided to go to the chapel with Bob instead, so I'm outta here!" Yeah, right. And if you believe that, I've got a great bridge I'd like to sell you. It's in Atlantis.

So what, then, is the legislators' big fear? That hordes of happy homosexuals will use up all the rice? Rent out all the best reception halls? Book up all the sought-after caterers? (Heck, most of the sought-after caterers are gay themselves.)

Maybe they're defending the marriage of "history and tradition." Marriage has been the same since time immemorial, right? Wrong. Remember King Solomon's marriage? To several hundred wives? Read John Boswell's book *Same Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe*. Marriage as it's presently conceived has only been around for at best several hundred years. Out of a human history of several million years. Let's try the math. Several hundred years is what percentage of several million years? Hmm. Maybe the brains of DOMA's sponsors haven't evolved enough to handle that level of arithmetic yet.

Speaking of whom, answer me this: Is Representative Bob Barr, DOMA's chief architect in the House, defending his first, second, or third marriage? Gingrich his first, or second? Dole his first, or second? Clinton, of course, stays above the fray. It's widely rumored that he just plays around.

Okay, then. What else could lead our legislators to this DOMA-tose state? Let's see. Public sanction of same sex marriage could lead to certain benefits and responsibilities for such couples. Things like health insurance availability, inheritance rights, child custody rights and duties, and next of kin rights and obligations. And these benefits and responsibilities would have the effect of lending greater stability to a segment of society's families, right? Well, that's it! Nobody would be stupid enough to want a more stable society, now would they? Why didn't I think of it before!

I am so grateful, so very touched, that all those nice Congresspersons up in Washington were kind enough to save me from the impending calamity. Who cares that the federal budget's not balanced, and my portion of the national debt is something like $65,000? Who cares that Medicare faces bankruptcy in a few years? Or that there may be no social security left when I retire? Silly me. Those issues are obviously not important enough for Congress to address.

But marriage is now safe. Unless, of course, those nasty courts find DOMA unconstitutional.

We can only hope.


Kevin Isom is an attorney and writer in Atlanta. His columns appear in newspapers and magazines throughout the U.S. and Canada. Other work has appeared in Paris Transcontinental, The Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review, and other magazines.
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