Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Straight Marriage Debate

Brad's declaration that he won't marry Angie has been turning over and over in my brain the past week or two, as if it were something of actual import. Esquire has the full article on their site, if you want to read it - along with the accompanying obligatory, fawning star-fuck piece that tries to convince us that Brad is better than all the rest.

Even as I pondered why it matters to me or anyone else whether Brangelina walk down the aisle, I've been reading AfterEllen's coverage of this non-event, and it's been stirring up my thoughts on the matter even more. Sarah Warn thinks that since Brad married Jen previously, his newfound conviction is thanks to Angelina's influence (scroll to the bottom of the page). I'm aware that lesbians love Angelina because she's an out bisexual and a big star, and that's a rare combination. But I'd like to point out that she's been married twice before, and a few years ago declared to Barbara Walters that she wasn't ever going to marry again, because marriage isn't for her. That, to me, is pretty different than saying you won't marry again until everyone can marry.

Today, AfterEllen posted an extended piece by Kim Ficera on why Brad Pitt's statement bothers her. She's tired of straight celebrities using the gay bandwagon to generate PR for themselves, and I can certainly relate. If I never hear another celebrity sex-pot declare her desire to be a lesbian, or "bravely" open up about her past attempts at lesbianism, or "accidentially" get caught smooching another woman, that would be just fine with me. Shocking as this may be to a lotta folks, being a lesbian is not about titillating men, at least not for me or any of the lesbians I know. It's also not something we chose because it was the cool option. When I was 15 and desperate to fit in and realizing that I probably really was gay, believe me, I didn't think to myself, "Cool!" As supportive as most of my friends were when I told them, they didn't say to me, "Oh, I wish I were a lesbian, too." So, as much as I suppose the good publicity is appreciated, I wouldn't mind if we moved past the "lesbian chic" phase and into the "lesbian reality" phase.

Despite all this, though, I disagree with Ms. Ficera's general premise that Brad's only motivation for making this statement is to get publicity. Here's a man who gets asked every single day when he's going to marry the woman he's with. A man who opens his mouth to order from KFC and it gets reported around the world. He could have continued with his "No comment" responses to the marriage question. He could have said, "We both tried that with other people, and it's not for us." He could have said, "For god's sakes, get over it already and leave us the hell alone."

But he didn't this time.

Instead, he said he wouldn't be getting married to the woman with whom he has three children until everyone who wants to can get married. And it got ink in papers around the world. Will this change anything in the great marriage debate? Not at all. Brad Pitt's an actor, not a politician, and probably not someone whose opinions change anybody's minds about anything. But if this is the choice he and Angelina have made, given their public position, what good would it do for him to remain silent?

Ultimately, I won't fall over thanking Brad for taking the stance he has, but I will give him kudos for once again playing the publicity machine so it sings his tune. If someone wants to pay $4 million for pictures of a baby, and the parents of said baby take that money and donate it to a cause they believe in, then more power to them. The same goes for using the press to get the message out if you have the ability to do so.

I sit quietly at my desk and write this blog, hoping it will inspire someone somewhere to think a bit about the marriage question. My reach isn't as far, but is there really any difference between me and Brad?


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