As a long time reader of The New York Times I was shocked by a piece in the Sunday edition titled, “For Some, the Beginnings of Gay-Wedding Fatigue”. The author of the piece, Brooks Barnes, a respected NYT and former Wall Street Journal writer (and a “hardhearted gay man”) details the woes of having to attend too many gay weddings. He admits to “complaining about the wed-a-thon happening among his friends.” He quotes Mark Shields, a former staffer at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) – where marriage equality is a top priority – who says he has gay wedding burn-out.
To say I am appalled by this piece, and by the remarks of Mr. Shields, is a serious understatement.
Gay wedding fatigue – really?? There is no room for flippant, careless and self-absorbed commentary when the LGBT community is fighting for its equal rights, its civil rights under the law. There is no humor in a couple who desires the legal protections of marriage. There is no room for sophomoric rhetoric when referencing the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the barrier that separates the legal recognition of my same-sex marriage and my heterosexual neighbor’s marriage.
There are 1138 rights and provisions that are lost between my front door and my neighbor’s front door. Mr. Shields, you worked six years for the HRC. I would hope and expect you would have a more sensitive understanding of the profundity of what is happening to families in this country as they wait for true equality.
A blue and yellow bumper sticker does not raise the public image of equality. It should however, raise the commitment of the person who proudly displays it. Mr. Shields and Mr. Barnes, now is not the time for your fatigue. Now is the time for you, and for all of us, to work nonstop to insure our brothers and sisters know true American unity and equality. It starts with you. It starts with me. It starts with each of us. And it needs to start now.
Charlene Strong is a nationally-respected advocate for marriage equality and social justice issues. She is a co-founding principal of LFB Advocacy Group and TSL Media.