When I drove cross country in 2007, I had a conversation with a friend who, had since I left the DC-area in 1999, married his partner in a church ceremony. Until he met his husband, my friend refrained from sexual activity, doing his part to set an example of the “responsible” single homosexual and not wanting to engage in sexual activity without emotional attachment.
In our conversation in ’07, several years after he and his beloved exchanged their vows, he confessed that he wished he had experimented more in his single days. Despite this change in attitude about those days, he remain committed to the ideal of marital monogamy; he would remain faithful to his betrothed. That conversation came to mind this afternoon when I read Jennifer Rubin’s latest commentary on Anthony Weiner:
Women whom he apparently told his wife about before their marriage but could not bring himself to give up. The press isn’t invading his mind or his bedroom; it’s looking at his Tweets and talking to the women on whose Timeline he was willing to risk his marriage, his career and his self-respect.
Emphasis added. My friend recognizes in word and deed what Weiner understood only in word, that marriage vows change things. A gay man understands the meaning of marriage, a notion which a powerful straight man refuses to integrate into his life. If Weiner wasn’t willing to give up his sexual flirtations with other women, why then did he get married?
Even as the gay man referenced in this post recognizes the mistakes (if mistakes they were) he had made in not “experimenting” before he met his beloved, he won’t let his past failure alter his existing marital vows.
Some men, both gay and straight (and I would dare say some women as well), refuse to recognize the responsibilities which inhere in the very idea of marriage. In exchange for the lifelong commitment of your betrothed, you agree, to borrow an expression, to forsake all others. Here, the gay man instructs a straight counterpart on the meaning of marriage.
FROM THE COMMENTS: David in N.O. writes, “BTW, any marriage supporter who says extra-marital trysting is ok is no supporter of marriage of any kind.” He got that right.