August 29, 2000
Ms. Elizabeth Toledo, Executive Director National Gay and Lesbian Task Force 1700 Kalorama Road, NW Washington, DC 20009-2624
Dear Ms. Toledo:
The mainstream gay rights movement has made a solid case for gay marriage by framing it within the context of civil rights and social justice issues. Inequities in taxation, health insurance, hospital visitation, and inheritance rights all highlight the second-class status of gay and lesbian relationships. Legalized gay marriage holds the potential to obliterate institutionalized heterosexual privilege while asserting a parity of esteem between gay and straight America.
Markedly absent from the debate is a rallying cry, which, if harnessed properly, will create the groundswell of support necessary to legalize gay marriage in all 50 states. I happened upon this idea while in the kitchen of a newly married friend. There I found some of the most gorgeous culinary accoutrements this side of William Sonoma, all the booty of their recent union. They even had a blender-phone!--a telephone combined with a traditional blender. Instead of ringing, it blends. A blender-phone!
My best friend David, a radical homosexual, argues that bridal registries are merely slops the ruling class feeds those who replicate--and thus reinforce--its oppressive structures. He points out that it is not the bourgeoisie that fills a bridal registry, but the wedding guests. David is less interested in common sense than in plotting the demise of heterosexual propagandist Nora Ephron.
There is nothing inherently reactionary about wanting a bridal registry. The desire for kitchenware transcends race, class, gender, and sexuality. Many would-be activists may shrug their shoulders about legal battles in Hawaii and Vermont, but show them what they're missing from Pottery Barn, show them the blender-phone, and we have ourselves a movement!
Sincerely, Kenneth H. Cleaver
October 12, 2000
Kenneth H. Cleaver P.O. Box 810 Bedford, NY 10506
Dear Mr. Cleaver:
Thank you for your letter of late August regarding gay marriage. It is a cleverly satiric piece with several salient points.
LGBT marriage is a civil rights issue. Unfortunately, not all LGBT individuals see it as such and some succumb to apathy. Did you happen to see the article in the Washington Blade last month reporting on the findings of a study suggesting that same-sex marriages could generate up to $10 billion annually in additional federal income taxes? It reminded me a bit of your letter.
Thanks again for writing.
For equality, Elizabeth Toledo
From the May 24-30, 2001 issue of the Northern California Bohemian.