Has Dan Savage Crossed the Line?

A few weeks ago the New York Times Magazine published a piece by Mark Oppenheimer about marriage and fidelity. According to Mr Savage the whole purpose of marriage should be stability rather than fidelity.

Thwarting one’s own sexual impulses in the name of some fruitless ideal is, Savage argues, a recipe for unhappiness. While the Rainbow Sash Movement recognizes the good Mr. Savage has done we believe he is promoting an idea concerning Gay marriage that is out of step with the Gay Community.

The issue he is raising is based on a monogamous, or a non-monogamous concept of marriage. This idea was hotly debated in the area right after Stonewall, and got its support from some elements of the Gay Movement’s political fringe. In other words Mr. Savage is putting old wine in new wine skins. Fidelity is intimately linked to monogamy.

While infidelity may be widely practiced in our opinon, it is not the ideal many Gay or Straight couples strive for. Falling short of this goal should not be seen as an indication that the goal is less worthy because many younger members of our society may fail in their attempts. As we age many in our senior communities understand that monogamy is as normal as breathing the air we take in.

How does the concept of fidelity play in our whole society? Don’t know because very little notice appears to be given to that. The focus seems to be directed at those in their 20s and 30s.

Mr. Savage describes himself as a cultural Catholic and Gay Male. We honor him for his self-identification, and only ask that he be more open ended when he judges others for falling short on the issue of fidelity. We understand there is a broad diversity in the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender (GLBT) Catholic Community about our sexual ethic, as there is in the broader GLBT Community. But diversity of opinion does not necessarily mean that all Tradition is bad.

According to Savage, “We can’t help our urges, and we should not lie to our partners about them… In a post-Freudian world.” This is certainly a jaded opinion of the reality of our humanity, but none the less an opinion that must be challenged.

Our sexual fantasies are just that. It is our belief we all have them. Our mind is like a flowing river of thoughts just because those thoughts come into our mind does not necessarily mean it is either healthy or good for us to act on them. Some in our society are haunted with thoughts of suicide does that mean they should give into those thoughts?

We disagree with the view our urges are simply natural, pure, “truly us,” “our authentic selves.” Those urges must always be analyzed to make sure they do not damage either ourselves or others. It is our opinion that Dan Savage has crossed the line, and that his reasoning must be challenged.

While Mr. Savage and the Rainbow Sash Movement may differ on this issue we believe there are areas where we have common ground.

Bill O’Connor
Rainbow Sash Movement

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