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04/09/2007

To wish upon a star, it makes no difference who you are!

by Jeremy Hooper

Picture 2-70In response to the announcement that the Walt Disney Co. will allow gay couples to hold commitment ceremonies as part of their "Fairy Tale Weddings" program, Sonja Dalton of the so-called "Americans For Truth" organization has the following to say:

Disney will be marketing a fantasy wedding indeed — after all, homosexual pairs cannot obtain a marriage license in Florida or California.

So deluded homosexuals may shell out over $8,000 for a wedding planner, feast, flowers and decorations, and a ride in a giant pumpkin, but, at the stroke of midnight, when the mist clears and the last fleck of glitter floats to the ground, the perverted pair will discover ’twas all merely an illusion. Two men or two women may play dress-up in tiaras and tulle and tuxes (respectively), but afterward they will remain immoral in the eyes of God and unmarried in the eyes of man; same-sex pairs can never experience the mystery of becoming “one flesh” nor the miracle of procreation.
....
One can’t help but wonder: Will Disney now accept “Fairy Tale Wedding” reservations from parties of three or four — now that they’re not making judgments (or upholding state law)?

So first off: It's a little inappropriate for someone who dedicates the vast majority of their life to keeping gay couples legally single to criticize this development on the basis that the nuptials will be unrecognized in the eyes of the law. After all, it's not for lack of trying on the pro-gay side, but rather a lack of acceptance on the anti-gay one, that keeps these unions unequal. Ms. Dalton's patronizing attitude in this area is sort of like a kid condescendingly telling her peers that they can't swim in the local pool because it's filled with pee, yet refusing to acknowledge that she was one of the tinklers who injected urine into that chlorinated bath. She is sullying the waters in which we desperately want to swim, then acting as if the waste is due not to a leak in human judgment, but rather a discharge from a divine bladder that wants to piss on those who love differently!

Moving on: Wedding ceremonies as a whole are a contrivance. An illusion. A fairy tale. Countless brides-to-be dream of a fantasy experience that will leave them feeling like royalty for at least one night. However, at the end of the day, these brides are just as legally bound to their spouses as are the poor girls who went to the justice of the peace in their wedding jeans and held their receptions in the McDonald's drive-thru. That's because it is only the civil, legal contract that realistically binds married couples. The ceremonies, the religious aspects, the honeymoons -- they are all accoutrements.

Now, this is not to offend those for whom the religious aspect is key. For many, many folks, a marriage that does not take place in a house of God is completely out of the question. For these people (of whom we're assuming Sonja Dalton is among), they can't even fathom separating the religious from the civil. However, unless Jesus has returned in the form of Mulan, we are not talking specifically about religious ceremonies when we speak of marriages or commitment ceremonies performed in Disney's magic kingdom! What we are talking about is a secular company offering their home to worthy couples of all religious faiths and backgrounds (including an absence of faith). Ms. Dalton is more than free to consider gay couples "perverted" and "immoral in the eyes of God." However, those personal moral beliefs mean zippy doo dah when speaking about ceremonies performed in the eyes of Mickey!

As for Ms. Dalton's use of that popular "pro-family" tactic of linking gay marriage to polyamorous unions: Well, perhaps Disney will someday allow groupings of more than two to pay money and have some sort of a secular, love-pledging ceremony. After all, in this particular sector, we can see how these groupings could have a valid argument (regardless of our personal thoughts on the matter or the legal rights issues involved). However, if that were to happen (and we do think it's highly unlikely), Disney wouldn't be going against state laws, just like they're not going against state law when same-sex couples are allowed to hold commitment ceremonies! Again, the Disney part of these "Fairy Tale Weddings" holds no legal power! The marriage license is not found at the Pirates of the Caribbean gift shop and the person who has matrimonial power vested in the them by the state does not (generally) work in a Donald Duck costume. Disney is offering the illusion; the religious is at the discretion of the involved parties and the legal is prescribed by state and federal law!

As per her wont, Ms. Dalton is trying to muddy the waters between matrimony & ceremony, religious & civil, and God & Aladdin. Just like Disney doesn't require one to be "this Baptized" to ride Space Mountain or only accept heterosexual money at the '50s Prime Time Cafe, they are no longer using one-sided views on morality to dictate which couples are eligible for their "Fairy Tale Weddings." Over time, it is likely, nay certain, that gay couples will not only be able to hold a ceremony at the Mouse House, but that those ceremonies will also be in recognition of a LEGAL marriage. However, that newfound legality will change nothing in terms of Disney's already secular, already non-legally binding offerings. It will simply mean that when these gay couples leave the world of make-believe and head home to the real world, they will be given just as much chance to live happily ever after as Jasmine, the millionaire Jewish bride who held a traditional religious ceremony; Jamie Sue, the welfare mother who got married in the most secular of Vegas ceremonies; or any other committed couple who has pledged a vow of co-Mickey-ment commitment.

Disney’s “Fairy Tale Weddings” and Make-Believe Marriages [AFT]

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