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07/30/2007

Annals of annoying media coverage: Rock star 'marriage' edition

by Jeremy Hooper

Attention totality of media: The Scissors Sisters' Jake Shears will not, in fact, be getting married in New Jersey in the coming year (unless there is a law change)! No gay man will be getting married in New Jersey, because same-sex marriage is not yet legal in the Garden State!!!

So what makes us feel the need to say this to the world's news writers? Well...

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...because the media coverage of the news that Shears and his partner plan to get a civil union in New Jersey next spring has been ridiculously erroneous! And while these errors would likely be looked on by our opposition as a furthering of "the gay agenda," such misrepresentations actually hurt our "human agenda"-laden fight for marital equality. These misstatements confuse people into thinking we already have the abilities for which many of us are still tirelessly fighting. Those who do not fight for gay rights do not always know the ins-and-outs of the fight, and therefore need to be schooled in the disparities that still exist with a civil unions systems, rather than be made to believe that when Mr. Shears signs his papers in the Garden State, he's going to be able to come back to Manhattan and enjoy all of the same rights as his married hetero neighbors. Such is simply not the case!

Look, we couldn't be happier for Mr. Shears, and we fully understand why a Manhattanite would want to take advantage of the New Jersey civil unions system until full marriage equality is granted here in the Empire State. But no matter if his bash is truly the "campest-ever," he and his partner still will not be filing a joint New York tax return until the state Senate wises up. Even if Kylie does show up to his ceremony, hundreds of state and federal rights will still not. And no matter how "technicolour" Mr. Shears' soiree, the discrimination will still be spelled out in black and white. You get the picture.

A news outlet has a responsibility to report facts, obviously. We would also argue that a gay marriage advocate has a responsibility to visibly represent their less-than-equal status as plainly as possible. Many of our potential straight allies are just as enraged by the sub-par treatment afforded to our relationships as are members of the LGBT community. However, they will be far less likely to join us in this modern civil rights fight if they're confused into believing that we can just hop on the New Jersey Turnpike and claim a full piece of nuptials bagel pie.

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Your thoughts

Wait, Jake Shears is marrying Kylie Minogue?

I kid obviously. That's how rumors get started.

Posted by: Howard | Jul 30, 2007 3:14:34 PM

Applause for getting how important it is to try to correct the "record" about this, as challenging as that is. IMHO it's just more evidence of how unserious mainstream media considers gay rights issues generally. So many outlets would never report such blatant errors about any other subject so much in the news. "Black actress Lindsay Lohan arrested again."

And, it's not new. Some will remember all the stories in the late 80s about former Mr. Universe Bob Paris and Rod Jackson getting "married" on, what was it, the Joan Rivers show? The then-couple certainly meant well, but so did the gays who encouraged the expressions "gay lifestyle" and "sexual preference" and look how those have been used against us.

One needn't read many of my posts to sense the deep reserves of anger I have not just toward the antigay industry but those gay groups I believe have contributed to their power. Maybe GLAAD leaders should table the typically ignored press releases for a while and actually get publicly in the faces of those perpetuating such nonsense just as GLAAD cofounder Vito Russo and others did when "Harper's" magazine printed a lengthy and vicious article about gays in the 70s. Sample quote: "If I had the power to do so I would wish homosexuality off the face of the earth." They "invaded" Harper's offices, complete with donuts for the staff, and the resulting coverage revolutionized [for its time] the way other media [if not Harper's] covered us. And, of course, without actions by ACT UP, AIDS in the US would still be killing tens of thousands a year. Why has street activism been removed from the arsenal of weapons of our national and most regional groups?

Posted by: Leland | Jul 30, 2007 6:09:01 PM

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