American Foundation for Equal Rights

NYT/Frank Rich: Two Weddings, a Divorce and ‘Glee’


Published: June 12, 2010

THOSE of us left off the guest list could only fantasize about Rush Limbaugh’s nuptials last weekend. Now cruising into marriage No. 4 — an impressive total for a guy not quite 60 — Rush staged a lavish luau at the Breakers in Palm Beach. The revelers included what some might regard as the Rat Pack from hell — Sean Hannity, Rudy Giuliani, James Carville and Clarence Thomas. The scriptural readings remain a mystery. But we did learn the identity of the pop deity anointed as the wedding singer. That would be Elton John, whose sole, albeit second-class, wedding was a civil union with David Furnish in 2005.

Why would America’s right-wing radio king hire an openly gay entertainer to star at his wedding? And why would one of the world’s foremost AIDS activists sing “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” for a gay-baiting provocateur who has trivialized AIDS and speculated that same-sex marriage could lead people to marry dogs? Sir Elton’s fee was reported to be a cool $1 million. Which goes to show that pop music and cash have the power to make even stranger bedfellows than politics.

June is America’s month for weddings, and were we so inclined, we could bemoan Limbaugh, an idol to the family-values crowd, for marrying a woman barely half his age. Alternatively, we could lament Al and Tipper Gore’s divorce, which has produced so many cries of shock you’d think they were the toy bride and groom atop a wedding cake rather than actual flesh-and-blood people capable of free will. But let’s refrain from such moralistic hand-wringing. The old truth remains: We never know what goes on in anyone else’s marriage, and it’s none of our business. Here’s a toast to happiness for the Gores and Limbaughs alike, wherever life takes them.

But there is a shadow over marriage in America just the same. The Gores and Limbaughs are free to marry, for better or for worse, and free to enjoy all the rights (and make all the mistakes) that marriage entails. Gay and lesbian couples are still fighting for those rights. That’s why the most significant marital event of June 2010 is the one taking place in San Francisco this Wednesday, when a Federal District Court judge is scheduled to hear the closing arguments in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the landmark case challenging Proposition 8, California’s same-sex marriage ban. A verdict will soon follow, setting off an appeals process that is likely to land in the Supreme Court, possibly by the 2011-12 term…

Read the full piece here.