I met a lot of interesting people last week, none more interesting than Joe and Tim.
Joe, Tim and I were acquainted last Wednesday, at our cruise ship’s dinner buffet. It all started when I entered the dining room with two friends and the host seated us on one side of a small six-person table.
I got my food first and sat down. Soon thereafter Sarah, a college freshman with just-braided hair, joined me.
Sarah and I had just started introducing ourselves when two men sat down beside her. Sarah was from Massachusetts, and she explained that she had not been on the same spring break trip I had, but was just spending the week in Florida and on our cruise for the day.
“I came with my dad,” she said. “This is Joe.”
I nodded at Joe, a strapping 50-something fellow with a goatee and a body-building shirt.
“And this is Tim,” Sarah said.
I said ‘Hi’ to Tim: a younger, smaller, man who was wearing a hat.
My friends soon joined us at the table, and Sarah introduced them to herself and her father Joe. She also introduced them to Tim.
We talked with Sarah, Joe and Tim over dinner, discussing our travels and our food. Sarah, Joe and Tim left at one point for more, leaving the three of us by ourselves.
“You know what would make this conversation really awkward,” my friend jokingly said, “if one of us said he had a boyfriend and was here to visit him.”
“Uh… I actually think they are,” said my other friend.
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“What? No way”
“Yeah, I think that’s who Tim is. But I’m not sure at all.”
I was surprised at my friends’ uncertainty. It seemed pretty clear to me that Joe and Tim were indeed a couple, and I pointed out their matching earrings and the awkward introducing of Tim to support myself. All doubts were erased once it came time for dessert, and we witnessed a flirtatious exchange between the two.
“Why aren’t you eating your key lime pie,” Joe said to Tim, while eating four squares of it himself.
“You know I don’t like key lime pie,” replied Tim. “I got it for you.”
We finished our meals and said our goodbyes. “So,” said my friend as we left, “who was the pitcher and who was the catcher?” We all chuckled, and not just because the answer was obvious. “Okay, I shouldn’t say that,” he said, “they were really nice guys.”
Joe and Tim certainly were nice people, and I was glad to have met them. I bet most people my age have had similar experiences with homosexual people, most of whom are not in-your-face about their private lives, especially to strangers.
Such suggests a potentially huge increase in the chances of Americans one day supporting gay marriage. Because while today’s voters overwhelmingly oppose it, many are elderly or middle-aged people who have never met, yet alone befriended, homosexuals, and who in some cases put them on par with child molesters.
Twenty years from now, the situation will be much different. Most Americans will have friends who are homosexuals, and will have grown up watching shows like Will and Grace. They’ll remember dinners with Joe and Tim, and they’ll wonder what the problem is.
“Why shouldn’t Joe and Tim be allowed to get married,” many will think. “They’re not hurting anybody.”
Supporters of gay marriage are already a step ahead on this. See, the question should never be whether Joe and Tim should “be allowed” to get married, as marriage is not an autonomous action that the government now prevents homosexuals from engaging in. Marriage is instead a designation society gives to people, historically and religiously to protect women. The question should be whether society should “marry” gays, not let them get married.
Joe and Tim’s wedding would hurt no one. But to take a libertarian perspective and simply marry them because they love each other and want to share workers’ benefits is illogical, as it would require a government to recognize groups of people as “married” if they so wanted.
But gay activists are a step ahead, as most people just ask whether gays should “be allowed” to get married. If that remains the question at hand, then gay marriage in America will one day become a reality.
Nathan Carleton is a Trinity senior. His column appears Thursdays.