Stephen Fry Wants To Get Married, And
That Means The World Is Going To End.
Or, You Know.... Not.
Or, You Know.... Not.
Stephen Fry, the very erudite and popular British actor, director, and author, announced today that he intends to marry his boyfriend, Elliot Spencer.
Spencer is 27. Fry is 57.
Upon learning of the couple's plans, the internet went indiscriminately crazy, essentially breaking the land-speed record in their haste to post the first, best, most pithy kind of snark they could muster to weigh in on the announcement.
We'll put aside the cruel remarks about two men marrying; the ignorant have been rending their garments and availing themselves of every bully pulpit available, advocating against single-sex unions since time out of mind, and since gay marriage is legal in Great Britain, where Fry and Spencer reside, the ignorant don't get a vote as to when, where or how they consecrate their union.
But equally cruel- and equally ignorant, in my opinion- are the remarks that linger on the salubrious details of the age gap, and the rampant "ick" factor associated with it- and that somehow, these two men are not only somehow lesser for wanting to be together, they're at the very least somehow suspect, and at the worst, some kind of monsters or social outcasts, just for declaring their love and intention to marry.
This bothers me as much as the strident homophobia does- whether real, implied, or accidental.
If Stephen Fry were the same age as the man he loves everyone'd be "oh, how lovely, how cute, those two young gay boys getting married, how sweet".
But because there's a 30 year age difference, all of a sudden these two people are being judged on how old they are. Or aren't. And how "gross" Fry is, and what a "gold-digger" his fiance must be.
To repeat: Fry is 57. Spencer, his soon to be husband, is 27. Neither babe in the basket or slavering senile senior here; just two human beings at different points on the chronological spectrum. Both coming to a common union the same way everyone else does- from a wealth of disparate life experiences unique to themselves.
Really? Is this what we choose to focus our collective wrath on today? REALLY?
The horrible truth is that with every snarky remark about "cradle-robbing" or "he's in it for the money", be it public or private, the slim chance these two have at happiness grows ever slimmer, and it's not right.
They're not doing anything immoral, or evil, or even wrong- and yet we feel we have the right to make horrible comments about them being brave enough to express their love and desire to be together, based on a a disparity in their ages.
That collective negative judgment implies that because the idea of them being a couple makes us squirm, Fry and Spencer should be denied their happiness- and THAT is DEFINITELY not right.
What constitutes a palatable marriage, gay, straight or otherwise? Is is Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka with their photogenic twins and slick cosmopolitan lives? Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi? Prince William and Kate Middleton?
Why do we have a hard time accepting anything but the premise that couples only get to be couples when the age gap between them is so narrow that you can't see daylight through it?
It bothers me because I'm not far off from Stephen Fry's age, and I don't know what I'd do if I were alone, but I do know that I would not want to be subjected to the scorn and disgust that's been heaped upon him and the man he loves. EVER.
I'd rather kill myself than live in a world that treats me like a monster, when all I want is to be with the person who loves me, and wants to be with me. With the ADULT who loves me, and wants to be with me.
Stephen Fry’s and Elliott Spencer’s happiness threatens no one. It takes nothing away from you, me, those we love or our way of life.
There's nothing wrong with Stephen Fry, or Elliott Spencer, or the fact that they want to be together.
What is wrong is how we have chosen to react to it; our demons have once more succeeded in shouting down our better angels. And we seem to be okay with that.
It is a plague upon all of our houses. And I am ashamed.
Michael J. Curtiss
Tuesday, January 6, 2015