Sunday, September 21, 2008

All Obligations Are Not Obligatory


In case you've been living under a rock lately, Ellen DeGeneres married her girlfriend Portia deRossi in California on August 16, despite the protests of people who think that allowing same-sex marriage will lead to things that will end up ruining society. (What's next? People marrying dogs?! A sight that I, personally, would love to witness the ceremony for. Anything after that, not so much. But a person-dog wedding? THAT is entertainment at it's finest.) And those who were protesting are continuing to do so with Proposition 8.

Knowing how you would vote on Prop 8 can be confusing because 'yes' means 'no' and 'no' means 'yes'. See, Prop 8 makes it so that men and only marry women and so that women can only marry men. Prop 8 basically says that if you're gay and want to marry the one who you're being gay with, well, you can't. So if you DON'T want same-sex marriage, you vote Yes. If you DO want same-sex marriage, you vote No. See, this one could go either way, not because of the public opinion but because people get confused in that little booth sometimes (it's the only way to explain that GW is a two term President) and with the wording for Prop 8 being like it is, who knows what California will end up with? It might just turn out that you can marry your dog if it passes! Who knows?!

But here's the thing that some people feel the need to point out and make a big deal about. (Oh, exactly what the "big deal" is, I'm not sure. I think it has something to do with some people not holding up their big, gay end of the whole deal, but it's really kinda foggy.) According to IN Magazine, Ellen and Portia have not made a financial contribution to help fight Prop 8 from passing. And I guess the article is implying that because they're gay and they got married and they're celebrities that they are somehow obligated or expected to fork over a chunk of cash for this cause. You know, since they're for gay marriage and all. Um, there are many flaws with that logic, but I'll get back to that.

The article continues to cite other gay celebrities who have also not upheld their end of all of the gayness by not contributing to the fundraising efforts to fight Prop 8. "Also missing (as of Sept. 10) from the rolls were: Rosie O’Donnell, whose Feb. 27, 2004, marriage to Kelli Carpenter was nullified; Sir Elton John, who tied the civil partnership knot with partner David Furnish in England; rock star Melissa Etheridge, whose domestic partnership/wedding to actress Tammy Lynn Michaels Sept. 22, 2003, was celebrated in In Style magazine." It went on to list other names of those who are "bad gays" because they haven't made a financial donation. It lists Paul Colichman, Greg Berlanti, Marc Cherry, Bryan Singer, Joel Schumacher and Gus Van Sant as having kept their own money to themselves. Um, who are those people? I know who Schumacher and Gus are, but the other ones? Never heard of them. But congratulations on all of the gayness and on all of the money that some people think that you should give away!

And just to hammer home the point, the article states that, "So while their visibility as openly LGBT celebrities and entertainment power players is important, their financial absence from the specific fight to save the fundamental right of same-sex couples to marry is hurting." Really? Wow. They must be having a really hard time digging up cash to fight this thing and...what? How much? Over eleven million dollars? Are you sure? That's dollars? Not pesos? (Because with Mexico being so close and all and with half of their population living here anyway, it would be a mistake that I could foresee happening.) Dollars. Really? And eleven million of them? Huh. Well, then. Are you freaking kidding me?!

Look, I'm not an accountant, I don't play one on TV and I didn't even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but I do know a thing or two about math and finance. Allow me to start with the most basic of the concepts here: Eleven million of anything is a lot of that thing. Eleven million dollars, contrary to what seems to be the norm these days in devaluing the value of anything of value, is a lot of dollars. How much money have the folks who are for Prop 8 raised? Sixteen million dollars? Again, NOT pesos, right? Dollars? So, five million dollars more than those against Prop 8. OK.

Again, I'll admit to knowing next to nothing about campaigning for or against something in terms of cost. But I do know that for eleven million dollars, you can do a hell of a lot and if you're saying that you can't, then you're probably right. YOU can't. But someone else CAN.

Aside from the financial logistics (which I could ramble on about for quite some time. Probably right up until all eight of you who actually read this had lost interest and vowed never to read again. That's why I'm not delving much further into that topic. You're welcome.), I need to get back to the bad gays, Ellen and Portia. Why anyone would feel that anyone else is obligated to GIVE AWAY their money to someone or something else is beyond me. And not just give it away, but give it away blindly (basically). I have very little to absolutely NO faith in almost any group doing fundraising in any sort of political arena that they will be able to efficiently regulate and spend that money in ways that will be the most productive for their cause. NO faith. None! You have no idea where they're spending the money, what it's going for, what it's already gone for. And you will get no promises as to what your money will be spent on when you fork it over (never to be seen again, mind you). But because Ellen and Portia are....? Celebrities? They're supposed to want to throw their cash into a pile for a cause that, while I'm sure they feel is worthy, may or may not use their money efficiently? I don't think they're supposed to feel like they should do that.

Ellen and Portia are celebrities who have taken a huge risk (though not as big of a risk as it was when Ellen used her TV show to come out with all of her gayness. That awesome revelation basically cost her her career for a few years.) to publicize their relationship with each other. You're going to get more publicity out of just that event in and of itself than you are with millions of more dollars. It's not all about the money. You'd think it was, but it's not. And Ellen and Portia are no more obligated to donate money toward fighting Prop 8 than any other gay individual is obligated to do so. (Morons.) And I find it bizarre that some seem to think that they are obligated.

I don't know, maybe it's because it's election time and the candidates are all fundraising at a pace normally only seen in meth freaks after they've been up for four days, but I'm pretty tired of always being asked to give my money away. And it's always as if that is what my money is for; to give away! Hey, news flash: No, it's not. And Ellen's and Portia's money isn't for them to be giving away either. And especially not just because they're gay.

And just because I don't want to give money to a bunch of fundraisers for something that I fundamentally agree with, doesn't mean that I don't care (even though sometimes, I really don't). It just means that people are expected just to blindly hand their money over, no questions asked, and feel good about it. That doesn't make me feel very good. And if I actually did it, I'd feel like a moron for doing so. Ellen and Portia don't come across as moronic. They come across as very smart, not to mention very gay and very happy together. And I'm sure that if the fundraising individuals who are sitting on that eleven million just put as much effort into stretching that money out as far as it can go instead of belittling anyone who is gay who hasn't donated yet, they'd end up being a lot more productive. Perhaps they should try it my way so we can find out.

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