So, B.J. Wood stirred up a little teapot-tempest with his cartoon Aug. 11.
I should be the one who is offended. I made a similar philosophical progression - gay marriage to polygamy to bestiality - in a column a couple of years ago, and heard barely a peep in response.
I suppose a picture really is worth a thousand words. That, or there's a new sense of empowerment, or enforced tolerance, since "Augusta Pride" paraded through town.
Me? I've mellowed somewhat since that long-ago column. I'm no more "accepting" of homosexuals, a term that implies approval of their lifestyle. I just care substantially less about their politics.
Perhaps that's because I'm basically a live-and-let-live libertarian (that's with a small "l"). Just do what you want, leave me alone, and I'll do likewise.
By the way: "leaving me alone" includes you get to swallow your "pride" when I or someone else expresses an opinion with which you disagree. Feel free to offer a counter-argument, but take a hike if your only argument consists of telling me or someone else to shut up, or whining that you're "offended."
As far as this "gay marriage" thing goes - and it was loony to see it become an issue in the Republican primary; no one is going to advocate legalizing homosexual marriages in Georgia - my sympathy with the concept is entirely hetero.
A few years ago, a relative collapsed while doing yard work. His live-in girlfriend came home, found him and called an ambulance. But at the hospital, she was stiff-armed by the staff because they weren't married.
Gay couples encounter this all the time. But my relatives did something most of them couldn't: They got married. No preacher involved, just a judge, a few minutes and boom - they were legal.
This illustrates that part of the problem we seem to have with this issue is not that homosexual unions would damage the institution of marriage, but that we've already allowed the institution of marriage to be irreparably damaged in the first place by cheapening it.
Seriously. Which speaks more favorably of marriage: Two old women who've lived together for years wanting to have a wedding? Or a married governor sneaking out of the country to have an affair with his "soul mate"? Two men wanting to play house? Or a conservative entertainer holding lavish wedding No. 3? A same-sex couple wanting access to insurance benefits? Or a married county commissioner sharing inappropriate text-messages with a married county employee?
If we're going to claim to protect the institution of marriage and the concept that marriage is between one man and one woman, then those of us who have stuck to our vows (more than 26 years, for me) must spend more time politely and firmly challenging members of the club who abuse it, and less time worrying that some people we consider weirdos want to join.
Otherwise, we're likely to look around one day and, like Groucho Marx, refuse to join any such a club that would have us as members.
This weekend was a one-two punch.
First, Ed Clary III passed away. He died at Emory Hospital in Atlanta on Saturday. (Concidentally, that's where my mother died 10 years ago next month.)
Mr. Clary won several elections, to Harlem City Council, as Harlem mayor and as a member of the School Board. Yet he was the opposite of a shameless self-promoter: He simply served the public, and then quietly returned to private life. He was a too-young 68.
Then we got word of the death of retired columnist James Kilpatrick at age 89.
Much of my curmudgeonly grammatical ways I owe to Mr. Kilpatrick, whose syndicated column I edited for The Chronicle for nearly eight years.
I will never forget visiting him in Charleston along with students and a teacher from the Alleluia Community School, and Mr. Kilpatrick taking the time to read and critique every student's essay while sitting in Battery Park.
May Mr. Clary and Mr. Kilpatrick both rest in peace.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail email@example.com. Follow at twitter.com/barrypaschal.)
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