When President Obama said his opposition to same-sex marriage was "evolving," some (like the New York Times editorial board) took it as a cop-out, but not syndicated sex columnist and It Gets Better project founder Dan Savage, who defended the president's record on gay rights at the White House's Pride Month reception last night.
"I believe the president should evolve," Savage (pictured above right, with his husband) told pool reporter Julie Mason. "He says he's evolving, I believe him.I want to hurry him along." At the same time, he reminded gay marriage supporters that it was acceptable--necessary even--to "scream and yell and be dicks and wear buttons," a point Savage seemed to hammer home with his own button that said, "evolve already."
It's been a busy week of gadfly playing for Savage. In Mark Oppenheimer's upcoming New York Times Magazine piece on infidelity, Savage makes the case for a kind of sensibility in relationships that Oppenheimer deems "American Gay Male, after that community's tolerance for pornography, fetishes and a variety of partnered arrangements, from strict monogamy to wide openness." What it boils down to is an arrangement where neither party--whether in a heterosexual or homosexual long-term relationship--has "the monogamous expectation" (Savage's words) of their partner. "Treating monogamy, rather than honesty or joy or humor, as the main indicator of a successful marriage gives people unrealistic expectations of themselves and their partners." Another key quote as Oppenheimer explains Savage's views:
In the feminist revolution, rather than extending to women "the same latitude and license and pressure-release valve that men had always enjoyed," we extended to men the confines women had always endured. "And it's been a disaster for marriage."
Even if this notion seems horribly cynical, it's tough not to be impressed by Savage's logic. "If you are expected to be monogamous and have one person be all things sexually for you, then you have to be whores for each other," he tells Oppenheimer. "You have to be up for anything." The subject of monogamy and its less strict variations is delved into in detail, and Savage is clear that the most important thing here is honest communication.