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Litmus test on gays runs amok.

Byline: Dianne Williamson

Like many Americans with extra time on their hands, I've greatly enjoyed watching the countless Republican presidential candidates squirm and equivocate when asked what has bizarrely become a litmus test for the 2016 campaign: Would they attend a gay wedding?

You almost feel sorry for these guys, as it's hard to solidify your appeal to religious zealots while at the same time trying not to sound like a hopeless goober. It's a fine line. So far, the only candidate who said he wouldn't accept the hypothetical invite is Rick Santorum, whose answer was my personal favorite, as it made no sense:

"That would be something that would be a violation of my faith,'' he declared to Hugh Hewitt on talk radio. He should have stopped there, but he went on: "I would love them and support them, but I would not participate in that ceremony.'' In other words, Santorum would love and support this couple except on the most important day of their lives, at which time he would pointedly shun them and later make rousing speeches about their immoral godlessness.

Scott Walker said he's attended a reception of a same-sex ceremony, but not the service itself, which is the social equivalent of saying he smoked pot but didn't inhale. Marco Rubio said he'd go, even though he believes marriage should only be between a man and a woman. Rick Perry said he'd "probably'' go but referred to the issue as a "gotcha question,'' as though he was asked if he'd bed one of the ushers.

Ted Cruz managed not to answer by saying, "I haven't faced that circumstance,'' as he likely doesn't get invited to anything. John Kasich said he's already agreed to attend a gay wedding, and although he hasn't formally announced his candidacy, he told a group of supporters at a barbecue in South Carolina that he spends his time asking, "What's the Lord want me to do?''

Oh Lord. Maybe the Supreme Being should get back to him after extrapolating the latest polling data.

In general, though, I don't know if asking these men if they'd attend a gay wedding is a fair question. It's like asking a liberal if he'd attend a gun rally, or Donald Trump if he'd attend an ethics symposium. Or like asking Aaron Hernandez not to kill anyone. It's just not in their nature.

Another big problem is that the question fails to distinguish whether this gay wedding involves men or lesbians, as the two events are different animals. Men throw the kind of fabulous reception where Barbra Streisand serenades the happy couple and all the guests get drunk on absinthe and jump naked into the koi pond. When it comes to celebrations, gay men don't mess around.

Lesbians are less ... flashy. For example, their wedding invitations not only ask if you're attending the ceremony, but what you're bringing for the pot luck. Receptions are typically held at the beach, where it's cheaper, and instead of gifts they request donations to the local animal shelter. Entertainment often features a 58-year-old folk singer named Buffalo Wing. Alcohol isn't served so as not to offend a bridesmaid in recovery.

I know I am generalizing here, but it's important to know what kind of wedding we're talking about, because I'd hate for Rick Santorum to miss out on a good time simply because he's a judgmental homophobe.

Of course, people certainly have the right to not attend a gay wedding, and to argue otherwise is absurd. So we really need to come up with a more substantive "gotcha'' question for these men before the Republican debates, perhaps dealing with climate change, national security, the economy, or whether they'd have cocktails with Bruce Jenner.

Contact Dianne Williamson at dwilliamson@telegram.com
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Title Annotation:Local
Author:Williamson, Dianne
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Apr 26, 2015
Words:629
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