Getting it Right in Maine
I recently traveled to Maine to find out why its citizens voted against gay marriage. I did this because it’s the type of hard-hitting, investigative journalism my readers have come to expect from me. Okay, actually, the only reason I went to Maine is because that’s where my girlfriend was raised, and she occasionally insists on returning to get her fill of a type of pork-based liver sausage this is considered the state’s chief “delicacy.” But while I was there, heroically avoiding this “delicacy” each time it was plopped onto my plate, I decided to look into the marriage issue.
Every state that has had a ballot initiative on gay marriage has voted it down, which hasn’t been all that surprising. But when it was voted down in Maine, I was shocked. Have you ever been to Maine? There’s not a lot to do there. I figured they’d want the gays to get married for the cheap entertainment value alone.
Also, everyone in Maine looks like a lesbian. Men, women, moose. They all wear clunky boots, even in summer, and get their clothes exclusively from L.L. Bean. As long as everyone looks like a lesbian, why not let the real lesbians get married? Honestly, who would know the difference?
So at dinner one night, at a restaurant called Grace in Portland which was “wicked good” (Mainers have an annoying habit of working “wicked” into every sentence), I asked a gaggle of straight Mainers why the gays got the shaft (and then I giggled because the word “shaft” is kind of dirty).
“It was so confusing,” said a pediatrician named Lucien. Isn’t that a great name? Naturally, I suspected he was a vampire and kept a careful eye on him all evening. “The gays had TV commercials to combat the measure, but they were so obtuse that people didn’t know what they wanted us to vote for.”
Apparently, the commercials featured people who were vaguely gay looking, but may very well have been well-manicured Republicans, prattling on about human rights and equality. They avoided the word “marriage” and didn’t make it clear whether people should vote yes or no on the very badly worded measure. (If any of you have had to vote on such measures—as I did in Michigan—you’ll know that they are written in a deliberately confusing fashion designed to give you a stress headache.)
What the gay commercials should have done, my straight dinner companions agreed, was the following: Show two guys in flannel shirts and duck boots sitting on a couch. Over the mantle hangs a dead animal with antlers. One of the guys tosses his arm around the other and says: “Hey ya! This is my partner, Bobby. We’ve been together 20 years. We like to watch the Bruins and go to the outlet malls. Occasionally, I like to put my penis in his butt, which is wicked fun! If you let us get married, the big guy can get onto my insurance plan down at the paper mill.”
Then, into the picture stroll two lesbians. “We’re lesbians, so we haven’t had sex in over a decade, just like most of you married folks out there. I love her more than ice fishin’, but she works my last nerve sometimes, and, yeah, it makes me want to kill her. So, how ‘bout letting us marry so I have the right to pull her plug when the time comes?”
Finally, an L.L Bean spokesperson appears. “Supporting gay marriage is the right thing to do, and just imagine how it will boost sales of our corduroy wedding gowns.”