Q: I don’t understand why the gay community is so quick to attack Brad and Angelina for getting married before all 50 states have marriage equality. I know what they said [that they won’t marry until everyone can] — they’ve also said their kids are really pushing for them to get married. They’re clearly supportive of [the LGBT community]. Shouldn’t we support them?
A: I’ve gotten a few questions about the Pitt-Jolies in the queue, so I see their Aug. 23 nuptials are on your mind. To start, let me quote from a piece Brian Moylan wrote in Time this past week about his disappointment with the famous couple:
“Back in a 2006 Esquire article, Brad said that he and Angie ‘will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able.’ I can’t tell you how much this meant to gays and lesbians all over the country. They were two of the first celebrities to draw attention to the fight for marriage equality and did it before marriage was legal in states like New York, Connecticut, Iowa, California and a growing number every year. This brought international attention to the cause and showed that they were principled people who were willing to put their beliefs before their convenience.
Now they got married in France and it just all seems like a ruse.”
Indeed, it’s true that Pitt said they’d hold off tying the knot until same-sex marriage was legal in all 50 states. He famously told Parade in 2009: “When someone asked me why Angie and I don’t get married, I replied, ‘Maybe we’ll get married when it’s legal for everyone else. I believe everyone should have the same rights.’ ”
My view? I certainly don’t think they are guilty of anything like a “ruse.” I’ve read that their kids have pushed them to marry, which is completely understandable. At the same time, I can’t forget that Jolie had a double mastectomy last year, which (as a cancer survivor myself) I imagine had to be life-changing. Not long after, Jolie said: “We’ve been through so much. We’ve gotten a lot closer, which I think naturally happens with raising a family together.” It could also be a strong reason why they – now – chose to legalize their relationship in the face of an unknown future.
Many LGBT advocacy groups, like Equality California (EQ), have also come out in support the Pitt-Jolie marriage. Explained Rebekah Orr, EQ’s communications director: “Marriage is something that says ‘we’re a family’ in a way that nothing else can. … No one has to deny that for themselves or their family to prove they are an ally and supporter of equality.”
Not to mention they’ve continued to be among our strongest allies when it comes to same-sex marriage. I say Mazel Tov to the couple and think it’s important to keep focused on the prize and not beat up on some of our best friends.
Agree or disagree with my advice? Let me know below.
Every other week, Steven Petrow, author of “Steven Petrow’s Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners,” addresses questions about LGBT and straight etiquette in his column, Civilities. E-mail questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org (unfortunately, not all questions can be answered). You can reach him on Facebook at facebook.com/stevenpetrow and on Twitter @stevenpetrow.