Two heterosexual men in New Zealand are getting married. For love? No. For building a life with one's best friend? No. In order to show solidarity for the LGBT+ community? Not in the least. So why? Because a radio station has offered them a chance at a free trip to the Rugby World Cup.
The New Zealand Herald reports the two, Travis McIntosh and Matt McCormick, will be married on September 12th in front of friends and family. They entered a contest put on by The Edge radio station. In comments to the Herald, the "couple" said that they are not trying to be offensive to LGBT+ individuals who fought for marriage equality in New Zealand.
We are not here to insult anyone. We are here to do our own thing and travel our own path. It's just seeing how far two good mates would go to win a trip to the Rugby World Cup.
However, LegaliseLove (Wellington) co-chairman Joseph Habgood told the Herald he strongly disagreed with this characterisation by McIntosh and McCormick. Habgood pointed out that the point of the contest was shock value, and it othered same-sex marriage by suggesting it was something so weird that normal people wouldn't do it unless they were... uh, insane fans of rugby?
The point of this competition is that men marrying each other is still something they think is worth having a laugh at....Maybe on the day that statistics around mental health for LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) people are better, when high schools are safe places for LGBTI youth, we can look back on all this and laugh. But competitions like this don't bring that day any closer.
Look, I'm not going to sit here and tell two best friends that they don't have the potential for building a life together which includes marriage. I'm pro civil unions for everyone. I think some of the best unions I have ever seen have been from couples who are more deeply committed to a friendship which just works as opposed to romance or sex. If McIntosh and McCormick really feel their lives work best together, I'd be celebrating this.
Hell, I could even maybe be behind this if it was an act of allyship of some sort. Maybe. Possibly. Depends on how it was done (and whether or not it was done for ally cookies).
However, that they are already talking about divorce in two years because this is really about "how far two good mates would go to win a trip to the Rugby World Cup," is deeply offensive to me. I cannot marry the partner of my choice in the country in which I live. I am legally a woman, and unless something fundamentally and radically alters about my sexuality, my partner would be, too. I couldn't marry my best friend here in Japan either, because she's a woman, even if I wanted to do so for some reason and she agreed. This is real life for those of us still in jurisdictions without recognition of same-sex marriage.
No matter the mates' intent here, it is insulting. And appropriative.
Not cool, guys.
Image via Shutterstock (yes, I now know it's a football, but it looks wedding-ish and vaguely rugby-ish).