Last week, veteran gay rights activist Larry Kramer made headlines when The New York Times quoted him about the marriage equality law in New York:
These marriages, in whichever state, are what I call feel-good marriages,' Mr. Kramer said. 'Compared to the benefits heterosexual marriages convey, gay marriages are an embarrassment -- that we should accept so little, and with so much hoopla of excitement and self-congratulation.'
Now Kramer is saying he was misrepresented in the Times piece - that the newspaper excerpted his statement and, in doing so, distorted his message. In a new editorial for The Advocate, Kramer clarifies his stance and explains that he is not anti-marriage for the LGBT community, but rather that he wants the community to consider how state-recognized marriage between same-sex couples does not offer the same legal and economic benefits as federal marriage.
His new piece provides the full statement that he had submitted to The New York Times:
"The historic and cultural significance of this moment is that once again the gay population of this country continues to accept second best. These marriages, in whichever state, are what I call 'feel-good marriages.' They convey little in the way of benefits (and in some instances they are even financially punishing to those who embark on them). Compared to the benefits heterosexual marriages convey, gay marriages are an embarrassment -- that we should accept so little, and with so much hoopla of excitement and self-congratulation.
Most straight people who are congratulating us so effusively don't understand that these marriages share none of their federal benefits and entitlements, the right to inherit without punishing taxation, the right for our joint incomes not to be taxed so hideously high, the right to share insurances -- there are over one thousand benefits worth money that the federal government bestows on heterosexual marriages and which our state marriages don't. So why do we continue to get so excited when so few worthless crumbs are thrown our way? I have from the beginning never understood the philosophy and tactics of our various organizations who appear to be calling the shots on this issue. If we are to wait for a majority of states to recognize gay marriages, we'll all be dead.
When are we going to recognize that until the Supreme Court blesses our union, we continue to be worthless and powerless, which is the way our enemies wish us to remain. When will we face up to the fact that no sooner does a state grant us marriage, than our enemies immediately tie up the courts in endless litigations to disallow them, as in the monstrous mess that has become California. Our enemies have bottomless pockets to fight us with. It has been discovered that the biggest contributors to the California wars are and have been the Mormon and Catholic churches. I do not disparage any gay couple's desire to wed in New York, or anywhere else, and in so doing feel and take joy from this act. But let us all recognize that beyond this euphoria, these marriages are hardly worth the paper they are printed on. And once again, I can only raise the cry: how long are we as a people going to accept such shabby and unequal treatment?"