June 5, 2005
I couldn't help laughing when the man Lynn Warren calls his "redneck uncle from Arizona" got up during his wedding reception and made embarrassing comments about his sexy 24-year-old daughter and lewd suggestions about Warren's gay friends and their sex life.
Hey, I thought, straight people have been putting up with these sorts of wedding antics for years.
Lynn Warren and Alex Ali became reality stars recently after appearing on CBS's The Amazing Race 7. They married this past week, here in Ottawa of all places, at the invite of radio station Hot 89.9.
Whatever you think about them, one thing that strikes most people is what a devoted and in-tune couple they are. I don't think I've been at a wedding where the love between those saying their vows was as palpable.
When Warren told Ali "I don't have a doubt in my mind," I fully believed him. And wondered how many other people walking down the aisle can say the same thing.
When they aren't being feted by them, the couple is getting flak from the gay community for being too gay. Of course, after spending time with Warren and Ali, I believe Warren when he says "we really are this gay."
And that's another thing that was nice about this week. I realized it when they released two white doves into the air as part of the ceremony -- a kitschy moment which under other circumstances might have prompted me to teeter out of the church on my new pale pink pointy shoes in disgust -- and the reverend talked about them being symbols "of who we long for and have a right to be."
I don't think there's a person around who hasn't strugged with the notion of just exactly what that is. The unabashedly freebie-grabbing, attention-loving, sarcastic and hilarious Warren and Ali seem to have gone at least part of the way to figuring it out. And that, no matter what you believe, is a nice thing to see.
Which brings me to the hate. And specifically the hateful messages I've received after writing about gay issues. The ones that felt like a punch in the stomach. That made me feel I can't even begin to fathom the fear driving their words.
Last year, in a column about the Pride Parade, I received a Unabomber-style tearsheet covered with scary profanity. The "c" word even. This week, someone passed on the nonsensical e-mail message "so, did your parents have any children that lived?" -- good one sir, btw -- and congratulated me for "supporting the unnatural." Another person said Warren and Ali were no better than farm animals.
I assure them: They have excellent manners and actually smell very good. I watched a Givenchy rep present them with a new fragrance that's not even on the market until fall.
For all the merriment surrounding Warren and Ali this week, they know of the kind of animosity I have only grazed. There was a reason their voices trembled when they talked about how it felt to be celebrated by our city.
I'm not going to get into my beliefs about the spiritual world here, not really. I sometimes admire the blind faith that seems to soothe those who tout religion as the answer to everything.
But I have noticed much of the anti-gay sentiment floating around these days comes from the religious -- and closeted, self-loathing gays, and those who are just plain uncomfortable with their own sexuality, whatever it may be, but that's another column -- and I have to wonder how and why. Sure, you can quote the Bible on the topic and you'll probably shoot me down every time. But can you answer this: If there is a God, and he is responsible for everything in this big old crazy world just like you say he is, then do you suppose he made it all just to love and accept some of it?
Does that make any sense at all?
Warren and Ali got married this week, and as they pointed out, nothing bad happened. Gay couples in Ontario marry all the time now, and on June 16 when the federal same sex marriage bill goes to the House of Commons for final debate, I can only hope the Liberals succeed in having those rights extended to all of Canada.
For all Warren and Ali praised this country for not only tolerating them, but celebrating them, we won't be a truly accepting society until every gay person in the country has the right to have someone like Warren's Uncle Bob from Arizona make an ass of himself at their wedding reception.
Warren just laughed and pretended to choke on his champagne at his inappropriate uncle, and I don't blame him.
Redneck or not, he showed up. He embraced them. He doesn't judge.
And mostly, that's what matters.
Lynn and Alex are still together, and are also successful gossip bloggers and LA radio personalities