In the tabloid-fueled rivalry between Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie, my loyalty has always been whole-heartedly with Jen. Aniston strikes me as sweet, laid-back and genuine. She and bestie Chelsea Handler are reportedly known to hit the town, throwing back vodka and (until recently for Aniston) smoking cigarettes.
Meanwhile, Jolie is so busy with United Nations missions and adopting babies (both admirable endeavors, to be sure) that she simply has no time to eat. In fact, I read that she will sometimes sustain herself for an entire day on just a handful of almonds. Yikes!
If given the chance to hang out for the night drinking vodka in Hollywood with fun-loving Aniston or sharing six almonds with a strung-out Jolie – an opportunity about which I have no delusions will ever actually manifest – I’d choose Aniston eight days a week.
That said, Jolie and Brad Pitt scored some serious likeability points with me because they’ve publicly declared many times that they wouldn’t be saying “I do” until gay marriage was legalized. In 2006, Pitt told Esquire: “Angie and I will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able.” You have to respect that level of commitment to equality.
Perhaps Jolie and Pitt didn’t expect the battle for marriage equality to take quite so long. As time has gone on, the pair started to back off their vow to the LGBT community. Back in January, Pitt said of his and Jolie’s marriage plans:
“We’d actually like to, and it seems to mean more and more to our kids. We made this declaration some time ago that we weren’t going to do it till everyone can. But I don’t think we’ll be able to hold out. It means so much to my kids, and they ask a lot. And it means something to me, too, to make that kind of commitment. I’m not going to go any further,” he said, “But to be in love with someone and be raising a family with someone and want to make that commitment and not be able to is ludicrous, just ludicrous.”
I hear you, Brad, not being able to make a commitment to someone you are in love with is, indeed, ludicrous.
And then, in April, the couple announced that they were engaged. In one fell swoop, Pitt brought back the emerald cut diamond and disappointed gay people everywhere when he proposed to Jolie. While no wedding date has been set, it is pretty clear that Jolie and Pitt are no longer prepared to sit it out with us.
Brangelina aren’t the only celebs to back off earlier promises to hold off on marriage until same-sex unions are legally recognized. Natalie Portman once boldly declared: “Why are they making rules that say my lover can stay in the United States if they’re foreign or share my health care benefits because I’m straight — but if you’re gay, you can’t have that?”
But then she met Benjamin Millieped fell in love and got pregnant. Portman traded her marriage-for-everyone-or-marriage-for-no one stance for an intimate Jewish wedding and vegan reception outside of Big Sur in August. Another one bites the dust.
Look, I don’t begrudge Jolie and Pitt or Portman and Millieped – or anyone else, for that matter – the joy of a wedding or the convenience of a legal union. I just think high-profile people should be very careful about what they say. Vowing not to get married until same-sex unions are legal makes a big statement. But, then turning around and trotting down the aisle when you meet the right person or just get tired of waiting makes an even bigger statement. I’m pretty damn tired of waiting too, but I’m gay, so I have no choice.
Notably, there are other celebrities who have made good (so far) on their promises not to marry until gay people are excluded from the institution.
Charlize Theron never married her ex-boyfriend of nine years Stuart Townsend, and she still maintains that she won’t walk down the aisle until we all can. She draws parallels between marriage inequality and the Apartheid in her native South Africa. She didn’t mince any words in an interview on the topic:
Yes, that is exactly what it’s like and thank you, Ms. Theron, for having the courage to say it.
Kristen Bell has a man – and a ring – but she and fiancé Dax Shepard say they won’t wed until gay men and lesbians can as well. “Yeah, we are not getting married [until] everyone else can,” Shepard told HollywoodLife.com. “When that happens, then we will do it.”
Thanks, guys! We appreciate your support.
Jason Mraz popped the question to Tristan Prettyman in 2010 – with a caveat. He wouldn’t get married until the institution was open to everyone. In an interview with US magazine, Mraz said: “The wedding would be nice for our family, our friends, our community — our moms especially — and so it puts us in the fight. We can’t get married until [gay] marriage is legal and equal…I think giving people the right to marry will be a huge movement in civil rights.”
We may have helped Mraz dodge a bullet because he and Prettyman broke up in 2011. I hope Mraz finds new love and continues to honor his commitment to marriage equality.
What I find even more heartening is non-celebrity straight couples who eschew marriage so long as governments discriminate against gay people. Huffington Post bloggers Kyle Steele and Megan Koler made a brave public declaration about their support for marriage equality in an April post. This rad Oregon couple got engaged in April, but won’t walk down the aisle until their gay and lesbian friends can do the same.
As much as I appreciate celebrities who stand up for marriage equality, you really have to hand it to a couple like Steele and Koler. Marriage comes with a whole smorgasbord of benefits like tax breaks, lower insurance costs and inheritance rights. I highly doubt that Angelina Jolie will be relying on Brad Pitt’s social security checks, should she outlive her fiancé. But for “normal” people like Steele and Koler, who have student loan debt and bills to pay, a tax break might come in very handy. Steele and Koler wrote in their blog:
If Steele and Koler’s goal was to inspire, I have to say, mission accomplished.
I think there are many battles left to fight before full marriage equality becomes a reality. In the meantime, it sure does help to have the support of straight people willing to delay their own weddings until legal marriage is available to everyone. Here’s hoping same-sex marriage is legalized sooner rather than later so that all of us committed gay and lesbian couples and our amazing heterosexual allies can finally tie the knot.
Do you know any straight people who refuse to get hitched until gay married is legal? What do you think about celebrities who promise to wait it out until same-sex couples have equal marriage rights?