The big lie of gay marriage was always this: “It will affect nobody outside of the gays who wish to partake in it.” That is clearly false, as any number of bakers or photographers will tell you after having gone through the legal wringer of forced gay wedding compliance. Yet sometimes the big lie gets even bigger. Sometimes it threatens more than the livelihoods of cake-bakers in north-central Colorado.
Sometimes it threatens free speech. That seems to be the situation out of England regarding a case in which a celebrity gay couple has placed an injunction on the British press to cover up reports of an extramarital encounter. According to Paddy Manning (a gay Irish columnist notable for his opposition to gay marriage), the couple is none other than Elton John and David Furnish, the latter of which supposedly flew to New York City several years ago to participate in a ménage à trois with two other men; scheduled events allegedly included some time in a wading pool filled with olive oil.
The Sun, a British newspaper, attempted to write an article about this tryst, yet the couple successfully managed to bring an injunction against not just the Sun but the entire British press: “[N]othing at all,” writes Manning, “might be written about the matter in England or Wales.”
British freedom of speech is something of a bad joke these days—a few years ago a man was arrested for singing “Kung Fu Fighting”—yet it is still occasionally incredible to witness the depth and the breadth of Great Britain’s culture of not just reactionary speech codes but its enforcement of prior restraint. Nothing approaching this exists in the United States; the First Amendment, perhaps the most precious legal proviso in the history of all human governments, does not allow for such obscene excess.
If you want to write about Furnish’s olive oil escapades, you can do it right here in America and still wake up the next day a free citizen. Fly six hours east, and you could be thrown in jail for doing the same thing.
Don’t Tell the Kids What They Already Know
In one sense, this kind of press injunction is not limited to practitioners of gay marriage. Other British celebrities and public figures have sought prior restraint to cover up sexual exploits. Some years ago (right around the time that poor man was being arrested after singing “Kung Fu Fighting”), the soccer coach Ryan Giggs secured a gag order to silence reports on his affair with a supermodel. In this sense, British speech law is an equal-opportunity kind of tyranny.
Yet this latest debacle is baffling in one important respect. There is a general understanding that John and Furnish have an “open relationship,” which means they are both free to have sex with other people (indeed, an interim injunction issued in early January appears to admit just that). Yet the gag order sought in this case was reportedly granted to protect not John and Furnish themselves but their children, for whom the media storm surrounding such an affair might be troubling or traumatic.
Ponder that for a moment: John and Furnish are allegedly raising their children in a household where the two parents are free to have sex with numerous other partners; they presumably consider this an acceptable moral environment in which to raise kids. Yet apparently it would be devastating for their children to learn about this in print.
Does this make any sense to you? Is there anything you do in your marriage that would so profoundly disturb your children that you would muzzle freedom of speech to cover it up?
Imagine That: Gay Marriage Isn’t Actually Marriage
There’s a dirty little secret about gay marriage that isn’t actually all that secret: for a great many gay couples—gay men at the very least—“marriage” is not, strictly speaking, marriage: most gay couples are not monogamous.
Indeed, the fight for “marriage equality” has been undergirded by a very strange and tactfully avoided reality: what we think of as “marriage,” meaning a lifelong, sexually exclusive commitment between two individuals, is not something that a great deal of the gay community has any interest in. Monogamy, according to gay provocateur Dan Savage, breeds “boredom, despair, lack of variety, sexual death and being taken for granted.” It seems a lot of his fellow “married” gays agree with him.
So it is, in a sense, unsurprising if John and Furnish consider sexual licentiousness an acceptable aspect of their “marriage.” But it is another thing entirely if they are willing to clamp down on freedom of the press to avoid the unpleasant side effects of their choices.
A robust free press has been part of the English moral chassis for centuries; Milton’s “Areopagitica” is as relevant today as it was in the 1600s. Just who does Elton John think he is?
If nothing else, this whole charade indicates that the big gay marriage lie is perhaps even bigger than we thought. Ryan Giggs was no less wrong in his attempt to muzzle the British press to conceal his extramarital affairs, but at least he exhibited a kind of self-interested consistency: he did not want the world to know that he had broken his marriage vows and strayed from the narrow path.
Yet John and Furnish cannot even lay claim to such considerations. If the press is right, sexual infidelity is a normal and agreed-upon part of their marriage, as it is with many gay couples. As a practical matter, this kind of debauched behavior has serious implications for the societal implications of legalized gay marriage, so it is critical that the press be allowed to report on it. Yet they cannot. Elton John has seen to that.
“Gay marriage will not affect you,” everyone said. They lied, and they continue to lie.