Andrew Sullivan is back to blogging for himself today and his first post is about–brace yourselves–gay marriage.

Look, I know some of you will object to the logic, but can you not see how something like Britney Spears’ insta-marriage in Las Vegas might infuriate long-committed gay couples who, even now, don’t have a shred of the rights Ms Spears enjoyed for a few days? It is one thing for people to declare their commitment to traditional marriage – i.e. procreative, life-long, heterosexual. It is another thing when that ideal has almost no relationship to civil marriage as it now exists for straights; and when it is nevertheless used to deny gay people access to the institution. Over the holidays, I found myself watching all those VH1 list shows, and happened across the top ten or twenty (I forget which) shortest Hollywood marriages in history. Ha ha ha. We live a world in which Britney Spears just engaged in something “sacred” (in the president’s words), where instant and joke hetero marriages and divorces are a subject of titillation, and where a decades-long monogamous lesbian marriage is a threat to civilization as we know it. Please. Can we have a smidgen of consistency here?

Andrew is right, of course. Conservatives could reasonably argue that the solution is to fix the system so that sham marriages are harder to enter into, of course, but if Britney Spears (or Liz Taylor, J-Lo, Zha Zha, Larry King, etc.) aren’t hurting marriage as an institution, it’s difficult to see how committed gay couples would hurt it, either.

Since I’m on the topic of Andrew Sullivan, following a tip from Matt Yglesias, I managed to TiVo the re-broadcast of Chris Matthews’ eponymous Sunday morning show from yesterday featuring the bearded one. He was, as always on these things, quite eloquent. Indeed, Matthews’ Sunday show is far more watchable than Hardball.

Andrew’s erstwhile guest blogger, Dan Drezner, has a link-filled post on the general subject of the Britney Spears marriage replete with a large photograph of her, uncharacteristically, more-or-less fully clothed.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. bryan says:

    Well, now you’ve gone and done it. You’ll no doubt skyrocket to the top of the search results for “Britney Spears Fully Clothed.” Oh, well. Anything fo the hits.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Well, there’s just too much competition for “Britney Spears nude.” Apparently, though, I’m reasonably high on the “Britney Spears topless” results lists for those who don’t use Google.

  3. whatever says:

    He’s being disingenuous – Gays have the same right as Ms. Spears to go off an marry someone of the opposite sex for a few days in Vegas (and get it annulled).

    And just like the Gays, Ms. Spears doesn’t have the “right” to do it with someone of the same sex.

    So let’s drop this as a “fairness” thing and argue it another way.

  4. James Joyner says:


    Well, that’s true but rather silly. Gays don’t have the right to marry other unmarried consenting adults of their own choosing that they’d like; heterosexuals do.