Commentary by a Conservative Gay Man on Historic Southern Same-Sex Marriage

A Rose by Any Other Name: On the Subject of Same-sex Marriage and Other Questionable Choices

By Jim Wherry, First Posted July 6, 2015 | Written June 26, 2015.

Jim and engaagement
Jim Wherry and husband at Engagement celebration Photo: Jim Wherry©

Last summer, I moved from Fairbanks, Alaska to Columbus Georgia for a new job.   I knew I was saying good-bye for good to arctic temperatures and wild changes in the length of day. What I did not know was that I would become part the civil rights history of the South.

I am gay (I prefer the technical term, “Queer as a Three Dollar Bill”) and I became engaged to a great guy from the Philippines. We are both politically conservative and so we did this by the book and lawfully applied for and obtained a fiancé visa.

He arrived at the end of May, and with today’s Supreme Court decision, we went down to the Columbus, Georgia Government Building and were married about 2 hours ago! I am so happy!

The howling – of course – has begun in earnest on TV, the radio and letters to the editors of our favorite hometown newspapers. I’d like to take the opportunity to address some of the wilder protests of shock and horror and try to reassure my straight, religiously conservative friends.

First, same-sex marriage is not an assault on marriage. Rather than being an assault on marriage, it is an endorsement of that “institution for the people who ought to be institutionalized, in the first place.”

Same-sex marriage is also not an endorsement of homosexual sex. The fact that heterosexuals go to church and talk about what I do in the privacy of my own bedroom is a little creepy to begin with, but honestly: recognizing same-sex marriage does not mean you are endorsing me: it’s the other way around. When I married, I endorsed your institution by joining it. I agreed for many years with the actor Ian McKellen, when he said, “Frankly, I’ve always thought that the fact that we didn’t have to marry was one of the best things about being gay.” And then he went and married Patrick Stewart off to his girlfriend. Ah, well: Love is blind. But seriously: if same-sex marriage is an “assault” on marriage, what effect has it had? Since we began allowing same-sex marriages, has your own marriage gotten worse? Do you no longer feel “as married” as you used to? Are you thinking about divorcing? Have your children called to tell you that they intend to continue to live in sin because “if those homos get to do it, what good is it, any more? We no longer feel special!”

Second, same-sex marriage will not “destroy our civilization.” As far as I can tell, our civilization has not come crashing down around our ears in the past few years. Well, no more than usual. But if this new phenomenon is going to hurt our civilization, how will it destroy civilization? Will gay men get married and then strap bombs on themselves and blow up tall buildings in downtown New York? Will we stop paying our taxes? Stop putting coins into parking meters? Will we go into the homes of the blind and re-arrange their furniture?

Third, yes, the Bible speaks against homosexual conduct – no getting around that – but it also speaks against a lot of other things. A recent group of Evangelical and Catholic ministers got together earlier this year and proclaimed that same-sex marriage was a far greater threat to our nation than fornication or adultery.

Now that’s odd, because this group ought to know that the Bible condemns all three acts. First Corinthians 6:9 actually hits all three in the same verse. But these ministers were clever and they knew that the majority of people in America sleep with someone before they marry them. Pre-marital and non-married sex (fornication) is nearly universal among Americans.

The ministers also knew that many heterosexual marriages end in divorce that had nothing to do with adultery. All good Catholics know that Jesus said, if you remarry and your first divorce was not because of the adultery of the other person, then you and the new spouse are committing adultery, every time you sleep together.

Strategically, these ministers were trying to build a coalition because they know that we homosexuals are a minority, but taken with all the rest, we’re an overwhelming majority, and if you’re going to try and take someone’s rights away from them, make sure you picking on the little guys.

*Sigh* Fornicators, Adulterers and Sodomites. Oh my!

But some of my religious friends may be missing a point: I don’t want to live in your theocracy and neither do most of us, whether it is run by ISIS or by our local church. And hey, don’t blame us for every wrong in the world. Remember that story about Sodom & Gomorrah? No homosexual sex ever did take place in that story. And the group of presumably heterosexual men were offered two young girls, Lot’s daughters!

Now look, “I’m sure that most heterosexuals are probably not child molesters. Some of my best friends are heterosexuals. I’m just sayin’. . . .”

But good Lord! No self-respecting gay man would have sex with women of any age or in any form! Vaginal sex is fairly repulsive to me.   I agree with Roger from the TV show American Dad: “I never could trust anything that bleeds for three days and doesn’t die.”

So if none of these arguments work for fundamentalists, what are the real reasons they oppose same-sex marriage? To begin with, they find what we do to be “icky” and do not want to endorse it.

As I’ve said before, same-sex marriage is not an endorsement of what I do in my own bedroom, or how well I do it. More to the point though: I’ve seen your porn, and I know what you people apparently do, and apparently there is a lot of sodomy that goes on among heterosexuals!

It really comes down to this: the fear and the hope is that “if gays are allowed to marry, they will feel good about themselves, but if we can prevent them from marrying and make them feel bad, maybe they’ll stop being gay!”

Folks, it doesn’t work that way.

We were gay before same-sex marriage was allowed, and we’ll be so even if it was not. But yes, it was enjoyable to experience the simple pleasure of just being an “average” American, looking for wedding rings, and having the formal celebration of our engagement with my fiancé’s family in the Philippines.

As for me, I just turned 50 years old, this month. I spent a lot of years living in the closet, struggling with my own feelings and feeling ashamed of myself. At this point in my life, I’m an accomplished lawyer and I have served my country in uniform for more than 16 years. I deployed twice to Iraq, once in the invasion and again in 2008-2009 (I didn’t get it right the first time, so they made me go back). I’ve served in Africa and taught the ethical use of force to Ugandan soldiers. All so that you and I would have the same freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom to be tolerant of others, that some people seem to take for granted and abuse.

I don’t really have much left to prove. And shouldn’t those of you who are concerned with marriage be working on that hideous heterosexual divorce rate of yours?

We are your brothers and sisters, your sons and daughters, and occasionally we are your uncle who lives alone and is always telling you the reason he never married is that he “never found the right woman” – you know, the one with those three cats? Yeah, he’s lying to you: he’s gay.

   Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 4.18.15 PM  Jim Wherry lives, writes and works in Columbus, Georgia.
Views expressed are not necessarily those of the Department of Defense or any component thereof. But they should be.



Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 4.17.38 PM
Jim Wherry and husband celebrating with family at Engagement party Photo: Jim Wherry©

12 thoughts on “Commentary by a Conservative Gay Man on Historic Southern Same-Sex Marriage

  1. Nothing wrong with same-sex marriage, but its the sodomy that spreads diseases and should be classified as bioterrorism.

    Sodomizers, whether straight or gay, should be sent to Guantanamo.

    1. DanDate2: According to the Sexperts, Johnson and Masters, 86% of all heterosexual couples engage in so-called “sodomy.” And honestly, I’ve seen your porn and I see an AWFUL LOT of sodomy going on!

      Originally, anti-gay activists tried to claim that HIV/AIDS was “GRIDS” (gay-related immune deficiency syndrome). Scientists soon dropped that idea, when they discovered that the disease had already been reeking havoc in Africa, primarily among HETEROSEXUALS.

      The sad truth is that Ugandan men (and others) often work away from their homes and visit prostitutes for sex, when they do. No sodomy involved and no homosexuals involved. Truck drivers were the worst offenders. That is what helped rapidly transfer HIV/AIDS.

      I have visited Uganda, and was there during one of the national HIV/AIDS campaigns in the summer of 2012. We actually held a discussion with Ugandan Officers in their Army about how to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

      I am sorry that outlets like “the Red Pepper” mis-represented the spread of the disease. I would hope that journalists would want to know the truth, but it’s a bit of a rag, much like “the National Enquirer, in the United States. The newspaper “outed” prominent gays in Uganda, who soon had to flee in terror from would-be murderers. Not sure how that is different from dying from HIV/AIDS, but oh, well.

      I was in a VERY conservative Christian Church in the 1980s and 1990s. I know from personal experience that these churches preached that HIV/AIDS was a punishment from GOD for homosexuality and prostitution. Worse yet, they openly derided ANY spending on HIV/AIDS and said the money could be “better spent” on breast cancer and other diseases.

      Meanwhile, better men and women than ME in “Act Up” and other organizations actively lobbied for money to combat the disease in Africa EVEN THOUGH it was primarily a “heterosexual” disease in Africa. As a result of OUR activism, Uganda has reduced the HIV/AIDS rate from 26% of the population to around 7% of the population.

      Now, these VERY same “Christian” activists have come back to Uganda to “hate and hunt” homosexuals and to seek to persecute, imprison, torture and murder homosexuals across Africa. It is sad to see the people that homosexuals helped turn on the homosexuals at the request of the very people who OPPOSED help for Africans!!!!!!!! I want to vomit about such evil and proclaim it is NOT anything I can identify with Jesus Christ OR Judaism or any other SANE religion!!!!!!!!!!

      If you want to avoid HIV/AIDS: USE A CONDOM, DAN! Or, do what I did and GET MARRIED AND HAVE ONE MONOGAMOUS PARTNER FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All the more reason to support same-sex marriage, Dan!

      – Jim Wherry

  2. Reblogged this on Fairy JerBear's Queer World News, Views & More From The City Different – Santa Fe, NM and commented:
    A story of love…

  3. Reblogged this on Pink Peach News and commented:
    Jim Wherry of Columbus, GA, and his husband, Mario Jay Jamandron Occena of the Philippines, were the first same-sex couple to get married in Muscogee County. He writes at South African-American activist Melanie Nathan’s blog in defense of his marriage from a conservative perspective.

    1. Two thumbs up, Harry! Happy to be married! Not a “social conservative,” for sure: much more of an economic, fiscal, military and national security conservative with a liberatarian streak that nearly ALL Americans share. “I love my country, but I fear my government” is nearly universal across Left/Right lines!

    1. Sorry Danadate – But your response never made it through moderation – This would have been my response to you: “LOL you are more of a Mampara than I initially thought Dandate. Sorry I dont usually call out MAMPARA on my blog. Shows you dont have a clue – ” a) the Post was not about California b) Kids dont choose to be GAY anymore than you choose be straight. Kids are GAY. Which person you have a relationship with is indeed a choice. But sexuality is not. When straight people tell gay people that they “consent” to being gay – I realize that the ignorance stems from personal feel. You are obviously gay and pretending to be straight – otherwise how would you possible “know” it to be a choice that one can “consent” to?

      1. Melanie: I think DanDate is endorsing our relationship. Yes, I am a bit older than Jay, but we look for things to do in the middle! There’s an article online entitled “12 gay celebrities that prove age means nothing.”

        We spent today fishing at Panama City Beach, Florida. Two red snappers and two king mackerls! We then spent the rest of the afternoon sunning on the beach and playing in the ocean (I am sunburned and tired!). My goal is to show Jay how wonderful America is and how much fun it can be! There’s no “Spring Break” down here, but lots of young people, and we plan to play putt-putt golf, tonight!

        America is not “the GREATEST” nation in the world – as if to be racist or nationalist – but it is home to me and it really has a lot of “GREAT” people and “GREAT” places to visit and things to do!

    2. Thanks, Dandate: you may notice the older man in the picture. That’s Walter. He’s married to the woman next to him, Margie. They are Aunt and Uncle to Jay and the age difference is even more pronounced than Jay’s and my age difference. They are a heterosexual couple that have 3 beautiful children. Wakiim is their youngest at age 4. I’d adopt him in a heartbeat (I refer to him as “Atillah the Honey” because he’s ornery and so cute!), but his parents would never part with him.

      It became funny, as I visited resort after resort in the Philippines and met American/European Men and their younger Filipina wives. Really!

      Sorry, but it’s just how it is.

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