Larry Kramer: “Gay Marriages Are An Embarrassment”

“These marriages, in whichever state, are what I call feel-good marriages. Compared to the benefits heterosexual marriages convey, gay marriages are an embarrassment — that we should accept so little, and with so much hoopla of excitement and self-congratulation.”

– Gay playright and rabble-rousing gay activist Larry Kramer discussing yesterday’s gay marriages in New York… and all gay marriages in general.

Via Joe.My.God. Image via

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  • Daez

    @GreenleeGazette: He simply speaks the truth. We can get married, but we have no entitlements under federal law. We still have a lot more rights in states where we can get married, but DOMA has to go!

  • Dave

    He has a point, but it’s pretty much going to be this way no matter what, since DOMA guarantees that it has to be fought on multiple fronts, and state by state.

    In other words, there’s nothing wrong with celebrating victories at the state level, but until DOMA is gone, and until all states recognize at a very minimum out of state marriages (which won’t necessarily be the case when DOMA’s gone, due to the caselaw on Full Faith and Credit and per se illegal marriages), we should keep in mind that it’s pretty thin soup, and stay focused on achieving true equality.

  • Kev C

    He’s right of course. Imagine if heterosexual marriages were only legal in a few states and no federal recognition. Second class all the way.

  • Chris

    Sorry, Larry Kramer. When I see people like Phyllis Siegal and Connie Kopelov (76 and 84) finally have their moment after a lifetime of waiting, that’s cause for celebration.

  • gregger

    The difference here is Kramer is just pissing on everyone rejoicing that the largest state, so far, to enact marriage equality. I agree with some of his points, but for f*cks sake I know the war isn’t over but this was a Hell of a battle and deserves a little bit of a celebration. Don’t be so GD Bitter.

  • ewe

    Since your married straight friends are filing joint tax returns and you and your spouse still can’t then it’s obvious Larry Kramer is correct.

  • Matt

    little steps larry. little steps. but hes right.

  • ewe

    @Chris: I can celebrate these people and still realize that full equality has not yet materialized.

  • Daez

    @GreenleeGazette: When realism sucks, it tends to be depressing.

  • Daez

    @Dave: However, that isn’t even what is really being talked about here. If you want to be legally married now you can move to a more accepting state if you chose too. You still miss out on 1,000+ federal benefits that are rewarded to straight couples when they say “I Do,” simply because of DOMA.

  • Daez

    @gregger: No he is simply point out that the term “marriage equality” for now is bull shit because our marriages are in no way equal to straight marriages as long as we are being as fucked over on benefits as we are. Sure, being able to get married is cause for celebration, but the fight doesn’t end until we actually have true marriage equality on the federal level

  • Chip

    It would be nice if Larry could give bitter a rest for just one day.

  • SteveC

    Well DOMA has to go.

    Gay marriage is indeed sort of useless if you plan to move to a state other than where you got married.

    But it’s an advance.

    Larry Kramer’s bitterness knows no bounds. His unfounded hatred of the younger LGBT generation is an embarrassment to both himself and his generation

  • Lars Eighner

    I agree. All discrimination in the law must be removed, and that includes marriage law and DADT. That doesn’t mean gay people should marry or join the military. Wanting equal rights is one thing, wanting to be like straight people is another. Marriage and the US military are corrupt institutions. The point of seeking equality before the law is to secure the right to be different, not to become more of the same.

    Marriage and oil wars do not deserve the endorsement of gay people.

  • yaph

    His rhetoric is self defeating and he is being a lousy activist. You can’t just sweep the nation in one bold move and get everything you want at once. Does he even know how hard it is to get a bill through the US Senate or does he only know about the legislature in Larry Kramer Land? First you get a popular movement going then you need proof of concept by getting state laws passed and then you might have enough support for sweeping changes in Federal law. Occupying the moral high ground isn’t going to change anything.

  • christopher di spirito

    He has a point.

    While marriage equality is legal in 6 states, we STILL don’t get the instant 1,300 Federal benefits hets get the second they tie the knot. Such as Social Security benefits.

    Don’t be so quick to criticize Mr. Kramer. He’s spot on.

  • inoits2

    @Lars Eighner:Nothing wrong with wanting to be like straights. I’m gay and I endorse marriage and war when necessary and appropriate. Who says gays have to pretend they are morally superior to everyone else.

  • Daez

    @yaph: It has nothing to do with moral high ground. It has nothing to do with sweeping changes. It has to do with the fact that many gays and lesbians fight for marriage until we get it and then we are so happy to have it that they forget to keep fighting regardless of the fact that the marriage we have is by no means equal to hetero marriage.

  • inoits2

    @yaph: You are talking to people that act like spoiled brats when they don’t get what they want right now! They have no concept of process and consensus. It’s all about what we don’t have instead of what we do have.

  • Daez

    @inoits2: I think you have that backwards. Its the straights that don’t want us to be part of their club because they believe they are morally superior to us.

  • inoits2

    @Daez: You will never be happy no matter what.

  • Kieran

    He has a good point. Would African-Americans be satisfied if inter-racial marriages were only recognized in five or six states?

  • Daez

    @inoits2: I am an extremely happy person in a healthy and stable long term relationship with an amazing man that I very much love.

    I won’t be happy about gay marriage as long as it is not truly equivalent to straight marriage.

  • James in Hollywood

    Kramer’s right, but his timing is a bit ugly, if you ask me. I’m still deliriously happy for all the newly wed couples, despite the turd in the punch bowl.

  • french62

    Good God,

    Why is it that so many people within the homosexual community just can’t take YES for an answer to their on-going struggle for civil rights? People, this is a VICTORY!! Is the “war” won and there is nothing more to be done? Of course not, this is the essence of combat, political or otherwise. We will be struggling to achieve greater levels of equal rights for a long time to come. However, when you win a major battle, your morale, and willingness to continue the fight, should be redoubled. Mr. Kramer is wrong on this one, he needs to reassess, and stop whining about how unfair this victory is.

    Mr. Kramer, your t-shirt asks, “Where is the outrage?” I can only guess always and forever in your heart. Outrage and anger do not, of themselves, make for greater equality. Openness, civil discourse, and yes, Love can and do change hearts more than all the outrage in the world. The world is filled with outrage: All I ask is where has it gotten us?

  • french62

    @Kieran: As a matter of fact, this is precisely the way interracial marriages were finally recognized, first through individual State legislation, then eventually through a ruling of the Supreme Court. We need to continue the fight in light of what has gone before. Follow the successes, and learn from the mistakes of the past. We will eventually win the final victory, we have come a very long way in a very short period of time.

  • Daez

    @french62: I can definitely take YES. What I can’t take is, YES, BUT (you will not have the same rights even in your own state that hetero couples do, and we don’t really give a fuck about that). That is the answer we have actually gotten at this point. We have gay marriage (our YES). We also have a huge BUT (our inequality) thrown in. When we get rid of the BUT we can celebrate the YES.

    My fear is that many will end up celebrating the YES, BUT so much that they stop fighting for the YES.

  • prohomo

    @Daez: Fuck off with your religious homophobia, DAEZ. You are ilk.

  • The Gays will make it Bachman2012 (John from England)


    That’s utter rubbish because they are now onto Michigan.

    @ All

    Not sure what you guys are DOING towards equality including Queerty writers but if any of you KNOW any activists or bother to HELP any, you will know that they NEVER, EVER, stop.

    I can’t stop thinking about equality if I frigging tried. It’s in my make up. Put an episode of Glee in front of me and I will cry. Instinctively because it doesn’t react with me because it’s so manipulative and rubbish.

    Put me in front of politcal debate and my eyes light up.

    My point is that it is not only patronising but really insulting that you think people who live, eat and breath political movements will suddenly go ‘Hey, that’s done. What hobby can I find now? Gun shooting? Glee fan club’?

    Come on. Use your brain cells but I understand if you’ve never met anyone who has sacrificed free time or money for equality towards mankind. But trust, these people never sleep until the end game is won. I know, I am one.

  • QJ201

    I respect Larry a lot, but I am tired of wealthy queers who have their lawyers on speed dial complaining about marriage equality on the state level. Larry I am sure your lawyers has earned plenty of money to write up the documents you need to protect you and your partner. Working class queers can’t afford that, and in the short term until DOMA is repealed, the state level benefits will be welcomed by many same sex couples.

  • Jim

    Perhaps what Larry is trying to say is that the battles aren’t over yet. We gained a little ground, in one more singular location, but for many gays in most of the country, it’s still just as it was, without even the stride forward made by residents of New York State.

    We forget that Larry has been around a long time, from the times when it really was hard and difficult to be an outspoken gay person. Give him his credit. I look around today at all the young gay people out and proud by age 16 – that was impossible when I was 16, and Larry had his part in making that possible.

  • Daez

    @prohomo: Is that your standard comeback for anytime anyone points out the truth.

    The truth is that although people in NY can no get “married” these marriages in absolutely no way resemble marriage equality. Its time to fight for the end of DOMA and other discriminatory measures before celebrating “marriage.”

    @The Gays will make it Bachman2012 (John from England): Do you not understand that every single state in this country could legalize “marriage” and it still wouldn’t be marriage equality because this nation gives 1000+ rights to hetero couples that it doesn’t to homosexual couples?

    @The Gays will make it Bachman2012 (John from England): My god you are clueless. I’m not against gay marriage and neither is Kramer. We are simply pointing out how disappointed we are that our marriages are NOT equal to hetero marriages.

  • Daez

    @Jim: No, what he is trying to say is that NY does not have marriage equality because gay marriage is not treated (legally) equally to hetero marriage.

  • JJ00

    @QJ201 and your friends: I think you need to get a clue. Larry Kramer is an activist to his core. He’s not going to celebrate that the battle has been won. And…his fears are well-founded. People will become complacent now that they can have a ceremony or march into city hall. What you fail to recognize is what exactly others on this board are saying. Federal rights are at issue. Your state rights are at issue if you decide to take a job in, say, PA or MD or RI–states just a couple hours drive from NYC.

    And all your wealthy fag talk makes you sound bitter. Larry Kramer–or any “wealthy queer” for that matter–cannot call up his lawyer and ask him to write a contract so that he can avoid paying inheritance tax. He…or you…cannot call any lawyer and ask that the lawyer to write a contract so that he can receive his husband’s veterans’ benefits or social security or to force the government to give his foreign husband a green card. Sure…the state benefits are great, but he’s right. It’s still not equal. Just because it’s better doesn’t mean it’s great.

    I think you need to reassess, my friend, because your bitterness seems to directed not at those who refuse to provide you with rights, but with those who are fighting for your rights.

  • gregger

    @Daez: And what the Hell did I say? I said that the War is not over. That means we fight on, do you understand?

    It seems that anytime something good happens in the LGBT community Kramer comes out and tells us that we are an embarrassment or that we should be ashamed of taking some cheer in a good thing. F*ck that, if he’s so GD bitter that he cannot let people rejoice even as we take steps forward maybe he aught to run things through a press representative or a PR firm.

  • gregger

    @ewe: It seems there are few of us. I’m impatient as so many are but I’m not begrudging people having a good time. Even in the trenches of WWI they took a moment and celebrated Christmas.

  • the crustybastard

    Not every benefit of marriage is financial, Mr. Kramer.

  • Erik

    I think most understand the issue Kramer is trying to address here, but can we not celebrate progress?

    The law in New York is a major achievement.

  • gregger

    @Erik: That’s what I’ve been saying, Daez along with Kramer don’t seem to get it.

  • Elloreigh

    Larry Kramer says:”These marriages, in whichever state, are what I call feel-good marriages.”

    Elloreigh replies: Nothing wrong with feeling good about finally being able to legally marry.

    Larry Kramer says:”Compared to the benefits heterosexual marriages convey, gay marriages are an embarrassment”

    Elloreigh replies: Your aim is off, Larry. That our government continues to treat us with such inequality is the embarrassment. The folks who got married have nothing to feel embarrassed about.

    Larry Kramer says:”that we should accept so little”

    Elloreigh replies: This is how our pursuit of equality has gone pretty much all along – incrementally. We should fight fiercely for what we can get, and have – and then fight some more in pursuit of our full equality. I don’t think anyone has said the current situation is acceptable.

    Larry Kramer says:”and with so much hoopla of excitement and self-congratulation.”

    Elloreigh replies: It is exciting. I can’t begrudge people their celebrations.

    All that said, I will admit that the more people in other states are able to marry, the more bitter I feel about my own situation, stuck in a state unlikely to ever acknowledge my equality without having it forced upon them by the courts.

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m very happy for the couples who can finally marry. But I am sick of it being the subject of almost every article everywhere. Just serves to remind me that I’m being left behind.

  • Cam

    Larry Kramer is a boney angry relic, however, I get what he is saying in this instance. Until DOMA is gone, our state marriages do not give us what any straight person automatically gets after a 3 min. ceremony in Vegas. But even Kramer has to admit, we are making strides in that direction rather than the lack of movement that characterized more of the 90’s.

  • alan Balehead

    He’s right..fight for more….and march already!!!

  • prohomo

    @Daez: No, I thought you were an anti-gay troll trying to say we homos can never be happy because we are homo. Sorry.

  • Hephaestion

    Larry is talking out of his ass here. No, we aren’t seeing equality and justice yet, but it’s a huge step and probably a turning point to those ends. Sometimes, Larry, you should keep your mouth shut and let people celebrate hard-earned victories, especially if they are old and not likely to live to see true justice.

  • ewe

    Biracial marriages were once considered non traditional too. Whatever the fuck that means. There is still lots of work to be done and much to be accomplished.

  • Interesting

    Whatever motivates Kramer, what he is saying factually correct.

    Not really sure how anyone can deny that.

    Well, actually, in Delusional America where everyone is seeking to retreat into fantasy, including gay people., I can see how someone voicing truth in the middle of their fantasies might piss them off.

  • Max Ford

    Cranky uncle? I am grateful for Larry Kramer. Thank God, that this man is not afraid to stand up and speak the truth. This man is all about knuckles and know how, this man gets things done.
    I have been with my boyfriend for ten years and will not accept a fake name only marriage. I am sorry, but that is straight up -bull shit.
    I can’t think of one straight person that would put up with that bull shit for one second. It’s so hard to accomplish anything in the Gay community because some Gay people will settle for little things so easily, because they ‘re ashamed of being Gay or perhaps just retarded.
    For God Sakes people – stop being a fag and stand up to bull shit. If you won’t fight or confront bullshit -then get the fuck out of the way and let a fighter pass by, because we have shit to do and don’t have time for Gay people that want to be fags. I want more and like fighting for more. Thank you, Mr. Kramer for speaking the truth and showing me that to settle for less is wrong.

  • whaT'S THE DEAL?

    Awful site.I like other men,but not like this.
    Long time-no parades or false pride.
    Just another guy.
    I end up best with men who don’t like queers,eventually.
    Be honest and don’t make yourselves miserable.
    You’re not special.

    Where is the unimportance ?

  • zrocqs

    For all you Kramer-haters, you need to realize that Larry Kramer has been one of the most important voices in the equality struggle for decades. While most of us were grousing with like-minded people in safe environs, he was shouting in the faces of people who had the power to injure him. Show some gratitude. And I’m reasonably sure that his friends who are now marrying are receiving his best wishes. I am grateful for his bombast. If you dismiss him for his opinions, you have a lot in common with people who mean to harm us.

  • JayKay

    Old man yells at cloud. More at 11.

  • declanto

    I just love it that this stringy old ‘mo can still stir your shit after all these years. The shitstorm over his comments is just what we all need, a reminder not to get too comfy because there’s still work to be done, but hey, relax, celebrate, call your bf and propose, just show up for work tomorrow so we can go after DOMA.Cheers, darlings!

  • Riker

    If gay marriage is pissing off the fundamentalists we are doing something right. As usual with Larry, I agree with the principle, but his chronic negativity leads to pessimism and fatalism. What happened in New York was close to a bloody miracle, but Larry is going to find reasons to be unhappy about anything, it’s in his DNA. Celebrating victories, big and small, is vital for our community. So lets celebrate our win, then let’s kill DOMA.

  • DonLakeside

    Victories for our community? Where is THAT community? I have been shunned, backstabbed and humiliated in that community that worships hot bodies and youthful good looks…and of course, money. I never wore enough Abercrombie, I suppose. And now everyone is excited to live the lives of straight people? That’s where real communities exist, in the straight world. They don’t live in gay bars and the gay ghetto worlds of P-Town, San-Fran and Chelsea. By the way, the greatest issue facing our society right now is economic injustice and inequality. A bunch of wealthy queers getting married will not do one thing for children living in poverty.

  • DonLakeside

    One more thing, take note of the ageist comments written about Larry Kramer.

  • prohomo

    @DonLakeside: I hear you, DonLakeside. You’re not alone.

  • Elloreigh

    @DonLakeside: “And now everyone is excited to live the lives of straight people?”

    If marriage doesn’t appeal to you, that’s fine – don’t get married in that case. Those of us who want to commit to one person in a marriage should be able to do so. It has nothing to do with mimicking straight people or living straight lives. There isn’t one singular way to be gay. Odd that you’d be unaware of this, given your self-described experience with the ‘gay community’.

  • DonLakeside

    @Elloreigh: No worries, Elloreigh. I’m fully aware that there is no singular way to be gay. By the way, this is NOT about marriage. This is about civil rights. The people celebrating the state-by-state marriage victories think it’s about marriage. No, it’s about fundamental civil rights. Do you think Martin Luther King would celebrate a law in New York that let him marry a white woman if he still faced legal discrimination in Alabama? No, the fight is for first class citizenship.

  • Max Ford

    @zrocqs: Amen. Well said.

  • Suzygoo

    Goin’ to the chapel and we’re
    Gonna get married
    Gee, I really love you and we’re
    Gonna get married
    Goin’ to the chapel of love

    After you come back from the Chapel-don’t forget “In Your Face” politics. Why here in Canada, we are equal (ended up paying more taxes then the singles but that is the burden of marriage plus having to put out when the hubby licks your neck but I digress). I went across the border to visit NY, told the US Customs and Immigration hunk (who are federal) that I was there with my hubby. He did not blink or deny my relationship rather was more worried about how long we were planning on staying and whether we had any oranges. What is it with the US Border people and f*cking oranges? Celebrate and then shove your marriages into their faces!

  • Jeffrey

    @Max Ford: Thanks for stating specifically what I think Kramer’s comment was about to begin with. This is a rights issue, not just marriage.

  • Joetx

    @french62: That is so very true. The Civil Rights Movement worked on victories on the state & local level first, to build up a critical mass, before moving on to the federal level.

Comments are closed.