Stephen Fry, the openly gay and truly important comedic actor (he and former comedy partner Hugh Laurie are superstars in their native England), married his fiance, Elliott Spencer, over the weekend. They are British, where same-sex marriage is legal, and has been for a while. So basically, this should be one of those “oh-is-that-so-how-nice-for-them-what’s-for-dinner” moments. Only it’s not, and often as not those expressing their disapproval are as likely to be gay as straight.
They aren’t upset two men are marrying. They object to the age difference — Fry is 57, Spencer is 27.
And it pisses me off.
One very progressive friend of mine went so far as to cluck “It’s practically pedophilia!” Another said “The boy looks like he’s 17!” Well, guess what? Even if he was 17, he would be “legal” (in Texas, at least) and that’s not exactly pedophilia when you marry someone of age, now, is it?
When Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson starred in Lost in Translation, he was 53 and she was 18, and Sofia Coppola won an Oscar for her “charming” screenplay. Where was the outrage then?
It’s an infuriating double standard when old men date fully of-age but young-looking boys; the tongues begin wagging. What could they possibly have in common?
I wrote something about this phenomenon and few weeks ago, in my piece about being considered a daddy, but the point still has to be made: People of different ages can fall in love, and we should celebrate it as much as we do when two octogenarian lesbians tie the knot. How do you dare to know their love and relationship?
Spencer isn’t exactly my type, but then again, Fry isn’t either. But they seem happy, and that’s what marriage equality should be about — not just the right to marry someone of whatever sex, but whatever age, race, background, etc., we choose. When we impose judgments (“He’s too old for him!”) on people whose private lives we know positively nothing about, how are we being any better than the homophobes who oppose same-sex marriage?
We all need to get on board and support marriage whatever form it takes. Even if it fails. Even if we roll our eyes in private. Because criticism based on ages only fuels the culture that says others should be able to decide the rightness of our relationships, which is what we have spent decades fighting against.