Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are getting married. That’s great news! I would hate to deny anyone their happiness and tell them they can’t get married when they’re in love. Oh, except that is what the federal government tells countless gay couples every day by refusing to recognize their rights to get married. Angie and Brad spoke out in support of gay marriage many times and even vowed they wouldn’t say their marriage vows until everyone could. Too bad they reneged on their promise.
Back in a 2006 Esquire article, Brad said that he and Angie “will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able.” I can’t tell you how much this meant to gay men and lesbian all over the country. They were two of the first celebrities to draw attention to the fight for marriage equality and did it before legal marriage in states like New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Iowa, California, and others was even considered possible. This brought international attention to the cause and showed that they were principled people who were willing to put their beliefs before their convenience.
Now they’re engaged and it just all seems like a ruse. It’s as if they didn’t want to get married in 2006 and said, “What if we say it’s because gay people can’t get married? Then people will stop bothering us about getting hitched and we’ll look so noble.” Their declaration comes off as mercenary rather than thoughtful. Pitt recently told The Hollywood Reporter, “We made this declaration some time ago that we weren’t going to do it till everyone can. But I don’t think we’ll be able to hold out.” They even knew they were breaking their word but didn’t seem to care anymore.
I’m sorry, Brangelina, but real fighters for civil rights don’t buckle under pressure when it gets hard. The couple says that their legal union means a lot to the children and that’s why they’re doing it. What about teaching their children about standing up for what you believe in, even when it’s tough and unpopular? What if one of their children grows up to be gay and still can’t get legally hitched? What about all the gay and lesbian couples out there they inspired? What about all the straight mothers and fathers and siblings they inspired to fight for marriage equality? What about the other celebs like Charlize Theron and Kristen Bell who have taken a similar pledge? Does that mean nothing now? Huh?
I’m sure it was a difficult decision that required plenty of discussion, but, to the masses not able to penetrate their very media-closed doors, it appears as though the couple suddenly thought, hey, what they heck, they’d get married. Well, there are still millions of people who don’t even have that option. What are they supposed to do? Are their rights not worth fighting for anymore? Apparently not.
Now, I recognize that we’re talking about a couple of literal good-doers. Brangelina has always put their money where their beautiful mouths are, even donating $100,000 to fight Proposition 8, the California law that blocked gay marriage in the state. If they’re going to break their pledge and get married, the least they can do is hit their friends up for donations for marriage equality at the ceremony. They don’t need gifts, but some checks to gay organizations would be appreciated. Or better yet, take the $732 million that the tabloids are sure to offer for exclusive wedding pictures and donate that to help fight for gay marriage. Leading by example is what gay and lesbian Americans really need, but since they’ve failed at that, we’ll at least take their money.
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