Monday, June 30, 2014

The Commitment

The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family by Dan Savage, 291 pages

Gay marriage is constantly in the news, and it has been for years. Most of the news stories focus on court cases or ballot initiatives or, more recently, states legalizing gay marriage. In The Commitment, Savage focuses gay marriage (and marriage in general) from an angle rarely seen in the news: the personal point of view. At the time the book was published in 2005, Savage and his boyfriend, Terry, had been together for 10 years. They had a six-year-old son who they adopted at birth and everything was stable in their little family. The couple was even planning a huge anniversary party to celebrate their decade together.

But on the subject of marriage (which was not legal for them in their home state at that time; Washington legalized it in 2012), there was disagreement. Savage was afraid that by "formalizing" their relationship, they'd jinx it; Terry didn't want to do anything straight people did and would rather get "property of" tattoos; Savage's Catholic mother surprisingly was pressuring them to tie the knot; and, perhaps even more surprisingly, their son DJ was vehemently against the idea of his two dads getting married, saying that "boys don't marry boys."

This book follows Savage and his family as they wrestle with the idea of marriage. It also sheds a lot of light on Savage's family, both nuclear and extended, as he examines the marriages of his siblings, parents, grandparents, and various aunts, uncles, and cousins. This was a really interesting, insightful book, though there were a few TMI moments (which is to be expected from Savage, who is a syndicated sex-advice columnist). Overall, a good book, especially for those who already support gay marriage (or are at least leaning that way). But those TMI moments make it not for the faint of heart.

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