Marriage Is For Illiterates

A third proposed version of the map showing th...
Image via Wikipedia

And you thought I was kidding when I used the word ignoramous: “Senator Greg Ball is also saying he is unsure how to vote, and asking for help in deciding his vote through Twitter.” – The Christian Post online.  Twitter, really? To decide on the rights of an entire population of people?

The following short editorial was first published in Bay Windows in 2004 during the Massachusetts Gay Marriage Debate. I dedicate it now to the people of New York, currently fighting for a right they should not have to fight for…

I was driving my Honda CRV down the highway the other day, inching my way toward a magenta colored van located in the lane to my right. I can’t recall the make of the van, but it was a newer model, very shiny, very American. On the back window was a sticker I’d never seen before, and which probably didn’t exist before this year of the gay marriage debate. The sticker stated: “Marriage = ” and what followed was a line drawing of a man, then a mathematical “+” sign, and finally, a line drawing of a woman. There were no actual words other than the word “Marriage.” The rest of the sticker was a mathematical equation with these man and woman drawings. By the way, the man drawing was first.

Since there were no words, I first thought, “What? Marriage is for Illiterates?” Then I looked again at the drawing of the man and woman and thought, “Marriage is for stick figures?” Then, noticing the mathematical equation, I wondered, “Marriage is for math nerds?” Or, putting together all the highly intelligent symbolism garnered from this very proud sticker, I thought: “Marriage is for illiterate math nerds who like to draw stick figures?”

Yes, I’m being facetious, but it took me a few seconds to register that this was an anti-gay marriage window sticker. There were no words, after all, nothing clearly stated, bold and readable: Marriage equals a MAN and a WOMAN. Nothing that “brave” to show the world. Instead, I saw just subtle drawings in a math equation. You really had to look to get the message, to see the man and the woman drawings, the plus sign, and put it all together, and realize the driver of the vehicle was a homophobic son of a bitch, not quite “brave” enough to state his prejudices loudly and clearly. My anger grew in levels as my own level of understanding increased.

I drove past the van and looked at the driver: a gray haired man, very well groomed, in his early 60s, from what I could tell. I thought about giving him the finger, but I realized he would think I was giving him the finger because of his driving. In Massachusetts we’re always giving each other the finger for the way we drive. He would not realize my “finger” was because of his “sticker.” My potential for road rage gave me fantasies of taking a golf ball I keep in the cup holder and throwing it at his window, directly at his gray head. However, I realized if I did that, I would do nothing to make people realize that marriage is a right that any consenting adult should have, regardless of sexual orientation. Causing myself to look like a highway maniac, getting arrested, then stating my case, in between trying to explain the golf-ball-thrown-at-the-man’s-head incident, would do no one any good.

I took another look at this man as I drove by, with no finger raised, with no golf ball flying across the highway, and thought, okay, now I get it: “Marriage is for old gray haired men who need to come first in the marriage equation, ahead of the woman, and with no regard whatsoever for any other lifestyle, other than this very narrow one.”

In other words, “Marriage is for ignoramuses, who may also be illiterate.”


  1. Cindy, there is so much humor yet so much frustration inherent in this piece. I cannot believe we’re in the second decade of the 21st century and still discussing the merits of this topic. I applaud you for your brilliant way of exposing truth. As a mathematician-writer, you prove that some equations just don’t add up to equality. Mark Twain must be cheering you from afar. After all, he wrote: “Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.” Congratulations ~ and “thank you” ~ for “adding” your views to the dialogue. I agree with you and cherish your humor amidst the “illiterates.” Cheers, Carol


    • Hi Carol,

      Thank you, as always, for taking the time to read my blog. You always express such sensitive and thoughtful comments. I’m glad you enjoyed the piece and understood it on its multiple levels: humor, frustration, etc. I love the Mark Twain quote. You’re a well-read gal. Hey, you will be graduating in just a few weeks, right? I can’t wait to see you. I’ll be visiting. Take care and thanks again for all of you wonderful support. Cindy


  2. I remember reading this IN bay windows…. great job!!!!
    “Don’t Tread on Me” but we can let the majority vote on civil rights for the minority? There should be a constitutional amendment saying that marriage CANNOT be defined, because it is no ones business but the people getting married!!
    Don’t want gay marriage? Well then don’t marry one! Case freaking closed!!
    Good thing you didn’t hit the waspy old republican, but it is gratifying to think about! I am done ranting now 🙂


    • Hi David. Thanks for reading and responding. Feel free to express yourself here anytime. Your comments are smart. Did I tell you to read this in Bay Windows in 2004 or did you stumble upon it?


      • I cannot remember, there was one you told me about and one I stumbled upon. Not sure which one this was. I enjoyed it all the same. It reminded me of a bit that margaret cho did where she was behind a car with a racist bumper sticker. I will have to try to find that clip and show you.


  3. Random reading again…Love this. I have seen a bumper sticker or two, on that same topic, that has left me… Yes me!! Feeling the need to punch the driver square in the face. Maybe the math equation made the driver think ‘”Well If its not “SAYING” anything hateful…” Thank you for sharing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.