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Saturday, August 23, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 76.0° F  Fog/Mist
The Paper
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Tell All: A gay guy who won't marry
It will take more than a judge's ruling to remove the stigma

Dear Tell All: I cheered the court's recent ruling against Wisconsin's same-sex marriage ban along with all my LGBT friends. Unlike many of them, though, I didn't have a strong desire to rush down to the City-County Building to get married.

It's partly because I'm not ready for that level of commitment with my current partner. But I have to admit that another part of me shies away from a public, legal commitment to a same-sex relationship. I'd be reluctant to make a big show of posing for photographers and telling my story to the press, as many of Wisconsin's newly married gay couples have.

Am I one of those "self-hating gay men" from the cultural cliché? I don't think so, given that I've been out for a long time and also been active in gay rights causes. But a thoroughly self-loving gay man wouldn't have such conflicted feelings about gay marriage, would he?

Confirmed Bachelor

Dear Confirmed Bachelor: I'm not Sigmund Freud, but it doesn't take a lot of psychiatric training to figure out your problem. All it takes is a review of the news since Judge Barbara Crabb ruled the same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional on June 6. You feel a lingering sense of shame because so many people in Wisconsin are still trying to shame you.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has done everything he can to stop same-sex marriage, throwing the power of the state into denying gay couples equal rights. Another authority figure, Madison's Catholic Bishop Robert Morlino, literally warned that civilization would end if Judge Crabb's ruling were allowed to stand. The fact that mainstream leaders have no problem opposing gay rights in public -- just as mainstream leaders had no problem opposing African American or women's rights in previous eras -- suggests that we still have a long way to go.

We can only hope that the proliferating images of loving couples will soon make everyone thoroughly comfortable with same-sex marriage, including you, Confirmed Bachelor. When that day comes, don't forget to send me an invitation to your wedding.

Do you have a question about life or love in Madison? Write Tell All, 101 King St., Madison, WI 53703. Or email

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