In 2005, I interviewed Dan Savage while he was on tour for The Commitment, detailing the marriage to his longtime boyfriend. It reminded me that even though justice may arrive “like a thunderbolt,” it’s been a long time in coming.
“While we enjoyed being the center of attention in the spring of 2004, we were ready for the gay marriage debate to end by the beginning of the summer,” Savage wrote in his book. “You reach your limit more quickly when your kid is sitting at the kitchen table in his Incredible Hulk pj’s, eating his breakfast, pausing now and again to wiggle one of his loose baby teeth, all the while listening to his parents’ relationship being described as a threat to all things decent and good.”
Ironically, my wife Jess read The Commitment on our honeymoon. Now any couple — gay or straight — can read it on theirs. I thought now it would be timely to revisit my 10-year-old Q+A.
Dan Savage is settling down.
The 41-year-old Savage Love author married his boyfriend Terry Miller after 10 years together and six years after adopting their son, DJ.
Savage’s ambivalence about getting married and the political overtones of their gay marriage is chronicled in his fourth book “The Commitment: Sex, Love, Marriage, and My Family.”
He recently spoke by phone while on the road for his book tour.
What’s it like now to be officially married with a kid?
It’s almost impossible to talk about these things without jumping in a vat of clichés. We’re married now, everything’s different but nothing’s changed. It’s hard to put your finger on anything tangible but something intangible has changed. It’s hard to describe. It’s meant a lot to DJ that his parents are married now. It means more to him than it does to us.
Why was it important for you to get married?
It ultimately came down to family and kids and moms. My mother was after us to get married because she thought it was the right thing to do. We’re being pulled into the traditional generational flow of family life which includes marriage.
If you had to do it all over again, would you have gotten married?
There are many more gay couples on the fences than the ones at city hall trying to get a marriage license. There is a certain ambivalence among gay people about the institution of marriage. It’s not that we don’t respect it, maybe we respect it too much so we don’t rush in. I’m 40 and for gay guys my age coming out 25 years ago meant that you’d never get married. You sort of reconciled yourself to that. To suddenly have the option it’s not something that you’ll just rush off and do.
Have you gotten used to saying ‘My husband’ yet?
I’m uncomfortable with it. I still call Terry my boyfriend. When DJ hears each of us calling the other “boyfriend” he jumps in and corrects us.
You’re an advice columnist, newspaper editor, playwright, former radio show host and author. What’s next?
Oh God, I don’t know. Run for office? No, there’s too much videotape out there for me to run for office.
[Note: What he ended up doing next in 2010 was founding the It Gets Better project with his husband in response to the suicides of teenagers who were bullied because they were gay or because peers suspected they were gay.]
The last time I checked, your Amazon.com ranking for this book was No. 685 while your anti-gay rival Rick Santorum’s autobiography came in at No. 42,289. Your thoughts?
(Laughs) I never thought to look that up. That’s hilarious.