Rufus Wainwright on Marriage Equality

RufuswainwrightFrom an interview in the New York Press:

“Oddly enough, I’m actually not a huge gay marriage supporter. I personally don’t want to get married but I think that any law or amendment to the constitution that deals with sex and love should just be banned in general. I don’t think any government should encroach on what goes on in the bedroom at all. Frankly, if you want to marry a dog, why don’t you go ahead and marry a dog, I don’t care. I’m a complete libertarian and so I really disagree with it.”


  1. DanInSeattle says

    I am not sure what is more annoying. The fact that a reporter thought that Rufus Wainwright’s opinion on marriage equality matters or that Wainwright thinks he is a libertarian. Do you advocate for no Federal government Rufus? Ignorant.

  2. Green Crayon says

    Thank you for including this perspective. I find it troubling that the government is in practice championing couple-hood with special rights. Neither do I take issue with monogamy itself, just the privileged status that couples get in our culture (in most cultures).

    Anyway, it is nice to see a different side.

  3. darbnyc says

    I think that a lot of people who call themselves “libertarians” are just lazy. It’s so easy to take this type of position, and it kind of sounds OK initially (at least to some people); but it falls apart when you scratch the surface.

  4. henry says

    Gotta side with Rufus on this one. We are in this mess because the government insisted in getting involved with marriages. The government should stay out of people’s personal lives and enforce equality for all adults over 18–pure and simple. In the meantime, marriage equality is a top priority and Rufus is advocating that. And, marriage equality includes the right not to get married, of course.

  5. says

    I just love Rufus Wainwright and his whole family, but it has never occurred to me to care what he thinks about such matters.

    Like Rufus, I don’t care about getting married, but unlike him, I think legalizing same-sex marriage has to happen if we are to be granted full civil rights as gay Americans.

    Rufus may not be very enlightened about political/cultural matters, but he is an amazing musical artist touched by genius.

  6. says

    Out of context, this quotation is misleading.

    After Rufus talked about participating in H&M’s “Fashion Against AIDS” campaign, the interviewer asked, “How do you react when activism is nullified, like when the same-sex marriage law was reversed in California?”

    So he’s saying that while he’s not a big marriage supporter, he’s against any kind of amendment about love. I. e. he was against Prop 8. What he disagrees with is legislating to make marriage illegal.

    Green Crayon: absolutely right. The US does more than almost any other civilized nation to force people into marriage. It would be nice if that could change, but in the mean time we may as well get marriage equality.

  7. anon says

    If govt. is not involved in marriage, you would need to draft the contract yourselves, but only you would be bound to it, not any third parties. Govt. enables people to enforce their marriages on others. Libertarians would not argue for his position, either. His is actually a far-left-wing form of anarchy or free-love sentiment.

  8. Jason says

    If you can find a dog that can read a marriage contract, understand it and sign it perhaps you should marry that dog. It’s obviously very special.

  9. Sargon Bighorn says

    Neither Rufus nor many Gay people understand that once the Government gets involved in anything, it takes an ACT OF GOD NOT MAN to get the government out. Rufus shows his total ignorance of Marriage Law and its function. Marriage Law has nothing to do with Sex and Love, which Rufus and many Gay people seem to think it does. Marriage has nothing to do with activity or lack there of in the bedroom. It has everything to do with property and the welfare of children until 18yrs old. Because marriage is a legal contract between two people the government has to have some involvement to make sure the terms of the contract are adhered to. Would Rufus like the government to get out of involvement with other contracts too, why just this one contract? Who would make sure the terms are adhered to?

  10. resurrect says

    “Now copyright law – THAT’S really an area where the government should be exercising its full powers – I mean, how’s a girl to make a living in this economic climate?” twiddle dee twat. used to like him, now just another precious artiste. file next to Jobriath. NEXT.

  11. ggreen says

    This thinking is indicative of a LOT of gays. They really don’t get what Marriage Equality is about at all. They think Marriage Equality is a group of gays that want to end the slutty ways of other gays (multiple partners, anonymous sex, etc.) by making them all get married. We need to educate these folks, now.

  12. Yoni says

    I have a question for the masses, out of genuine curiosity…
    How will marriage equality provide other forms of civil rights? What about employment discrimination? How does marriage equality fix that?
    I’m a full supporter of marriage equality, and agree with the right for same-sex couples to share a legal bond (even if I currently can’t see myself in such a commitment). However, I struggle with the elitism of the movement. After all, most gay marriage supporters and protesters needn’t worry about loosing their job, or substandard health care (to name just a couple of issues still facing LGBTQ Americans), because they represent the upper strata of society (well off, primarily white, men and women who live in urbanized settings long known to be gay friendly). So yes, I advocate for marriage equality, but I also advocate for FULL equality. We must not forget that LGBTQ individuals continue to lack basic rights in a multitude of areas, not just marriage, and that concerns of marriage are paramount mainly to the entitled. After all, they don’t need to worry as much if their next employer will fire them for being gay, or if some bozo will bash their face in.

  13. g_whiz says

    While I’m a big Rufus Wainwright fan, I think this quote is damaging for a few reasons. 1.) How many times in defense of the “slippery slope” of gay marriage do people say “If we allow two persons of the same sex who love each other to marry, what next? Sheep? Dogs? Fondue sets?” The fact that he threw the “I don’t care if you marry your dog” in somewhat trivializes the importance of what I hope he meant to say. As many have already said, marrying a conscenting adult taxpayer is distinctly different from marrying one’s pet.
    2.) Libritarians may consider themselves being socially liberal, but a lot of what it means to be fiscially conservative seems to come into direct contrast with such views -take outsoursing for example, great for the corporate turks not so great for the American worker-(unless one turns a blind eye ). Most libritarians I know are a stones throw from being Conservative anyway.

  14. Michael J says

    If some some right-winger had mentioned marrying a dog in the context of discussing gay marriages, he’d be raked through the coals in the progressive blogsphere. And I think RW should be too, even though I know he’s not mean-spirited — only naive and perhaps self-centered. But I sort of understand where he’s coming from.
    In an ideal world in which ones personal life and domestic status (partnered or not, w/children or not, etc.) do not confer any legal, economic or social benefits, I would agree with the libertarian sentiment that the government should have nothing to do with marriage. But the world we live in is obviously far from ideal. Marriage does provide many specific benefits which shouldn’t be denied to us. And not allowing the legal sanctioning of gay marriages sends the message to the world that our relationships and committments to those we love are less important, less valid than heterosexual ones. I’ll be against gay people having the right to legally marry only when straight people cease to have that right, and marriage ceases to automatically confer so many benefits.

    PS I can’t resist commenting on RW’s music. I can’t stand it! It’s so precious, so whiny! Maybe what I can’t stand is the way so many regard him as somehow representative of gay people.

  15. Jay says

    A lot of us don’t want to get married but are still out there marching, voting, donating, talking, et al about the issue all we can. And a soundbite is a soundbite is a soundbite. I’m not prepared to jump down the guy’s throat over a few sentences that in the end ultimately speak in favor of equal rights.

  16. JohnInManhattan says

    What an ass. Marriage equality and the government rights and protections that come with it have nothing to do with “what goes on in the bedroom”. Way to go Rufus!… reduce the rights of gay and lesbian couples to a sex act. Dobson must be proud.

    Wainwright is too dumb to know he’s repeating a right wing talking point drummed into his methed up brain. And you’re right GGREEN, he’s not alone. It’s depressing to hear selfish and ignorant gay folk like Rufus say they don’t care about marriage much because they don’t want to get married themselves. Internalized homophobia… some of us deal with it better than others.

  17. Travis says

    What a putz. I hated his music before and now I hate it even more. Him and Elton need to run off and get their civil union and live on a secluded island were there is no marriage.

    Way to win over your audience.

  18. JohnInManhattan says

    We can expect a half-assed clarification of his “out of context” comments, a la Prince, tomorrow.

  19. says

    Read the quotation in context, people!!!

    He’s not talking about “marriage equality”

    The question was: “How do you react when activism is nullified, like when the same-sex marriage law was reversed in California?”

    And he’s against that. If Sarah Silverman can marry her dog, why can’t Rufus? Don’t you think he’s just sticking it to all those people who make that stupid slippery slope arguement?

  20. Jeremy says

    I’m a big Rufus fan, so this hurts to say, but:

    The reason he can afford to be against marriage equality for him and his long-term German boyfriend is because they are both rich enough to be able to fly back and forth, procure professional visas, etc. For those of us who are in binational relationships and are not millionaires, the situation is much bleaker. He should think of those people before he speaks next time.

  21. says

    A: Rufus is NOT against marriage equality, though it’s true that he (like Gore Vidal) is rich enough not to care.

    B: He’s Canadian, and they HAVE marriage equality, and it’s no big deal.

    Andy’s headline is misleading.

  22. Ben says

    Wow, I can see from some of the comments on this post what some refer to as the negative aspects of gay culture. Not only is it consumerist, superficial, anti-intellectual, but it’s also homogenized, simple, and vapid. The lack of respect for Rufus is appalling. Don’t you all realize that with the right to marry comes the right not to marry? In fact, one way to approach it is that the right not to marry is one we all already enjoy. So what if you disagree with Rufus? If anything, he’s hardly alone in his opinion, chiefly among the younger generation of homosexuals. Bottom line is this: it’s hypocritical to preach tolerance and inclusiveness when at the same time views that dissent from the mainstream are denounced and persecuted. Wake up people.

  23. says


    And along comes the clueless homophobe, scanning blog comment sections, looking for evidence of over-arching themes with which to confirm his biases, extrapolating generalizations from a handfull of comments, applying them to an entire demographic, and ultimately perpetuating the same tired old stereotypes about a supposed “gay culture” and its “negative aspects”.

    Go fuck yourself Ben.

    (That’s my personal opinion of what you should do and doesn’t reflect the opinions of any other gay people, by the way)

    As for Rufus – well I’ve encountered people like him before. Actually that same wording, “I don’t care if someone wants to marry their dog”. Usually what they’re saying is anyone should be free to enter into whatever contractual agreement they want without the government intruding. And they’re wondering why the government is privileging any particular partnership in the first place. And while of course the wording is terrible (since it sounds a little too much like something Rick Santorum might say), once you get over their tactlessness of how it was phrased and think about what they actually said, you realize they didn’t mean anything close to what “man-on-dog” Santorum believes, and you can sort of see their point.

    I don’t think it lessens the case for gay marriage at all, it just frames equality in another way. Actually turning the argument around could do us some good. Why are straight couples given extra rewards and tax breaks that nobody else gets? Why should my taxes subsidize these rewards? Why should I pay the same taxes if I don’t get the same rewards and prizes from the government?

    Why can’t people just sign over their belongings, custody rights, health care coverage, etc. to whomever they want? Why does the government have to swoop down and make sure they’re sleeping with each other?

    These are all good questions.

    But then again, until we get to that wonderful libertarian paradise where there is no government and everyone lives in peace and harmony with each other on their own accord (yeah right), currently we have a system that requires two people be married in order to get full legal rights and protections for their closest family members.

    Until we get a different system, making sure that everyone who needs and deserves those rights gets them is the agenda.

    And either way, if you don’t want to get married, then don’t fucking get married. Nobody said you have to. But in the meantime, shut up and stay out of the way of people who do.

  24. Rufus Sucks says

    nice — this twerp with a modicum of talent just gave a great pull quote to Fox News.

    They can say:
    former meth addict, gay singer Rufus Wainwright who performs a Judy Garland drag act for adoring fans says he thinks marrying animals should be legal.

    As if his music didn’t suck enough — now whe know he is also a pussy when it comes to cvil rights.

  25. niles says

    this guy has always been a mediocre and over-rated talent, but now he qualifies for being a first-rate idiot. Thanks, Rufus, for opening up your mouth and saying the very thing that the Bible beaters have been warning about forever. please go away and shut up. and by the way, dogs and other beasts cannot give their consent.

  26. javo says

    Everyone has a right to their own opinion. Rufus quite clearly stated that he beleived that same sex marriage should be legal. His music? It’s brilliant! Not over-rated by far. He’s definitely no slouch.

  27. Rey says

    While the debate could be had regarding whether or not it is appropriate for the government to be involved in legitimizing relationships, the reality is: they do, and that is not changing anytime soon.

    The treatment of the subject was terribly lazy of him, but the whole man-on-dog note is shockingly naive.

    Fox News can now run this quote beside the Elton John one about civil unions.

  28. Daniel says

    OMG, Jeremy’s comment is so right! It’s rare to hear it mentioned in the gay marriage debate, isn’t it? But Jeremy’s exactly right. I’ve been steamed countless times as i’ve watched my hetero expat friends marry & bring their partner back to the USA while I cannot. I guess it’s the same ire many people feel when they hear the “sanctity of marriage” line at the same time we see coverage of Brit Spears Las Vegas marriage, which i think lasted about 56 hours or so. Watching visa after visa be granted to marrying binational heterosexuals while I and so many others just have to “settle” for not having that option! It’s not all about hosptial visitation rights & custodial stuff, it’s an immigration visa issue,too! Jeremy’s on target, i just don’t see much movement on the issue.

  29. Kira says

    Bear in mind Rufus is a Canadian citizen and can get legally married there to a man in a civil marriage, so the arrogant prick doesn’t have to give 2 cents for anybody else’s civil rights. Nice one. Thanks, Rufus

    ps — His Judy Garland song act was total shit

  30. Puddy Katz says

    Someone has to tell Rufus that with power comes responsibility. His prestige gives him power and he has now used it irresponsibly. First, he has given a weapon to our enemies. Secondly, his argument is meaningless, as someone said only those who can give consent should enter into marriage or have sexual relations. He gave this matter no thought and has done harm to gay people. I like his music and have supported him up to now. I am not sure I will in the future.
    Irresponsible and harmful faux little boy.

  31. FASTLAD says

    In a unanimous decision, the Completely Self-Involved Bourgeois Airhead Award for December 2008 goes to Rufus Wainright.

    Or wait, was that the Petulant, Overweening Nasally Voiced Asshat Award?

    Either way, he deserves it. Wake up, Lord Fauntelroy, the riffraff fly over rainbow waving gay trash can’t walk between the raindrops in their Prada shoes like you do.

  32. professor crabby phd says

    On a completely superficial and bitchy side note, when exactly was that photo taken? Was jimmy carter still president? He hasn’t looked like that in a long time –there was a photo of him in the times a few months back and I was appalled to see what a hag he looks like in real life which is to say not the world that photo was taken in — btw his judy garland act was truly a crime for which he should be held accountable–

  33. Dan says

    What a dumbass. Just what we need – as if the wingnuts like O’Reilly don’t bring up marrying an animal enough.

  34. Kbone says

    His position would have some merit, were it not for the fact that the government will never simply step out of its role in the marriage contract and invalidate all the marriages that exist. Marriage will not be abolished–not that I care either way.

    bottom line= certain people have the right to marry someone they can love and enjoy consensual sex with, and certain others don’t. That’s not fair.

    I myself am not interested in marriage, and my only reservation about gay marriage is that some married gays will inevitably turn their noses down at promiscuous gays. Monogamy is not for everyone, and if you are married it is not because of some virtue like maturity or moral propriety, it is because you felt that marriage suited you.

  35. Jeff NYC says

    GREAT! First you piss all over Judy Garland’s grave, now you piss on gay marriage. What an asshole you’ve turned out to be.

  36. says

    Rufus just played right into the hands of those who say that after gay marriage is legal people will then sue to be able to marry their dogs. Rufi is entitled to an opinion but he handed this one to the religionists on a fancy silver platter wrapped up with a big shiny bow.

    A very foolish statement from a very gifted musician. Sing Rufi sing, but for gawd’s sake shut the fuck up about politics.

  37. Robbie says

    i’ve never really been a big rufus wainwright fan in the first place. his views on just about everything piss me off. i remember he gave one interview where he was talking about how children are little impostors or something…that really just made me hate him. lol.

    oh and his music IS overrated…i didn’t even like it before i knew his political background

  38. JamesR says

    Rufus doesn’t give good sound byte. But he doesn’t look like a hag, he looks fine, at least as of three weeks ago when I saw him in concert. (Professor Crabby.) His comments were from his own personal perspective, he would make a lousy politician. Which while a compliment is also startling to our ears accustomed to hearing just exactly what we ourselves would want to say. So, as a communicator of ideas and emotions, a songwriter and singer he flubbed. Shit happens. From what he has always said and done he does not intend ill, he is not the enemy. And if he gives ‘aid’ to those who are by giving them a Santorum moment, who the fuck cares – let them have their tee hee hee moment and look all foolish and doggy-lovin.’ It’s time this issue has grown beyond the tip toeing around it stage where everyone has to be afraid about what so and so says that might be a tad off. So Rufus put his foot in his mouth? He’s not the ambassador from Gay nor the Gay Pope speaking ex-cathedra.

  39. says

    I’ll second Eshto,Jamesr and Javo.

    I’ve always lusted after him, and still do. And his music is fantastic, way beyond the usual pop drivel.

    He made his career without ever being in the closet.

    And in context, his remark is perfectly reasonable. He was not responding to a question on “marriage equality,” so Andy’s headline is misleading (I’ll say it again).

    After Rufus talked about participating in H&M’s “Fashion Against AIDS” campaign, the interviewer asked, “How do you react when activism is nullified, like when the same-sex marriage law was reversed in California?” His answer: that shouldn’t happen.

  40. Hermes in DC says

    No surprise, an entertainer who’s not a rocket scientist.

    Ultimately this is a tempest in a teapot because what Rufus Wainwright thinks doesn’t matter and won’t make very good copy even for Fox News. (Too few people know who he is.)

  41. javo says

    Kevin, you aren’t alone in your thinking about Rufus. I’ve lusted after him as well and adore his music. Just a note…the man is not stupid–far from it.