About (Late) Last Night: Dan Savage says straight people 'redefined marriage decades ago' [Video]
Sex columnist Dan Savage is no stranger to controversy. Perhaps most (in)famously, he is the man responsible for presidential hopeful Rick Santorum's much-discussed Google problem. More recently, Savage was also the subject of a provocative cover story in the New York Times Magazine, in which he argued that infidelity is not always the worst thing that can happen to a marriage -- that, in fact, it can sometimes save a relationship.
Savage stopped by "The Colbert Report" on Tuesday night to discuss the issue. (It's interesting that Savage truly was there just to talk ideas, because he didn't actually write the article in question, nor did he have a book or other project to promote.)
Savage's point is not that monogamy is a bad thing, per se, but that it is perhaps over-rated, that it isn't the only way to define a successful marriage: "Many, many people who made monogamous commitments are going to fall short. And my point is, and then what?"
Colbert asked Savage, who is married, if he and his husband are monogamous; Savage admitted that they are not.
"That's not a marriage. That's a joint checking account," Colbert quipped.
Savage laughed, but then issued a rebuttal. "Well, are the Clintons married? Are the Vitters married? Ex-Senator Ensign, is he still married?" he asked rhetorically.
Ultimately, Savage used the appearance to make a circuitous argument for same-sex marriage. He suggested that, contrary to what many social conservatives believe, same-sex marriage will not fundamentally affect the institution of marriage.
That's because, as Savage put it, straight people already "redefined marriage decades ago": what was once a "property transaction" is now "a legal union of two autonomous equals." Straight couples get to define the non-legal parameters of their relationship -- whether or not to have kids, whether they'll marry in a religious ceremony, etc. As such, "there's no logical case that could be made to exclude gay couples, monogamous or not, from an institution that doesn't exclude straight people, monogamous or not," he said.
Colbert again asked Savage whether he'd ever cheated on his husband. The answer--a colorful if qualified "yes"--prompted Colbert to turn to "Tad," his "heterosexual accountability buddy," (played by Colbert's "Strangers With Candy" co-star Paul Dinello) for moral support.
Tad's extremely heterosexual response? "Tailgate party!"
-- Meredith Blake