For as long as there have been teams, I’ve been planted squarely on Jennifer Aniston’s side. I wept like it was my own marriage crumbling when the last pictures of her and Brad Pitt walking arm-in-arm on the beach at what was to be their final trip as a married couple emerged. I knew that snake, Angelina Jolie, was up to no good when she was seen a little too close, holding hands with Brad on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Poor Jen. If our real-life Friend couldn’t manage a happily ever after, how could the less-well-coiffed among us ever reasonably expect a glass Manolo Blahnik slipper and a weekend invite to George Clooney’s Lake Como house?
For the first time in the zillion years, though, since this tabloid-staple trio was first linked, I’m feeling more love than hate for Brangelina. News broke this morning that the glamorous and gorgeous couple married last weekend at their French chateau with just family and close friends there for the event. Speculation is rampant on her dress, his ring, and Jen’s reaction.
For those of us who’ve been keeping score, however, there’s another matter that’s meatier: Remember when Brad told Esquire magazine in 2006 that he and Angie “will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able”? You’re with me on this, right? Only 19 states have legalized gay marriage. So, what, exactly, are these ambassadors of good (although once-homewreckers, too) saying about standing their ground on behalf of their gay friends and fans?
We don’t actually know at the moment because neither have spoken publicly just yet about their days-long union, but Brian Moylan of TIME magazine doesn’t seem convinced that anything they might say could possibly be good.
“Real fighters for civil rights don’t buckle under pressure when it gets hard,” Moylan wrote.
While Brad warned a couple of years ago that a Brangelina wedding was coming — and probably before it was legal for everyone else — he said it was for a worthy cause: their kids. Their kids really wanted their parents to be legally wed. You can have all the success and money in the world, but sometimes it’s the love of the tiniest people in your life that packs the most meaningful punch. They wanted to make their kids happier, so Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie got married.
And let’s be honest about something: Brad and Angelina are activists, yes, but they are more famous for being actors. They do high-profile good deeds and speak often about causes close to their hearts, but then again, everything they do is only in the spotlight because of their spots on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Ultimately, it’s what they do — not say — that most resonates. And what they just did is put their family first.
Their kids go with them everywhere (and that family seems to be everywhere, all the time). Brad and Angelina both cut back a bit on their public lives in order to accommodate their six children. They do amazing things like build houses for the displaced and draw attention to underprivileged nations and unjust causes. But even more than that, they are parents to their kids.
For Moylan, though, to those whom it meant the world when Brangelina said they would delay their marriage indefinitely, this is a real blow. And he doesn’t think it makes them better parents, either.
“The couple says that their legal union means a lot to the children and that’s why they did it. What about teaching their children about standing up for what you believe in, even when it’s tough and unpopular? What if one of their children grows up to be gay and still can’t get legally hitched? What about all the gay and lesbian couples out there they inspired? What about all the straight mothers and fathers and siblings they enlisted to fight for marriage equality with their once-selfless act?”
Moylan makes an excellent point. Except perhaps by showing their kids that their love is no different with a piece a paper between them than it was before, their kids will ultimately be less concerned with the institution of marriage when they’re older. Sure, when we pass a newsstand, Brangelina is there for all of us to consume/admire/love to hate/side with, but ultimately, for better (for their family) or worse (for the gay community), they are their children’s parents first — and they’ve let that be known. Who’s to say they won’t continue championing gay marriage? Wearing a wedding ring doesn’t mean you’re down and out. Maybe it’ll motivate them to lobby even harder to spread the opportunity for others.
I’m 100 percent in support of gay rights, and while ideally these two things shouldn’t have to be mutually exclusive, I’m 1,000 percent in favor of parents putting their kids first. Mazel tov to the happy family!
Photo credit: Wikipedia