In a tiny hamlet next to where I live, high up in the Swiss Alps, two gay friends of mine have set up house, and a beautiful old chalet it is.  One, a German, is straight out of central casting of a Panzer commander; the other, an Englishman, more P.G. Wodehouse than John Bull.  Both are very nice, very good looking, generous, and amusing.  I recently asked them if they planned to marry.  They looked at me as if I had proposed Russian roulette.  Here in Switzerland, a tolerant place as long as one has money, gay marriage does not the headlines make.  After all, the right of women to vote was imposed from above on one of its cantons, Appenzell, as late as 1971.  American feminists missed the occasion, but Bill Buckley and I did not, writing about how the end was nigh.

Recently, the New York Times ran a long and boring article by Bill Keller, a very upright boring man who used to edit the rag.  His dateline was South Africa, and the spiel was how the Constitutional Court of South Africa had established the right of South African gays and lesbians to marry.  He then went on to bash Uncle Sam’s intolerance, blah-blah-blah, and to remind us that Thomas Jefferson favored castration (ouch) for homosexuals.  (Bad old Tom, and in the 18th century to boot.)  What I find so ludicrous are the realities.  Unless Keller is a complete and utter fool, which he probably is, he must know very well that gays in South Africa risk being lynched by their fellow Africans if they publicly show their homosexual tendencies, like flirting or kissing in public.  Never mind what the court has ruled: Equal rights for gays are as likely to be respected in South Africa as I am to lead the Gay Pride Parade in Greenwich Village come next May.  Keller should have at least pointed out that South Africa should ensure that first and foremost comes the right to live and not be murdered (Johannesburg is the murder capital of the world), before worrying about gay marriage.  But no, the fact that a South African court established the right for same-sex marriage makes America the hate and intolerance capital of the world, so there.

In good old Britain, where I assume most upper-class males are gay, a high-court judge recently said the following

So much energy and time has been put into the debate for 0.1 percent of the population, when we have a crisis of family breakdown.  We need a much more focused position on the importance of marriage.

Hear, hear!  Society in Blighty has broken down, and the prime minister is wasting his time trying to ram same-sex marriage through Parliament.  The breakdown of marriage and its impact on society affects 99.9 percent of the population, but Cameron is trying to look trendy by worrying about the 0.1 percent.  David Cameron is a politician, and one expects politicians to lie and to try to curry favor with pressure groups like the gay lobby.  But for a clown like Keller to try to show how far behind the U.S. of A is from South Africa is typical of the dishonesty of the Times and its ilk.  In reality, there are no human rights in Africa, no women’s rights, no minority rights.  Might makes right in that particular continent, and everyone except Rip Van Winkle knows it.

In the land of cheese, a Catholic country however secular it pretends to be, same-sex marriage has not raced every trendy Frenchman’s motor.  There are even movie stars who have spoken out against it.  The midget who is president has promised to legalize it.  But it has been a divisive issue—hundreds of thousands of French have taken to the streets in protest—and knowing how gutless Hollande is, it might be swept into the closet, pun intended.  The big problem is the adoption of children.  The French, unlike the sheep-like Americans, have not embraced Ginette Has Two Mommies—or two daddies, for that matter.  The Socialists in power, however, have gone a step further.  They want the state to finance procreation for married lesbian couples.  Most French people agree that gay couples should have legal rights; what they don’t want is for the state to decide who is a parent and who is not.

If he were alive, Noel Coward, a gay man, would raise an eyebrow and announce that it’s much ado about nothing.  There are priorities in this world, and even though some effete left-wing academics and their lemmings in the media and Hollywood have taken up the cause, gay marriage is not one of them.  The best I’ve read against it comes from Lord Carey, the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1991 to 2002: “I support civil partnerships, which put right a basic injustice.  I am simply horrified that political leaders have the effrontery to redefine an understanding of marriage upheld for so long.”  I am not as polite as the archbishop.  I say to David Cameron and his ilk, “Shut the f–k up.”