Outward

Jeopardy! Sends Up the Silliness of Civil Unions

Trebek does not care for your “civil unions.”

Photo by Ben Hider/Getty Images

You might not typically think of Jeopardy! as a source of opinion on the hot-button political issues of the day, but on the Jan. 21 edition of the game show, a saucy clue challenged that perception. Under a category called “Civil” the $800 clue read as follows: “Some opponents of same-sex marriage say, hey gay folks, how about these? Wouldn’t these be good enough?”

The correct answer, of course, is “What are civil unions?”

The clue writers’ flippant tone in the rhetoric attributed to gay marriage opponents is clear evidence of how they—like most gay people—feel about civil unions as an alternative to full marriage equality: They are a weak attempt at placation that suggests second-class citizenship, if not a kind of segregation.

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This is not the first time Jeopardy! has given a nod to gays: Last year, the typically reserved show included “shade” among its clues, spurring much consternation over the mainstreaming of gay (and African American) slang. But there should be no such hand-wringing over the civil unions clue. With marriage equality poised to become the law of the land this year, Jeopardy! is wagering on the right side of history.

Want to hang out with Outward? If you’ll be in or near New York City on Feb. 3, join June Thomas, J. Bryan Lowder, and Mark Joseph Stern—and special guest Lea DeLaria ofOrange Is the New Black fame!for a queer kiki at the first ever Outward LIVE show, hosted by City Winery. Details and tickets can be found here.

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