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Poster Couple for Marriage: He's Gay, She's Straight, They're Divorcing

by Kilian Melloy
Thursday Feb 1, 2018

You can't choose to be gay, but you can choose to live authentically - or not.

For Mormon couple and right-wing poster children for mixed-gender marriage Josh and Lolly Weed, the question was whether Josh could somehow choose both. He never pretended to be anything other than gay, but he and Lolly took their church at its word that only marriage between two persons of differing genders can be "legitimate" or "real." They wed, had children, and authored a blog on which, in 2012, they came out as a mixed-orientation couple. That blog posting made them celebrities among religious conservatives who instantly seized on their example of heterosexual happiness as a weapon to use on gays who had other ideas about marriage, commitment, and relationship satisfaction.

Except Josh wasn't heterosexual, and their happiness was incomplete. Finally, the couple decided to end their marriage and try to repair some of the damage their example had helped perpetuate.

Or, as the Salt Lake Tribune noted in a surprisingly sympathetic article, "Internalized homophobia and self-loathing at the core of Josh's identity began to unravel at about the same time as Lolly's need to be loved by someone who desired her began to expand."

The couple set out to use their celebrity status to counteract some of the damage they feared others had perpetrated while pointing to their marriage. They publicly announced their divorce in a joint blog post that offered an apology "to every member of the LGBTQIA community," and that frankly and fearlessly addressed intimate subjects such as sex and intimacy.

Central to their feelings of a marriage that wasn't fulfilling either of them, the article said, was a sense that despite their deep love, there was no passion. Lolly referenced "mechanical" sex in the blog post and lamented that the missing "romantic attachment was essential to a functioning marriage."

Not that romance or even the prospect of a "functioning marriage" is necessarily at the top of the list when it comes to the concerns of homophobes. SFGate covered the story, noting how the couple had barely come out of the closet in 2012 to great acclaim by religious conservatives when they started hearing about the darker results of their disclosure. Josh Weed wrote about this, recalling how one person who contacted them talked about "visiting his family for Thanksgiving as an openly gay man with a boyfriend. When he got home, his father pulled up the couple's blog post on the computer and beat him, saying, 'if this guy could avoid being a f*****, so could you!'"

In the blog post announcing their divorce, Josh wrote that one of the things that drove the couple to their eventual decision was a growing understanding of how many LGBTQ people there actually are in the world - and how much suffering those people already endured. He also offered a rundown of the absurdly contradictory myths about gays he'd been fed since childhood and had finally liberated himself from - everything from "My sexual orientation was just a feeling" to "My sexual orientation was tantamount to bestiality and just shy of murder" and "My sexual orientation was something so huge and dangerous that it led to Sodom and Gomorrah's destruction and could lead to the downfall of civilization."

British newspaper The Independent reported that Josh Weed sent out a tweet in the wake of the explosive blog post in which he thanked the couple's supporters and added, "And to those hurting: we see you; we love you; we understand the anger; we're sorry; we know that's not enough."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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