- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 9, 2000

Gloria Steinem, 66, got married for the first time this week to the perfect man, if there is one: an erstwhile anti-apartheid activist and current animal rights activist named David Bale, 61, who also what a guy raises funds for environmental and feminist causes. He is also the first man to have imported skateboards into England, which makes him practically an intellectual. It is his third marriage.

Ms. Steinem, who has infamously decried marriage as an institution of female enslavement to the patriarchal thingamajig, saw fit to issue a brief statement via Voters for Choice, the abortions rights political action committee she founded, to explain her, shall we say, unexpected decision: "Though I've worked many years to make marriage more equal, I never expected to take advantage of it myself. I'm happy, surprised and one day will write about it, but for now, I hope this proves what feminists have always said that feminism is about the ability to choose what's right at each time of our lives."

Wait a minute. That's not what they said. Remember "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle"? Many more women than who subscribe to Ms. Steinem's Ms. magazine either bought into that twaddle, forswearing the sacrifices and rewards of marriage and family, or were damaged by it, contending with men whose commitment to marriage and family had been grievously undermined by both women's liberation and the sexual revolution.

But let's not rain on Ms. Steinem's wedding day. Less than one year after the couple met at a Voters for Choice fund-raiser (romantic, n'est-ce pas?), the bride wore jeans, the groom, an Indian belt, for a sunrise service at the Oklahoma home of pal and Cherokee Wilma Mankiller (honest). According to the New York Times, the civil ceremony, which replaced the words "husband" and "wife" with the far more gossamer terms "partner" and "partner," was drawn from the "traditions of the Cherokee Indians," those well-known feminists of yore. It all "sounded very Gloria to me," said one longtime Steinem friend to the New York Daily News. "It was very spiritual, joyous, equal and respectful, what you would think Gloria's ceremony would be. A lot of blessings and burning things."

Funny how just a few short years ago, Ms. Steinem was disparaging the very institution of marriage. "I don't think marriage has a good name," she said as recently as 1987. "Legally speaking, it was designed for a person and a half. You became a semi-non-person when you got married." That's not all. Even romance itself, she wrote in 1992, was a nefarious, possibly Republican, plot that "privatizes our hopes and distracts us from making societal changes." Which makes you wonder. The damage has been done, but it sounds as if the third Mrs. Bale just might be through with making "societal changes." Best wishes to the semi-non-person.

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