Thursday, August 05, 2010

If I Only Could

Yesterday brought terrific news. Judge Vaughn Walker ruled California's Proposition 8 unconstitutional. There is a stay on it being overturned until Friday. And make no mistake, this sucker's going all the way to the Supreme Court no matter what. But for right now, it's great. Last night, L'Ailee and I went to dinner, then the celebratory rally in front of the NYC Supreme Court building. One thing L'Ailee and I dearly want is to be able to *stay* happy, to not have to worry about the next court challenge or legislative session or constitutional question that's extremely difficult not to take personally. We want not to look over our shoulders. We want our decisions to be our decisions, and not some politician's or judge's or "morality" groups.

Some of my own relatives think this is terrible. They think they have a right to vote on marriages like ours, and they would vote against even though they know us and claim to love at least me. They are the reason we couldn't go home (well, my home, not L'Ailee's) to Florida and marry in the infield of the Daytona International Speedway on Valentine's Day like I'd dreamed of when I was a little girl. (Tell me it wouldn't have been cool to rent an RV, wear sundresses, pay some dude in a Richard Petty T-shirt with a notary license a case of beer to officiate, and then climb on the roof of the RV and watch the Daytona 500!) Then there are the advocacy groups whose representatives must always be interviewed for these stories to provide journalistic "balance." Then there are the rank-and-file strangers who post hate on Twitter and Facebook, among other online venues.

You know about the hate. I know about the hate. I'm avoiding most of my relatives for the next little bit, which I think suits us all fine. I'm glancing at the news and websites, and regretting that each time. I don't really feel like playing "Justify My Existence" with people who don't know me and my wife but hate us anyway, repeating the same answers to the same questions. I just don't. I tried that shit; it wears me the hell out.

But I want to say a few things. I wish I *could* say them and have them heard by the people who needed to hear them. Maybe I'll get brave and try some of this, in the most delicate and ladylike fashion, on one of my aunts or the loudmouths on Twitter. I'll say it here to start, anyway.

In states where same-sex marriage is legal, it's also legal for you to be as mean as you want to LGBT people and same-sex couples. Seriously. You can disinherit your granddaughter for marrying another woman. You can refuse to go to your son's wedding. You can completely shatter your relationship with a family member. You can try to maintain the relationship, but make her and her wife feel so unwelcome they prefer to stay in hotels or, um, skip Christmas with you in favor of watching their hockey teams play at their home venues for once. You can snub your gay neighbors and refuse to return their waves. You can refuse to let your children play with the female couple down the block's children. You can demonstrate at the gay pride parade and try to ruin everybody's day for Jesus. It's perfectly legal for you to be a homophobic douche. Just remember it's also legal for us to call you one, to your face or behind your back. You're not being persecuted when we do.

You do not have the "right" to vote on whether other people can get married. I can bring up how degrading the very idea of voting on a fellow law-abiding adult citizen's ability to marry another is. I can bring up how absolutely, mind-blowingly stupid and mean-spirited the "we both have the same right to marry a member of the opposite sex" rebuttal is. I can bring up how civil rights advances for racial minorities were decided by judges rather than voters for very good reasons. Or I can explain it to you this way: Imagine a classroom of 30 kids. Ten percent--three--like jumping rope. The rest prefer kickball. If the teacher took a vote on which game everyone should play, the kids who preferred jumping rope would always have to play kickball, right? They'd be outnumbered by the majority. Their rights at recess would be kickball or nothing. Now let's say the teacher considered the situation, used her authority, and brought out a jump rope as well as a couple of kickballs for recess. I hope you don't think she's discriminating against the kids who like kickball by letting every kid have a choice to play the game they prefer. Just remember, not everyone is a conservative Christian. You might be the kid who prefers jumping rope one day.

Stop lying about how you're being persecuted because you're Christian. (I hope you're lying, anyway, and not so brainwashed or living in such a narrow world that you really don't see the rest of it.) It's an insult to people in the Middle East and China who really do get persecuted for being Christian, by being thrown in jail and having their churches raided and stuff, for one thing. You and your pastor don't have to open up your church to us, any more than, say, a Catholic priest has to marry divorcees or a rabbi has to marry an interfaith couple. I'm Pagan and my wife is atheist. We never wanted to marry in your church or any other. Why would we want to go into some boxy Assemblies of God church that looks more like an office building and have your pastor cringe through a ceremony on what is supposed to be the happiest moment of our lives anyway? We got married by a Wiccan priest, as I also would've had things worked out better with my Wiccan ex-boyfriend. (By the way, that may not be your definition of a "godly" or "traditional" marriage, but it is legal. See the distinction there? No, that doesn't mean go bother a straight Wiccan couple.) We want the option of going to City Hall. Oh, and some Christian ministers--I don't care if you consider those "real" Christians or not, that's your God's call to make--are, in fact, willing to officiate at same-sex ceremonies.

I don't want to have to fight for my marriage, at least not in the political sense. (You always have to work for your marriage on a personal level, and I'll get to that in a bit.) I didn't want to go to that rally last night, as nice as it was to have a night out with my wife. Last year, I missed a fucking Eastern Conference Finals game to go to the rally protesting the previous decision validating Proposition 8. Penguins swept it! I barely got home in time to watch Sidney Crosby hold the Prince of Wales trophy, and I had to watch the highlights on TiVo! Do you know how pissed I was at you for making me have to go out to some bore-ass rally that night? I could use the money I spend on donations for other things--maybe give a little more to the National Wildlife Foundation or food bank instead, or just buy a cute pair of boots. I don't like reading your unpleasantness, nevermind watching your angry twisted-up faces and listening to your sneering voices on the news. I'd prefer it if I never had to go through life knowing who characters like Maggie Gallagher, Mat Staver, and Peter LaBarbera were. I would, in short, like to just be married and think about something besides your latest attempt to get people like us un-married.

We are not, as you allege, doing this as an act of convenience. "Convenience" kinda leaves the picture when a couple is forcibly legally divorced by a judge, as we were, and made to re-marry a couple years after the fact when New York and Massachusetts changed governors. How can you sit there with a straight face, no pun intended, and talk about how we're marrying out of convenience when you make it so goddamned inconvenient? We still had to get thousands of dollars' worth of legal paperwork that you don't have to worry about. We joke about how we travel from state to state with our "kennel papers," just in case bad things happen. (And they have--I crashed into a sailboat while surfing in New Jersey, which led to a concussion and an ER visit, which got very ugly when the doctor didn't consider us married.) But you can travel from New York to New Jersey without having to carry yours, so why do we have to carry ours? You, that's why!

You can leave the kids out of this. So many times, my wife and I have been told not to hold hands in front of someone else's children, while the children are looking at something else altogether. Why don't you just admit it's you being made uncomfortable, and not try to hide behind your kids? My best friend and my wife's best friend are both bisexual parents, with kids from past mixed-sex relationships, and are both raising them with same-sex spouses. As I said, you don't have to let your kids play with theirs, though it does tend to make them cry when you do that. (As they've gotten older, I've also heard them call people who do that names that they really richly deserve.) But you know, kids get hurt. They get sick. They need to be taken out of school or to the emergency room. They need a parent with legal standing to do these things. Who does it protect to make it hard for the step-parent who loves them to take care of them? Not them, and not your children, and not you. You simply make a child suffer for no good reason but to satisfy your hate. You're damn sure not protecting them, so stop your lying about that, too. By the way, when your kid says awful things about another kid's same-sex parents, it's not "homosexual indoctrination" to tell them to stop. It's teaching manners. Of course, I can see how you'd get confused by that, judging by the way you treat us.

If you're really worried about kids, maybe you should be a mentor to, you know, kids. You're worried that the son of lesbian parents in your neighborhood won't have a man to teach him how to play baseball or take him fishing? Instead of yelling at and about his mothers, you can teach him baseball or take him fishing. Of course, many same-sex couples make certain that their children have role models of both genders. Are you worried about "the family"? Then why not help *a* family? There's probably one whose parents are unemployed right in your church, given the state of the economy. Wanna donate to a Christian organization? Why not a local homeless shelter, or a Gulf Coast area church that's helping families whose lives have been devastated by the BP oilspill? Think about the things that are really hurting real families, even the conservative Christian heterosexual-led ones. We're way, way down on the list.

We don't want to ruin your marriage. We aren't against mixed-sex marriage in general. We're for all people who love, just like we say on our signs. We're not like you; we don't think there's only so much marriage to go around and anyone who gets a slice leaves less for everyone else. My wife and I have introduced two mixed-sex couples who are now married, and one of those met at our wedding. (Don't you add your nasty scare quotes to that word, either.) We'd feel bad for you if you got divorced. We wonder why you go to demonstrations and things like those "How to Be a Better Homophobe" seminars that teach you how awful we are. Don't you ever just want to take that money and that weekend and go to a nice hotel? Don't you like to have date nights and family dinners? Don't you want to lock the door of your bedroom, tell the kids not to knock unless someone's dying, and think about how your wife looks in her bra and panties instead of the horrible sinful things two married men are doing to consummate their marriage? Those would be so much better for your marriage than bothering us.

So go mind your own marriage and focus on your own family. You'll probably find that we're less angry and militant after a while. You might even be happier, too.

Links, links:

Great background on Judge Walker here. Suppose the Republicans who wanted his appointment will say the Democrats had it right, and the Democrats who opposed him will apologize?

Lelo in NoPo celebrates the Day of Decision with The Gays Won't Ruin Your Marriage Pie

The bigot eruptions aren't just for LGBT people. Many of the same people protesting our marriages are also protesting the building of Park 51, a/k/a the "Gr**nd Z*r* M*sq**." (I refuse to use that deliberately hysteria-inducing term.) After that terrific speech by Mayor Bloomberg--and I *never* thought I'd say that--the bigots lost their damn minds! Oh, and Bryan Fischer from the American Family Association, out of Tupelo, Mississippi, wants us to blacklist all the contractors working on Park 51. As my granddaddy used to say, people in hell want ice water, too.

And the brilliance continues as the Dallas police chief claims that women can stop date rape by stopping drinking.

Finally, if you're a child of the 1980s, you'll love this 80s music quiz!


Dr. Deb said...

equal rights for all!!!

Jen R said...

Hot damn, that was fantastic. And I'm so sorry it's necessary.

Raven said...

Absolutely phenomenal post! So well said and I agree with each and every word. Thank you for sharing.

bluzdude said...

As I'm sure you know, I agree with everything you said.

So many of our culture's problems would be solved by people minding their own goddamned business.

BostonPobble said...

I love you. That is all.

MoonRaven said...

Thank you for writing this--and I am so sorry that you had to. I wish for the day when anyone can be involved with anyone they want, anyone can marry anyone they want, and when you and your wife hold hands people will say to their children, "Isn't it great that they love each other!"

And, truly, many of the folks who oppose same sex marriage and try to tell us that we should all go to church and pray more (or at least their church), are also the same ones opposing the building of mosques--not just in New York, but across the country. I just saw a New York Times article with a picture of someone in California holding a sign claiming, "Mosques are monuments to terrorism". (Thank goodness pagans don't usually try to build big temples. I can imagine the reactions to that!)

DaisyDeadhead said...

Such a righteous rant! xoxoxo

Snooker said...

Hear Hear!!
What she said!

OH, and I just want to tell you that the 80's music quiz was awesome!
I just giggled for 10 minutes with a colleague. Thanks.

Ange said...

Keep keeping it real, sister.

Casdok said...

Very well said :)

Christine Bakke said...

I'm coming late to the party - but holy crap girl, that was a-effing-mazing! Thanks for your voice...And thanks also for the congrats on my news. :D