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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Is it November yet?

This whole marriage equality thing is starting to get under my skin.

I knew I was at risk for this.  I feel raw, exposed, vulnerable and on the verge of tears every day.  I knew it would be asking the impossible for me to participate in this cause and not feel like we had laid everything on the line.

There are people coming out of the woodwork, specifically the woodwork that holds up churches it seems, who we thought loved and supported us.  It turns out they love us.  They just don't support us.

Marriage is between one man and one woman.  We love you but we have to stand by out beliefs.  Even if that means Brittney Spears can get married one drunken night in Vegas for the fun of it.  

There is this Bruno Mars song that has been playing on Pandora:  "Marry You."  We all thought it was so cute and peppy.  The girls ask for it when we get in the car.  The other day I really listened to it and it made me want to throw up.

"It's a beautiful night
We're looking for something fun to do
Hey, Baby
I think I want to marry you.

Is it that look in your eye
Or is it this dancing juice?
Who cares, Baby
I think I want to marry you.

Who cares if we're trashed
Got a pocket full of cash we can blow 
shots of patron
and it's on girl.

If we wake up and you wanna 
break up that's cool
No I won't blame you
It was fun, girl."

I turned it off and when Ella protested I explained.  She said, "Oh," and didn't ask for it again.  She knows this is a touchy subject. Poor kid, according to our critics she may need therapy for having two moms to start with and we can just tag on a few years for the turmoil she may internalize from this civil rights battle.
Twelve years, two kids, one reformed house, a couple of successful and not so successful businesses, a few health scares, a couple year rough patch of finding a new way, bounced and balanced checkbooks, mountains climbed, basements flooded, pets lost, heartaches healed, mistakes made, apologies given and hours upon hours talking and seeking refuge in each other.

Yeah, Bruno Mars SO has the marriage thing on us.

I had to fill out the requisite form at the doctor's office the other day with my demographics and insurance info.  Most people probably view this as a nuisance.  For me it is yet another painful reminder each time I get to "marital status." Single, married, widowed or divorced.  In 2012, these are the relationship status options at my doctor's office.  Even Facebook has "domestic partnership."  So I did what I do every time, I make a new box, check it off and write "partnered" next to it. There is still no box for us.

Maya has been watching the video of Ella's spring concert at school.  There is a patriotic song they sing that goes like this:  "I am a citizen. I have equality.  I love my country. The U.S.A."  Is that so?  Does Ella know equality for her family?  Or when a group is considered unequal to start with (because, after all, they are an abomination) is it actually inequality to not give them rights?  I mean, we don't give pedophiles and murderers equal rights.  Oh, wait.  Yes we do.

Honestly, after the vote failed in 2009, I healed my heart and moved on.  I could almost pretend it didn't matter too much.  But this time, standing for equality alongside so many amazing voices, the flood gates have opened. The hurt and maddening frustration at being a denied rights in a country where I have all the responsibilities of a citizen is no longer tolerable.

I would have a lot more respect for the arguments of the other side if they made any sense at all, but like a sinking boat holding on to reeds to stay afloat, they are taking on water all the time.   Marriage is only between a man and woman because God said so thousands of  years ago.  In the same book that abhors divorce, is a proponent of slavery, accepts some form of  incest and states a woman's worth being half of a man's.   Have any of the women out there planning to cast a vote against equality thought about the fact that a literal interpretation of the bible would strip them of their right to vote on this issue at all?

My friend Andrew said the other day: "Jesus was a democrat."  And honestly, isn't he right? 

Despite my heavy heart about this issue, there are many, many bright spots. 

Like seeing these cards at Target:

Dear Target: way to friggin' go.

And there is the constant love and unwavering support of our families.  The people that love us no matter what and who have been going to bat for us in very public ways continue to be the thread that holds us together right now.  They are having the hard conversations with people about why this matters to us and to them.  Our families are also wearing their hearts on their sleeves, feeling the sting of discrimination as they put themselves in our shoes and are rallying the courage we all need to get through to November.

The pridemobile made another appearance (number 4) at the parade in Milbridge on Saturday.

Aunt Suzie, Noah and me
There were many new faces this time and lots of people traveled the hour and half from our area to march.  Among them some of my favorite people on the planet: Kim and her daughter Kassidy.  Kim said, "We were going to spend the day with friends visiting from out of state, but I said, 'Sit on the beach or teach my daughter about social justice?'  It was an easy choice."  You can see why I adore these two.

Aunt Suzie, Sandi's dad Dwight, Uncle Buck and Sandi's mom Patti. I am overcome with love and appreciation for the countless hours and dollars they have put in to stand on our behalf. Since there are no words to tell them, I hope the continual hugs I give them will send the message.

Maya, wearing her rainbow snap bracelet as a beard.
I had an amazing conversation with Sandi's dad the day before the parade when my heart was in splinters over hearing yet another beloved person who was taking a stand against marriage equality.  He said, "I have no idea how I got to be so fortunate as to have this family.  I feel so blessed that we have you.  I love you so much.  And you know what? Nothing about the vote in November will change that. We will still have each other."

I needed that reminder that the government may legislate our rights but they do not have any power over our love.  We are already married.  The vote in November will only decide if we have the corresponding rights.

After marching on Saturday and feeling both the outpouring of love and support along with the weariness of needing to broadcast ourselves in the world to effect change, it was such a relief to return to our house, our home where we are safe and our love and worthiness are not in question.  As we tucked into the sanctuary of each other that night, I became aware of the silver lining.

There is something to be grateful for in not fitting neatly into a box on a printed form.  Being outside the mainstream path of love's destination of marriage means that we have taken nothing for granted.  We have worked hard to be together- to come out, to receive criticism and discrimination, to be so intentional in creating children and wills and living trusts and advanced directives.  There is no easily trodden path for us.  We have made our own way.  We are not lazy in our love, we affirm it and work hard for it each day.  And it has only been to our benefit.  Our love is not just equal and deserving of marriage.  Our love is awesome and far beyond the constraints of marriage.

Thank you to all who actively support us.  I wouldn't want to do any of this without you.  You are literally holding us up right now and we love you beyond measure.


Anonymous said...

Came here by way of a link on Facebook. You have supporters in RI.

Who is anyone to judge someone elses love? To love and be loved is such a blessing, and to deny anyone the right to be married is wrong.

This is a great post, and keep on keeping on, I believe that it is bound to change and we will all truly be equal...

Jeannie from RI

Judith Whitaker said...

Dear old friend! Your piece brought tears to my eyes and know that from 3,000 miles away we support you, your family and every same sex family in our flawed country. Beautiful piece. We felt sad and angry when marriage equality lost lost the vote i CA and hope that some day our country will look back on this time the way folks do about segregation, etc. xo Fight on! In support and love, Judith and Tom

Anonymous said...

I came here by way of a link on Facebook as well, and I just wanted to say that your family is beautiful, and it is most certainly not any less beautiful than any other family. I am not huge on politics, but there are two issues that I will ALWAYS vote for: women's rights and any sort of equality. I hope that the efforts of everybody around you will come to fruition some day. I am sure they will, and until then, just keep being the wonderful people you clearly are :)

monica gray said...

Steve shared your blog on facebook and I had to read it. You have always and will always continue to have mine and our support.

Monica Gray

Anonymous said...

Also came here by way of FB link and wanted to say your writing is a gift to everyone who reads it. Please know that you have strong supporters here in Florida. BTW, my father does the same thing filling out forms at different offices, he makes his own box and writes human. We are all just humans.

RJGA said...

We support you in Pennsylvania! Civil rights don't get voted on.

Times they are changing fast. A 15 yr old boy at my kids high school came out last year. Some parents were freaked. But most of the kids didn't care. My daughter's exact words "I don't get why people care".

Keep the faith. Stay strong.

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