I plan to blog (probably at some length!) on yesterday’s and today’s historic supreme court oral arguments on Prop 8 and DOMA, but in the meantime, I thought it might be worth reposting my piece from last year called “This is What Gay Marriage Looks Like,” penned in response to Obama’s decision to come out in support of gay marriage. The issues and emotions I described last year still hold true today, and will continue to hold even after our great country reaches the end of the long road we’re on toward full recognition of the rights of all queer people, not just those of us who aspire to such middle class desires as marriage, home, and family.
One note which I’ll probably expand on later: Kris and I are not a social experiment. Alex is not a social experiment. We are human beings, we are American citizens, and we are a committed married couple raising our daughter(s) to be, we hope, happy and healthy human beings and involved American citizens. I can trace my ancestors back to the Revolutionary War. Moreover, both sides of my family fought in the Civil War. My ancestors paid for our freedoms with their lives, in some cases, so don’t tell me I do not deserve the right to marry the consenting adult of my choice or to be considered the legal parent of my daughter.
That’s what is at stake here–not the “redefinition of traditional marriage,” as gay marriage opponents claim. Marriage has been redefined countless times over the centuries, and American civil marriage has faced its own share of rewrites. What’s at stake for Kris, Alex, and me, and for families like ours, is full participation and recognition in American life. Nothing more, nothing less.
Whew. And on a lighter note, here’s a recent picture of our family going about our daily lives:
This is What Gay Marriage Looks Like (Original Post Date: 5/9/12)
Today, May 9, 2012, President Obama made history by affirming, “I think same-sex couples should be able to get married”—ten little words that are now winging their way about the nation via a variety of technological means.
After talking to Kris on the phone, watching the ABC News video clip on YouTube, and reading the accompanying article on Yahoo, I have to admit that I got a little teary-eyed when the President mentioned that his daughters don’t understand why the same-sex parents of their friends would be treated any differently than their own parents.
The cynical Gen X-er in me would like to blow off Obama’s supposed “evolution” in thought on the issue of gay marriage, and believe instead that today’s historic announcement has more to do with political pressure in an election year than any genuine shift within our centrist president. My pessimistic side can only view the President’s choice to credit his Christian faith for that evolution as a calculated, somewhat ironic bit of campaign rhetoric rather than the heartfelt confession he claims it is. But the determined idealist in me, still lurking around despite the fact that I came of age during the Ronald “F*&% the Poor and Downtrodden” Reagan years, the part of me that rejoiced in the Clinton era only to withstand another depressingly prolonged ideological blow during the Bush Jr. decade, cried a little when she read the transcript of Obama’s interview.
And yet, this is just business as usual, isn’t it? For more than a decade, thanks to Karl Rove and George W. Bush, we gays who are (or would be) lawfully wedded have been the whipping boys and girls of America’s two political parties. Need a way to ensure that hypocritical, narrow-minded, conservative Christians will come out in droves to vote? Raise the specter of homos who want to tie the knot. Apparently, there is nothing more frightening in America than a same-sex couple making a lifelong commitment to each other. Talk about terrifying—two people who willingly commit to joint mortgage payments, bickering over whose turn it is to do the dishes, and raising children we love together? No wonder the fundies are so scared of us.
Usually, I hide my homo anger behind a more politically expedient front made up of equal parts fake sagacity, genuine sarcasm, and feigned tolerance. But as those who know me would attest, I’ve been angry for a long, long time. I’m sick of being the election-year whipping post for people who can’t even make their own marriages work. Michele Bachmann, recently a GOP presidential candidate, actually said during a campaign stop that gay people do have the right to get married—to members of the opposite sex. Seriously? Are you f*$&-ing kidding me? Then again, I guess Bachmann should know since she (purportedly) married an ex-gay herself.
Tell you what, all you straight people out there who think you have the right to believe that Kris and I shouldn’t have been allowed to get married: You tell me where you were seven years ago on June 18, 2005, at 4:30pm East Coast time. You show me where the sky fell and how the world shifted and the exact way your own marriages were threatened as a result of my minister friend’s declaration to Kris and me as our family and friends applauded, “By the power vested in me by the awesome Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I now pronounce you legally married!”
Oh, wait, that’s right—you had no idea that Kris and I even got married, did you? Besides which, I’ll bet a whole mess of you aren’t even married yourselves anymore, while a whole other slew of you got married and divorced during the seven years of our oh-so-gay marriage. Turns out some of us queers are actually better at marriage than some of you breeders.
We certainly have more opposition to our marriages than most of you. For one second, imagine what it’s like to tune in to a “Special News Report,” with the same slightly alarming theme music that accompanies reports of assassination attempts and terrorist attacks, only to find out that the incredible news of the day is that the President has decided that though he used to be uncertain, he now thinks it’s okay after all that you got married to the person you love. Imagine for one moment that this would be news, and that a large percentage of the people you call fellow citizens—people who live on your block and go to your church, whose children attend school with yours—disagree with the President, and even hate you for the sole reason that you “chose” to love your spouse. Hate you enough, in some cases, to wish you were dead.
Now picture the energy it takes on a daily basis to ignore those neighbors and co-workers, those complete strangers, walking down the street, waiting in line at the grocery store, stopped in their cars beside you at the stoplight. Picture the energy it takes to constantly have to evaluate if it is physically safe to admit the gender of the person to whom you are married; the energy you can’t help but expend worrying that your child might somehow suffer because her two moms refuse to lie about who they are and who they love. We queer folk should be given an award anytime we manage to stay together, but instead, our civil rights are continually debated and voted on by an entitled majority that refuses to acknowledge its own privileged status.
The thing is, I truly wouldn’t give a flying f*&% about President Obama’s opinion of my marriage if it weren’t for that pesky title in front of his name. As he is the current POTUS, I’m glad that he’s “evolved” to the point he has, but frankly, I agree with Sasha and Malia—there’s no reason why my wife and I should have our marriage and civil rights be treated any differently than those of the President and his wife. After all, this is America, isn’t it, land of the free?
In fact, Massachusetts, the first U.S. state to legalize same-sex weddings and the official grantor of my own gay marriage, was one of the original thirteen colonies. Doesn’t that make it more American than, say, most of the rest of the f*&%-ing country?
Oh, dear. I’ve actually been trying to cut back on my cursing now that Alex has started to talk, but this blog post sort of blew that all to hell. Still, I think Alex would agree with most of what I’ve written. If she’s anything like the President and First Lady’s daughters, that is. Somehow, I think she will be.