In my excitement over the blue sweep of the House and Senate during the last election and the fall of Rumsfeld, I neglected to talk about my feelings over one of the social issues dearest to me: gay marriage.
Several states voted to ban same sex marriage. In TN, 81% of people voted to ban same-sex marriage. 81%. 81% of people left their house and thought, gee, what a great plan. I think I will cast a ballot for hatred today. Who are these people? I could be mean. I could say that homophobia is largely about doubt of one's own sexuality. After all, why else would someone care what goes on in someone else's bedroom? I could say that it is about ignorance, since it is about that, too. I wonder how many of those who cast their judgment on the gay community even know a single gay person. But pointing fingers and being angry really helps nothing. There is a profound divide in this country right now and hatred and anger only widen the gap. Unfortunately, unlike other issues like abortion or legalized drugs, the other side is ONLY about hatred and legalized bigotry. I know they say it will damage marriage and whatever else, but the reality is: whether two men want to marry and share a life together has no bearing on my marriage and the sanctity of that. Reality shows do more damage to hetero marriage than gay marriage ever could.
When I think of my excitement on election morning, I think of my uncles M and B and how they must have felt waking up and seeing the same results I did. Only they had to see that seven states do not approve of their "lifestyle." They have to see that seven states think their union of 30+ years is somehow less legitimate than two hetero teenagers in a trailer park in TN just because they are two men. When I think of this, I am sick for them and sick for their children. I grew up close to both of them and visited them regularly in NY and then in LA where they live now. They have the happiest union I have ever seen. They entertain eachother, laugh together and seem to have a passion for eachother that surpasses any hetero marriage I have ever seen. In 1999, they had a daughter and in 2003, they had a son. There have never been two more involved parents. They spend enormous time and effort on parenting and, as a result, they have two imaginative, bright and polite children who love their daddy and their papa. They are such good parents that they are on the (very) short list of people we plan to ask to be guardians of our child should (G-d forbid) anything happen to us. So, it is with incredible sadness that I think of the time they planned to marry in Mass in 2004 and were stymied by Romney's quick rulinig regarding out of state marriages. At this point they say marriage would jinx their relationship. But I can't help feeling angry about the idea that two men who love eachother and their family deeply should not have the same right that R and I have.
When I think about the questions my daughter might someday ask, I hate that I might have to tell her that anyone is denied the same basic rights as others just because people in the middle of the country have an issue with their "lifestyle." I know that years from now, people will look back at this time and shudder, amazed that there was a time when hatred was not only legal but on the ballot as well. Until that point, I will have to look at my daughter and explain the hate in the world and the ignorance and hope that she has the passion and the drive to fight it.