This past Saturday the 15th I had the opportunity to participate in my first protest - ever! I was very excited about it while at the same time reminding myself that the reason for it was a deeply disappointing one. I don’t think anyone imagined that we would lose marriage equality in California to Proposition 8. I knew it was something that we were being fought on but I don’t think anyone truly believed (feared perhaps, but not believed) that after having had it such a short time it would be taken away. It wasn’t quite the same as when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newscome began issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples back in 2004.
at the protest brent cox of MS ACLU - one of the organizers of the Jackson protest - had his video camera, and he asked me why i was there that day. i said “because i believe i should have the right to marry a woman.”
then he asked: “what does marriage mean to you? describe it in one word.”
i went over it in my mind very quickly, made a face and said “i don’t think i’m the right person to ask that question to.”
the truth is, i couldn’t think of a single positive thing to say about marriage on a personal level. i was married and it wasn’t a great experience. sure there are all kinds of reasons that it wasn’t and most of that has nothing to do with the institution of marriage. i don’t know a lot of people who have had great marriages. i know a few but they always seem to be exceptions rather than the rule.
relationships - be them gay or straight or anything in between - are complicated. there are no perfect people and therefore there can be no perfect relationship. i don’t know that i would ever get legally married again, but i know that i believe that equal rights are not special rights. sometimes it really strikes me that i don’t necessarily believe in marriage yet i know gay and lesbian couples who aren’t out there protesting or fighting for their rights; i am. to me it’s the principal. you can’t say that some americans are more important or better than others, no one has the right to legislate morality.
there have been countless blogs on this topic, and i don’t think that i can necessarily say anything better than anyone else has. melissa etheridge summed it up pretty well i think. what frustrates me is that in my opinion the reason that people don’t want to let us get married but are willing to give us “civil unions” or something like that is simply because they know that if they allow us to get married that we are more credible. if they allow us to get married then they have to accept that our love is the same as their love. that we are the same as them, and aren’t we? aren’t we all just people? americans?
the thing that is frustrating to me is that as americans we focus on our differences instead of our similarities. i’m a democrat, you’re a republican. i’m an lgbtq american, you’re an african american…we just go on and on putting ourselves and each other into these boxes that emphasize our differences instead of reminding us that ultimately we are all on the same side. we all love. we all get up in the morning - numberswiki.com
some of us bounce up and go to jog and others moan and snooze the alarm but we all do. we all have things that make us happy and angry. we’re all human. is love a human right? i hope so, but actually no one can take away our right to love. we’re all going to continue loving whether it’s legitimized by the word or institution of marriage or not.
in truth we really have no guarantees to anything even when we can get married. relationships end (both gay and straight!), people change, things fall apart, and sometimes defying all reason things do not. i think that’s the bottom line for me - hope. we can read the statistics and know that probably all marriages have a 50-50 shot at working and i don’t think that will change much when gay marriage is legal. two people meet, they have a connection, despite the odds they fall in love and want to devote their lives to one another; that is a beautiful miraculous thing. whether they are two men or two women or a man and a woman doesn’t really matter to me. it takes bravery to make the step to say “you are my one and only until death do us part.” it takes hope, faith, devotion, and it’s something that taps into a part of us that we forget as we grow older. the part of us that believes that love can defy logic and statistics. the part of us that we never gave up from when we were children that believed there was one person out there waiting for us who would love us for exactly who we are and make our lives better. there are very few people i think in the world that don’t want a deep connection with another person.
america is a wonderful place to live even with the hardships that we face. it’s a great place to be a woman, it’s a great place to be gay, and a lot of us are working very hard to make it a better place for women and the lgbtq community. we’re not going to be killed legally for who we are and that’s a very comforting thing. we’re also given the right to speak our minds aloud and come together publically like we did at the protest. i’m not sure what the founding fathers would think about gay marriage, but i’d like to hope that they really meant what they said when they wrote: “all men are created equal.” we’ve challenged that at times in this country. our ancestors have tried to say that all people are not equal, but history has proven that is not true. we are all equal but equality sadly at times has to be fought for. i for one am not really ready to settle for civil unions, i want civil marriage. not for me necessarily, though it would be nice if i decided i wanted that some day. even if only one lgbtq couple wanted to get married that would be worth fighting for. there’s no such thing as separate but equal, and no one - no government - has the right to say that some people can get married while others cannot. i’m proud of all the mississippians who came out and stood up for equality, and i am so honored that i was able to be a part of what i am sure will go down in the history books as a major milestone in the fight for lgbt equality.