Hate Is Not a Family Value
My wedding made me want the whole world to get married, gay or not.
This morning I watched California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Meet the Press and, for the first time ever outside of a movie theater, caught myself cheering at his image on the screen.
While Schwarzenegger tempered his support of the California Supreme Court’s decision to allow gay marriage when he voiced his personal opinion (“marriage should be between a man and a woman”), he did announce that it is not up to him to push his personal opinion on anyone else. He added that it was “good that California is leading in this way” and that any more debate on the issue takes away from bigger issues that the state must face. Basically, said the Governor, arguing over the gay marriage issue “is a waste of time” and energy, taking the focus off of real problems that the government of California must solve. He also compared the notion of banning gay marriage to the ban on interracial marriage which existed back in 1948. Amen.
As loyal demo dirt readers may already know, I got married this past March to David, the love of my life. The elation, excitement and overwhelming emotion that overtook me as I walked down the aisle to meet him and finally make it official, was the kind of feeling that I wish everyone could have the good fortune to experience.
During the planning process, when we chatted with gay wedding vendor professionals, I encountered mixed feelings: unabashed elation at my upcoming nuptials, guilt over my giddiness in the presence of people who aren’t allowed to marry, and sadness for them that they may not ever have the opportunity.
During my research for the featured story this week on gay marriage, I was terribly saddened by one source’s experiences with the complications of her civil union. When they travel out-of-state, she explained, she and her partner have to make sure they have the paperwork indicating that they are civilly united, because if there were an accident and one was hospitalized, the other would have to show the papers to indicate that she was family.
What if you are in a state that does not recognize same-sex civil unions? I asked. Well, then, it is up to the doctor or nurse attending to decide if you are allowed to see your partner, came the reply.
Yes, the partner that you have built and shared a life with for years, the one you had children with, I thought. And if the medical professional is homophobic? I asked. Well, legally he or she is not required to let you see your loved one, was the answer.
And, because the couple has kids, the complications, mountains of paperwork and other issues when traveling multiply, she added, explaining that she hauls around a large manila envelope with all necessary documents whenever they travel. Having recently returned from our honeymoon in Antigua, I shook my head at the fact that all I had needed to bring was my passport and itinerary.
As I read accounts of the celebrations of gay marriages in California, I marvel at the stories of couples who had been together for 30 years, 55 years, and more before they could finally tie the knot. When I think of the bigoted argument that homosexuality “degrades” the sacred institution of marriage, I lament these longtime couples who faced discrimination, persecution, and isolation from family and friends, and other untold indignities, all in the name of love.
That’s commitment, that’s a sacred union.
One of my favorite moments following the wedding was when my husband noticed for the first time that I had taken his name in my byline. While he knew that I was planning on changing my name, I hadn’t mentioned to him that I would do so on demo dirt so soon after our big day. I will never forget the look of pride on his face as he smiled and said how happy and surprised he had been to see one of the symbols of our union, my new name, in my byline.
What being in love—and having the freedom to express it—has taught me is that it feels so amazing, and is such a blessing, that if everyone had the same rights, the world truly would be a better place.
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