I spent my morning multi-tasking: working and listening to the testimony in the Proposition 8 hearing. I listened while “their side” described that marriage was solely for procreation, and that because straight people can accidentally procreate, that the State has a vested interest in marriage to bring up those children with their family of origin.
Here’s what I heard.
If you can’t have kids, you shouldn’t be able to get married. And if you manage to oops get pregnant, you should marry the man who impregnated you.
That’s what I said. Has anyone on “their side” really LISTENED to the arguments they are making and looked at society today? I have no doubt that children can thrive in a two parent household, with a mommy and a daddy who love and adore and care for them. I also have no doubt that children can thrive with a single mom or a single dad who love and adore and care for them. I also have no doubt that children can thrive with two moms or two dads or grandma and grandpa or any sort of combination of LOVING, COMMITTED, parents who put the children’s needs as primary.
It’s quite a trip to listen to people debate whether or not who I love makes me worthy of being allowed to use the word marriage and employ the rights and benefits of such a designation. Some well-meaning friends have said things like, “the government needs to stay out of our bedrooms” as statements of solidarity. Here’s the problem. If this were just about what I choose to do in the privacy of my bedroom, I wouldn’t give a rip. This isn’t about my sexual habits. This is about who I am and whether I am afforded the same financial, social, and parental rights as my straight brother. My straight brother doesn’t have to go to court to adopt his son in order to secure his parental rights should something happen to my sister-in-law. My sister-in-law doesn’t need a power of attorney to make medical decisions for my brother if he is unable to do so. My brother and sister-in-law have automatic rights to each other’s retirement and social security. My brother’s in-laws cannot decide to fight for custody of my nephew if something happens to my sister-in-law unless they can prove my brother is unfit. My brother and sister-in-law don’t have to file separate tax returns.
Shall I go on?
The point is, folks against gay marriage might be icked out by what gays and lesbians do in the bedroom, but Proposition 8 is about anything BUT sex. It’s about finding someone to bully. It’s about pointing someone out for what is different about them and treating them differently because of it. And isn’t that what bullies do? They prey on our differences. They treat us like we are less than they are because of something they have or do or are that we don’t have or don’t do or aren’t. Proposition 8 is about grown men and women, educated and ignorant, believing that someone shouldn’t get something that they have.
I am tired of being bullied.
Haven’t we given the bullies enough power over us?
The only way I know to diffuse a bully is to show them how much more alike we are than different.
That is a picture of my children meeting Santa this year. My days are filled with making sure those two little people are cared for, loved, and grow up to be contributing members of society. I have the same fears and concerns about making that happen as any of you do or will when you have kids. Money. Education. Time. Opportunity. Nutrition. Discipline.
All of these things occupy my mind when I think about what I need to provide them. And I know they occupy your mind when you think about your families.
So tell me.
How are we really that different?
The only thing that makes us different is that my family has to jump through many more hurdles in order to achieve the same level of protection and rights that a straight family does. Hurdles that serve only to define us in terms of our differences. Hurdles put there by bullies who want nothing more than to point and stare and make us feel inferior.
Gay marriage isn’t about changing the definition of marriage, it’s about respect for all families, respect for the things that makes us the same and the things that make us different, and acknowledging that even in a world that strives to divide people, we can always agree that love is bigger than all of us.
Proposition 8 is institutionalized bullying. You may not think it affects you – because you’re straight or you don’t live in California or you don’t ever want to get married. But the reality is when someone is bullied and we let it happen, we imply agreement through our complacency.
And if you believe me, that we are more alike than different, then being complacent while I am bullied means you’re ok with being bullied too.
So let’s make a pact. I won’t let you be bullied if you won’t let me be bullied.
Because we’re the same, you and I.