But I am thoroughly depressed by what I, in theory, expected, so obviously I had silently hoped for a different result. I don't live in the US, and I don't live in CA. I live in Ontario, in Canada, where gay marriage is a simple fact of both law and daily life. Prior to the advent of legal marriage for gays, I knew a number of people whose SO's were in the hospital dying of AIDS -- and who were denied the ability to be with their SO's in their last days because of the narrow-minded and ultimately evil (really, truly, imho) decisions of the rest of their family, even though, right up until the point that hospitalization was required, they were the ones who were physically caring for them -- a right that could not be denied a legal spouse.
Pointing to the ways in which a "separate but equal" commitment does not detract from daily life misses that single point. Think about it: If your SO's mother is denying you all access to her son because you aren't kin, how exactly, in CA, are you going to prove that you have the right to access? What are you going to say to the hospital staff? You can argue that you are, in fact, legally entitled to visit and to be there -- but what are you pulling out of your pockets to drop on the staff's desk? When you are already reeling in shock and pain, how are you building up your bureaucratic arsenal to be there to comfort the dying -- and to gain, for yourself, possibly the last hours you will ever have with the living?
No cut-tags here, because, honestly? CA, I do not get it. I understand the ways in which the Supreme Court was hampered -- but they should never have been hampered that way in the first place. To those who voted for prop 8: I don't understand your fear. I don't understand your bigotry. I don't understand your hatred. No one is telling you what to do. No one is telling you who to marry. Or who to sleep with. No one is pointing their mocking teen-age fingers at you and calling you gay. Okay? (I may, at this point, be calling you a whole host of other things, but my fury is not entrenched in law.)
It is not as if the lesbian and gay communities are asking for something outrageous. They are not asking for your jobs, your homes, your children, or your money; they're not demanding equal sexual time with you or your spouse; they're not trying to secede. What horrible and agitating thing are they struggling to achieve? They want to get married. Wow. That's it. They want to be able to get married. I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around why this is considered so ultimately terrifying because if you actually unpack the fear... there's not a lot there. They want the chance, in front of friends, family, and their entire community, to put their money where their mouth is: to make the public commitment.
I am, absent obvious racial characteristics, as middle-of-the-road as one gets. I am married, I have two children, I have a mortgage. My husband works full-time; I work part-time and write. I hate housework. My parents are in and out of my house all week. I am not writing from any radical fringe or any radical mode of thought. My marriage, and my family, are not lessened by gay marriage; they are more threatened by a society that continues to attempt to entrench bigotry in its constitution. I understand bigotry. I know what my parents lost--as children--in the internment camps of the second world war. I know what their parents lost, as adults with families they couldn't even keep together, so I understand bigotry. I understand the costs.
There is enough loneliness and unhappiness in life that denying people the chance at a public, successful marriage seems petty, small, cruel. Will all of the marriages survive? Probably not; many marriages don't. But the profound hope and promise of the beginning is one of the ways one gets through the storms and the upheavals. We promised. It was witnessed. It meant something. Denying people this happiness and this hope just spreads misery and isolation.
Please, do not do this. Do not continue to do this.