Marriage Equality: A Rant

Dear Well-Meaning, Soon-to-be-ex-coworker of Jami’s,

I know that you are a well-intentioned, liberal lady who is all for the homos, so I want to give you a little piece of friendly advice. Do not ask your soon-to-be-ex-coworker if her new employer will “recognize” her marriage.  It’s a shitty thing to ask, and here’s why…

Your soon-to-be-ex-coworker (ie, my wife) is legally married in the District of Columbia. I’m sure that you know this because it would have been hard to miss the hullabaloo when it became legal earlier this year. This means that my marriage is a legal marriage and that it is EXACTLY the same as every other legal marriage in the District of Columbia. This is the beauty of marriage equality. This is exactly why marriage equality is so important. Because suddenly relationships between two consenting adults, any two consenting adults, who choose to marry are treated the exactly the same. If your DC employer will pay for the health care of the opposite-sex spouses of their employees, for example, they will also now be paying for the health care of the same-sex spouses of their employees. This is why Catholic Charities is no longer covering spouses on their health care plans.

DC’s move to marriage equality wasn’t an empty gesture, it was a very real, legal, serious thing. And by asking if my marriage is “recognized”, you are saying it is different. You are the ONLY person who is saying that it’s different. Which I am sure is not what your well-meaning, liberal self intended. My best advice? If you believe in marriage equality, recognize all marriages as equal. Practice what you preach. And if there is some way in which my marriage is not equal (there is still that pesky little matter of the federal government), and it’s something that I want to talk you about, I will bring it up. Because if you bring it up, especially if you imply that my marriage isn’t recognized, it’s just going to make me feel like you see my marriage as “less than”, which I most certainly do not and at which I will probably take offense.

I know the question was not meant in the manner in which it was received, and living in a glass house, I have no wish to throw stones. I’m sure, as a well-meaning, liberal white lady myself, I have made my share of well-intentioned, but not-so-appropriate remarks. So please just think about what I said, and the next time you are faced with a coworker or casual acquaintance who is married to someone of the same sex, don’t focus on the differences that you may see between their marriage and other marriages, focus on what is the same – or just don’t focus on their marriage at all. Thanks!

Carrie

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Marriage Equality: A Rant

Obama won and I’m still sad

It is a great thing that Obama won. Amazing and wonderful – and I am very excited and grateful. I voted for him, rooted for him, celebrated when it was announced that he won. I went to bed on Tuesday night happy and hopeful.

But try as I might, as much as I would like to be, I am not happy today.

Because this amazing day in America, this day where hope and change won and history was made, was followed by the news that Proposition 8 in California and the gay marriage and adoption bans in Arizona, Florida and Arkansas have all passed. There is a bitter taste in my mouth.

I would like to believe, like so many people do after this historic election that America is a more just place. That citizens are truly judged on the content of their character. That America is a place that embraces freedom and equal rights. But the fact is, despite how far we have come (and I do not question that for a second – tremendous progress has been made in this country in the arena of civil rights – and the election of Barack Obama Tuesday night is the prime, awe-inspiring example of that), we all still live in a country where every single anti-gay ballot initiative up for a vote on Tuesday passed.

We elected a black man president, we defended a woman’s right to chose in South Dakota, we guaranteed that chickens would be treated humanely in California, for christ’s sake, but America, at least a voting majority, still hates me. Hates that I am making my (normal, boring, home-owning, tax-paying) life with a woman. Doesn’t think my relationship should be recognized. Doesn’t think I should be able to adopt children. Doesn’t think that my family is deserving of legal protection. Doesn’t think that I should be able to enjoy the same rights and responsibilities that straight, married couples don’t even have to think about.

And so I feel sad today. Have felt sad since I woke up on the morning on November 5th and checked the news online.

It feels like, while the world of possibilities are opening up for so many Americans, I am being specifically excluded. That there is something so horrible about loving someone of your own gender, that it is necessary to take rights away from any person who does. (And that is what Proposition 8 did. It didn’t prevent the granting of rights in the future, as many marriage bans have, it took away existing rights. Can you imagine doing that? To anyone?)

I do not like being told that I am “less than”. I do not think that a majority population should be EVER be able to determine the rights of a minority population. You DON’T put rights to a popular vote.

So I am mad, that while everybody else gets to be unequivocally happy about this amazing and momentous election, this election that I was equally invested in, I sit here hurt and angry and upset, because my country has told me that I don’t matter. That while I share the dreams and aspirations of my fellow Americans, I am not deserving of the rights that they enjoy. I’m mad that I don’t get to feel the joy, that I should rightfully feel, having survived 8 years of the Bush nightmare and having elected a great man to be President.

Obama won and I’m still sad