Have you heard this song by Macklemore?
I’ll tell you what it makes me think of. When I first met the man that I have fallen in love with, I was mostly in the camp of supporting gay rights, but I didn’t know where that fell. Did that mean that there should be equal rights in marriage? How about service in the military? How about adoption?
I felt torn between the religion my parents gave me and the social outlook I grew to hold dear. Because for me, it has always been the sort of issue where we feel strong enough to be sympathetic, but not enough to do a goddamn thing. My mom would say “gay people are loved by jesus just as much as we are. Even though what they want to do is a sin. It’s a sickness.”
I believed her for far too long. I believed that your sense of love and companionship could be something that could actually be at odds with morality. Because somehow having sex with someone with the same parts as yourself was this unspeakable blasphemy. Even after that stopped making sense to me, there was still this sense of dissonance between what I felt to be right and what I was raised to consider as right.
But now, now that I have had the time to think and to empathize, I feel ashamed at how much this is none of my business. You know what? I’m fucking lucky. I’m married, and I’m generally straight. So when I have sex with the man I love, it’s an act smiled upon by the state, the government, and if I’d just take out that damn nuvaring, maybe even god would smile at the things that occur between myself and Mr. Moonlit.
Law belongs in the courthouse. It belongs in contracts, it belongs in boring shit that we all recognize as the things we have to do as a part of making our way through an organized society. But you know where it doesn’t belong? In that beautiful moment between people where we share ourselves so completely. Where we occupy the same space. Where our hearts and our lives change a little for the blessing of having that person in our life. That basic, deep, primal sense that is somehow both instinctual and enlightened at the same time. Law does not exist in order to make competent people hate themselves for who they love. Law does not exist to make us think we are fundamentally, organically flawed for seeing another person and knowing that there could be nothing better than seeing that person every morning as we wake until we die. For someone to be our closest, our deepest, our secondmost to the voice we all hear within our minds until life rends us apart.
I look back in shame at all the times I felt bad for people who are gay. I’m sorry. I had no idea. How dare I have such a sense of superiority? Of moral advancement?
It doesn’t mean that now somehow I magically get it. I don’t know what it’s like to live like that- with the constant judgment and disdain of too, too many people. But here’s what I do know:
When I started dating my husband, it was de rigeur. When we became “serious” it was just as little of a deal. When we moved in together, when we went to parties together, when he began to share holidays with my family, nobody looked askance. When we had good times and bad times, when he sat with me in the sunset and asked me to be with him forever, nobody did anything but applaud.
When we drove to the courthouse together, down in Key West, and asked the government to recognize our promise to love one another forever, there was nothing but smiles. Except for me. I cried like a baby at every turn.
And somehow, even though we are both atheist and mildly antisocial, getting married somehow meant something. It meant something more. It was defined and recognized by more than just ourselves, or our family; it was like society in its entirety was told to recognize us as one.
It’s some powerful shit.
Even today, and believe me when I say that I am not much of a romantic, I feel different as a “wife” than i did as a “girlfriend”. We promised to the world, to everyone, that we would spend our lives together. And you know what? when I think of denying someone else that opportunity, it hurts in a way that I never could have imagined when I was alone or when we weren’t married.
Even us, who are hardly the ones to recognize any kind of metaphysical meaningfulness to our lives or what we do.
It makes a difference.
So how about this- and forgive me for the sentimentality- how about we make a difference? How about we finally give people the right to be with the one they love? How about we finally recognize their right- because it was never up to us to “give” it to them?
Love is patient,
Love is kind.
They have been patient,
Why aren’t we kind?