Monday, February 20, 2012

my response to the marriage project

A writer by the name of Jill Malone asked for people to respond to her version of the Marriage Project. This is what she said:

"Would you consider submitting to me your reasons for supporting marriage equality? Your sexuality is beside the point, as is mine, so I welcome support from my queer community and our straight allies. Write why you chose to marry, or why you would marry, or why you believe in marriage, or why you’re not into marriage but think marriage equality is still vital. Write whatever you feel compelled to write."
Here is what I have to say on the subject:

I am a naturalized Texan. A damn Yankee who found her home and heart in the most unlikely of places: Houston, Texas. Nearly 1,700 miles from my Long Island birth and worlds away from the culture(s) I was raised in.

The first time I heard Blanche Dubois' liquid lilt, "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers," I was sure I would never understand such helplessness. I am decidedly not a southern belle, geographic choice notwithstanding.

But my lack of legal standing does just that--it makes me depend on the kindness of strangers. Something that is only sweet and charming in fiction, if there. I had to depend upon the kindness of strangers when the love of my life had a partial mastectomy and I had no legal standing that would allow me to sit with her in recovery. I touched her face as she came in and out of consciousness, sharply aware of how tenuous that moment was. We have all sorts of legal paperwork "stop-gap" solutions but ultimately, if our relationship is not legally recognized, we are terribly vulnerable to the prejudice or ignorance of the people in power around us.

I can't imagine our world operating on the kindness of strangers, though I believe most strangers are essentially kind. We learned as a nation that it was not enough to think: Well, no one would make small children work in factories! Everyone would agree that it's in society's best interest to protect and educate the children! Just pitch in. Taxes should be paid on the honor system and divorces granted fair and equitably without any legislation! We learned that it was not enough because it didn't work. I'm not interested in arguing libertarian views here. If we were all motivated to help the poor, build new roads and follow a universal code of ethics, we wouldn't have had the disastrous stories that prompted laws governing fairness and equity.

My beloved on the left and me and my snark on the right.
Protesting the idiocy that was/is Prop 8.
So I want to legally marry this woman with whom I have shared 25 years of marriage. Raising children, buying a home, developing careers, paying taxes, and all the other blissful and mundane things that marriage entails. All that and the incredible happiness and occasional grief that weave through most of our lives. But as far as my state and country are concerned, we are just two unrelated people who bought a house together.  If the police come to our door because of a crime or emergency, I must depend on their sense of fairness when it comes to letting us ride together in an ambulance. I must hope that their sensitivity and diversity training had taught them to respect our relationship. But we are not guaranteed anything because our "relationship" doesn't exist within the legal world.

I do not swoon and go limp when people ask me why I think I should have the right to marry...hoping for their kind support. I'm not interested in kindness or generosity or tolerance. I am interested in my rights. I am interested in equality.

1 comment:

Gena said...

I've read this entry several times (it would be nice if you'd stop working for a few minutes and post another!) and feel a swell of hope now that our President made his support clear...i want to see my sister and the wonderful woman you've added to our family MARRIED.