A ring and a cake

There was something in the air on Tuesday, an electricity just beneath the surface as Boyfriend and I stood in line to vote. The line stretched around Our Lady of Sorrows (yes, really) and down the street. People had books and cell phones, some brought chairs, one woman stood knitting in the frigid wind. All of us were prepared to wait, determined to make ourselves heard. I wasn't sure Missouri would go blue (it didn't) but I could feel the possibility. It seemed reasonable, given the disaster of the last eight years, that as a country we'd had enough.

I thought of California only once or twice throughout the day. Liberal, laid-back California. Gavin Newsom and Nancy Pelosi and the Governator. The left coast would never move to actively discriminate, especially now with gay marriage already on the books.

I trusted my gut, it was all going to be okay.

Barack Obama would bring some dignity and intelligence back to the White House. And sometime, when we had a few days and some extra cash, Boyfriend and I would go to Palm Springs, and after more than a decade together, make it legal. For the first time in a long time, it was all going to be okay.

But my gut was only half right.

I've been surprised at how Proposition 8's passing has effected me, the level of anger and hurt that I feel. I think that maybe it's because we seemed to be moving in the right direction, and now we've taken this gigantic step back. Or rather, we've been pushed back by the leaders of the mormon church

Yes, I've placed my blame.

I read an article that proposed the black and latin communities, not believed to be supportive of gay rights, made the difference because they turned out in higher numbers to vote in the general election. I suppose that could be true, but it seems both racist and facile. Money, on the other hand, always makes a difference when Americans have something to vote on, and on that front the mormon church led the way.

For these churches (mormon and others) the priority is not food for the hungry, treatment for the addicted, or apparently any kind of help for those in need. Ensuring that Boyfriend and I remain unequal in the eyes of the law, that's job one.

So, what do I do now?

As the shouting began, the mormons issued a statement asking for "a spirit of mutual respect and civility," and here I sit, feeling neither. After eight years of watching the Bush administration wreck our reputation in the world, of having my patriotism questioned simply because of my party affiliation, you'll have to pardon me if I'm less than satisfied with where civility has gotten me.

And now, for the religious right to effectively block my entrance to the courthouse, when I've never once asked to walk down their aisle, well I'm not feeling especially respectful. Am I supposed to stand quietly by, with a smile on my face, while they continue their work to ensure that I never receive quite the same benefits, or enjoy quite the same rights as my straight counterparts?

If Boyfriend were to drop dead, from a legal standpoint I'm nothing more than a guest in my own home. I don't believe his family would throw me out, but do we ever really know what people will do in the throes of grief? My friend Linda found this out the hard way. She'd lived with Ron for 25 years when he died suddenly. They'd never married. Were it not for one of his sisters, the rest of the family would have cleaned out Linda's home.

So I've spent the week trying to make some sense of it. I've written and re-written this post each day because I'm alternately disheartened and enraged, and no combination of words seems to adequately convey the way I feel.

I can only conclude that I'm trying to make sense of something that makes no sense. Were I to marry my partner none of those who voted yes on Proposition 8 would know, no change in their lives would occur. The institution of Marriage, battered and bruised as it is, would remain.

I've tried to explain this in past letters to representatives. I've asked why, legally, I should be denied this right. I've asked how my marriage would affect theirs. They've never replied with anything more than a form letter assuring me that my opinion counts. I can only believe it's because they know deep down I'm right.

So I'm left feeling lost, not sure what to do, if anything can be done. And sad. Sad because of all that transpired throughout the California campaign. And sad because as we enter the holiday season, and as I think back on Notre Dame, Sainte Chappelle, Westminster Cathedral, all toured on our recent vacation, I have no charity, at least for now, for the church.


hello gorgeous said...

This made me so sad. For you and for me. That straight people would do this to you.

I can't explain it. And I have said this already a couple of times on other blogs that while I was thrilled at having won the Presidential Election, I felt the need to add an asterisk; that no, everything was not quite equal. Not quite equal at all.

Chin up, honey. This will be challenged in court and if your rights were non-negotiable once, I would think that is still the case. xo

hello gorgeous said...

P.S. I loved your line, "the institution of marriage, bruised and battered as it is, would remain."

This was my favorite post you've written so far. Very heartfelt.

Karena said...

David, I suppose this is the time when our inner spirits and faith that we hold to our hearts need to remain steadfast. So much has changed, yet much more change is to come.

Decorina said...

Wonderful post, David. I share your sadness too and disbelief that it could happen in CA.

I do think that the reason it passed is so that it can make its way to the Supreme Court and be slapped down once and for all.

The religious zealots must be feeling pretty insecure in their own marriages to think that this is an assault on them and their ownership of a civil right.

At different times we have thought that "separate but equal" i.e. civil unions were just dandy and that the tyranny of the majority justified inequality. Well the tyranny of the majority was something that the framers of the constitution tried to guard against and ultimately it does fail. Too bad that they never learn their lesson and that you have to wait for what you deserve.