Years ago, Good Enough Mother put herself through college by working as a waitress at TGI Friday’s in Sacramento, California. It was a profound learning experience in so many ways; I was living on my own, responsible for my own bills, you know that type of stuff. That was also the year I met my first gay person. Okay maybe not the first but definitely the first who was out, proud and unashamed to be living with her partner and being true to herself.
I consider myself pretty enlightened now but back then I was a wet-behind-the-ears college freshman with a whole lot of living to do. One night I went to Lesley’s apartment for a party. As I headed to the bathroom, I caught a glimpse of their bedroom, the one with JUST ONE BED! Gasp! That means that they actually slept together in that bed! I’m not sure what I thought I was going to see exactly; maybe I expected the ol’ Dick van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore set-up with twin beds but that was not the case. Yep, there was no denying it, these women actually slept together. And perhaps even, wait for it, had S-E-X!
My thought process was absurd I know and the more I got to know Lesley, I came to realize we shared so many things in common. We both hated our jobs, fought with our respective partners, fretted over money and had big plans for our futures that included settling down and marrying special someone. That was really only a viable option for one of us back then.
There are some in my home state of California who want to permanently keep people like Lesley and her partner from enjoying the same protections under the law as straight couples. To that end they proposed and passed Proposition 8, which made gay marriage illegal. And there it sat, until yesterday when Judge Vaughn Walker ruled it was unconstitutional.
Maybe this issue is so important to this straight, African American woman because there was a time, not so long ago where rights afford us as TAXPAYERS under the law were denied to people like me. There was a time, as I told Cole, in the not so distant past, where black people couldn’t marry the person they fell in love with if they happened to be a different color. When I shared that with him I could see him struggle to get his head around something so odd. He looked at me like I had a third eye and said “WHY?” “Because people were afraid. They were afraid of what they didn’t know.” Sort of like now.
When I put this on my Facebook page the majority of the responses were positive. But I got one or two from people who said homosexuality is a sin and that’s why a ban should stay. I replied with the fact that not everyone is a Christian; therefore that logic and belief system is moot to them. But I do find it interesting, as a Christian, how the Bible, throughout history, has been used so many times to support injustice – a trend highlighted in the documentary For The Bible Tells Me So.
I have tried to take a closer look at and debunk the arguments I hear with regard to gay marriage:
- PEOPLE CHOOSE TO BE GAY: You’re kidding right? Come on. I cannot remember the exact day I woke up and realized I liked boys; it just happened and it was as natural as breathing. My gay and lesbian friends say the same thing. They knew early on and it is so NOT a choice. It is who they are.
- THIS IS NOT A CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE: REALLY? Prop 8 denies people the right to marry who they choose, domestic partnerships don’t go far enough and the choice of a marriage partner is protected under the constitution. If those things are denied, it IS a civil rights issue.
- SAME-SEX PARENTING IS BAD FOR KIDS: Well not according to Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics which found adolescent children of lesbians rated significantly higher in social, school/academic and total competence and significantly lower in social problems, rule breaking, aggressive behavior. Guess that one goes out the window.
- SAME SEX MARRIAGE WILL WEAKEN TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE: HUH? How so?
At the end of the day, I want for Richard and Roger, Gayle and Mary, Mark and Russ, Jim and Kelly, John and Mark, all of my gay and lesbian friends what I want for myself. The right to be protected under the law, to live freely and love and marry whoever they damn well please. And when it becomes the law of the land, make sure my invitation is in the mail. I love you all and am proud to call you my friends!
I’m going to close with this piece of video. Say what you will about Keith Olberman but I think he sums this issue up perfectly. I welcome comments and rational debate but I will not tolerate shouting or name-calling. If you can comment within those parameters, I’d love to hear what you have to say!