This week started out with a thump!
Tuesday’s decision from the California Supreme court felt like a giant thump to my heart and psyche. How could California – the bastion of progressive thinking, legally create not only a second class (a group of same sex couples whose marriages remain legal) but a third class (all the rest of the same sex couples who can now no longer marry) of citizens in one huge step backward? . How could this state I love treat so many lives with such utter disregard? This and many other questions have plagued me this week. The biggest is….
What could same sex marriages possibly do to opposite sex marriages? I just don’t get it. How could my being married to the woman I love hurt any one else’s marriage? When a man looks into the eyes of his beloved wife is his love diminished or his marriage hurt because somewhere else another man looks into the eyes of his beloved husband? Is any woman’s sacred marriage broken because somewhere another woman is making the same vows of love, honor and respect to her new wife?
I was reminded over and over all week that change is happening and that as change becomes immanent, things often get worse before they get better. (Something I would have known in a heartbeat when I was sitting in my therapy office and somehow seem to have forgotten since I left it.) I was reminded of history – that California was the first state to legalize interracial marriages in 1948 and it took the US Supreme court to make it legal in the last 13 states in 1967. That within the past 20 years gay pride events in the California heartland have been met by members of the KKK in full robes and hoods. That in 1982 the Equal Rights Amendment was stopped 3 states short of ratification and that it has been reintroduced in each session of Congress since but has been held in committee – and HAS NEVER PASSED! (Sometimes i worry that we all think “we have come a long way baby” and forget that the ERA never made it into the constitution and thus never became part of the law of the nation.)
Yesterday Lann and I went to Fresno with approximately 3,000 other folks from all over California and several other states as well. The crowd was mixed – young and old, queer and straight, every race and ethnicity was represented. Many believe that we lost the fight over Prop 8 – the election not the legal battle -because we failed to speak to the voters in the middle of the state – people in places like Fresno. The message of the March and Rally was clear – this is a fight for our civil rights and to win it we must come out and tell our stories. We must become storytellers and let middle California and middle America know who we are. We must remind people that we live next door to each other, our children go to school together, we go to church together, and we go to work together. We all just live and love and work and do our regular lives and that there really is no us and them -it is all just US and there is nothing to be afraid of.
So here is my proposal – let’s a little or knit a little or weave a little and tell our stories to one another.
“Let us be the change we want to see in the world” Gandhi