Last year on June 17th Lann and I went to SF City Hall with our priestess/minister and friends to be married. It was a historic day for California – the first day it was legal to be married as a same sex couple. It was a historic day for us in more ways than one – it happened to be our 26th anniversary. We joined hundreds of other couples – many like us could count their time together in decades rather than days or weeks. Many had children in their arms or gathered around them. All were happy beyond measure. There were tears and laughter and stories told while we waited in line to get married – something heterosexual couples have been able to do without question. We got our marriage license and then went upstairs to the beautiful rotunda to be married under the watchful eyes of the bust of Harvey Milk (Harvey – we so wished you could have been with us all that day and we knew that you were with us in spirit! What a glorious celebration you would have made it). We signed our marriage agreement in Harvey’s presence and then filed it with the city of SF and state of CA. (We left later that morning for Oregon and the Black Sheep Gathering where we heard from many that our wedding had been on the national news – we still have never seen the footage!)
Today I am waiting – almost holding my breath to see what will happen on Tuesday, May 26. The California Supreme Court has announced that it will deliver its decision about our right to remain married this coming Tuesday. It seems incomprehensible to me that they could take away our right to be married. Lann and i are “married” and will remain so (just as we were “married” long before the state made it legal to do so – we handfasted on our 7th anniversary and would be considered common law in most states if we were straight.) I almost can’t imagine that they could do anything but uphold our right to be married. But then I felt that way before the election last November and I was sorely disappointed and distressed when a simple majority of the citizens of this state said no – we don’t believe in your right to marry. Some part of me believes it isn’t personal – but it feels very personal to me. Why shouldn’t I have the same rights as anyone else?
I have been listening to Playing for Change – and in the words of one song – “You can blow out a candle but you can’t blow out a fire, once the flames begin to catch the wind will blow it higher” (from the song Biko by Peter Gabriel) – I want to feel hopeful, I want to believe that California will join the growing number of states that have legalized same sex marriage. I want to believe that change is coming but I am afraid to believe. Mostly I am afraid to be disappointed – it hurts so much!
I actually do believe that change is coming – it is just a question of whether it is coming here and now to California. The Courage Campaign organizers along with hundreds of other groups have called us to Meet in the Middle for Equality next Saturday . Hopefully we will all meet to celebrate the newly affirmed state of marriage in California. The party is set for Fresno – the middle of the state geographically. Fresno also represents the middle of the state in many ways politically as well and is a place where our queer brothers and sisters will need our support especially if same sex marriage is affirmed.
If Prop 8(HATE) is upheld and the rights of the gay and lesbian citizens of the state are stripped away (and possibly as many as 18,000 marriages annulled or unmade) we will meet in the middle to march in support of marriage equality and equal rights. Hopefully our justices have found a way to Meet in the Middle to support the rights of us all – gay and straight alike.
Either way – the party or the march is set for Fresno at noon. Lann and I will be there – please join us!