So, on Tuesday the California Supreme Court upheld - narrowly, the analysts assure us - Proposition 8.
I'm not a lawyer, so I won't say too much about the decision itself. It may indeed be the case that the CaliSupremes can give the legal equivalent of a disingenuous shrug saying, "Hey, it's that wacky California constitution. What can you do?" and follow it with the sop of saying, "But you 18,000 couples? Good for you - you won the It's Not Retroactive Lottery!"
If that's the case, I hope, at the very least, that this will force people in that state to turn a magnifying glass to the entire Prop model, and give serious thought to just how broken it may be.
When it comes to non-legalese, however, I know where I stand. This. Stinks. On. Ice.
You can find most of my thoughts here, but one other thing occurred to me this week.
I've had it to fucking here with the comments like one I saw on board after story after discussion saying, in essence: "Hey, you gays - I'm a perfectly civilized gal/fella and progressive too - I support civil unions, and some of my best friends, yada-yada ... but marriage is the union of a man and a woman. It just is. So why can't you stop your yelling about rights and accept civil unions? Hey, it's the same, except for the name, and why are you being rude to me?"
I've got news for you, punkin.
Do you have the right to marry? I do. I'm a woman, married to a man. But my brothers and sisters who are in love with someone of their own gender can't. And that denies them a right they should have.
I've been told myself, and read, repeatedly, that there are good and honorable people there who simply can't accept that marriage is anything but a union between a man and a woman. Again and again the message seems to be that I should not defame those good and honorable people by getting mad at them and suggesting that they're wrong.
Folks, my mother is a good and honorable woman. But she believes marriage is just for heterosexuals. And she's wrong. And her belief is not good or honorable. I can love her - and I do, so much it hurts - but she is wrong, and her belief hurts humanity.
If you think they, or you, are being reasonable about this, try this on for size. Would you have counseled a black friend in 1958 Alabama to accept moving from the back of the bus to the middle of the bus, because "hell, it's all the same bus"? Would you have accepted that kind of advice yourself?
Alright. Now ask yourself this How would you feel if someone told you that you couldn't marry the man or woman you love? Would you accept a civil union for yourself and your loved one? Would you think you were being rude if you shouted to the rooftops that this was unfair to you and your beloved?
Words have power. Words are magic. And we - humans - are the masters of words.
What does that mean? It means nothing but the truth - that we make our world with our words. And that? Means that the institution of marriage is not anything except what we, as society, say it is.
It's not a law of physics. It's a law of the heart - something we made it, I point out, when we used the magic of language to introduce love into what had been, for centuries, primarily a business partnership between families, clans, or countries.
By denying the word 'marriage' to my lesbian and gay brothers and sisters (hey, it's just a word, why can't you be satisfied with "civil union" and leave "marriage" to the real folks?) you deprive them of powerful cultural magic, of cultural belonging, of belonging to humanity.
And it doesn't have to be that way. We have the magic to change it, to open our arms and create something better.
We can remake marriage to be inclusive, to be the cultural celebration of lifelong romantic-erotic-heart-and-body love and commitment between two people that it can be. And that will make us a better, kinder, stronger civilization.
Now, you may not believe in marriage at all. There are a lot of thoughtful people out there who believe its historical roots are so twisted and braided into gender/class oppression and the objectification of women that it's too damned broken to fix. (Sort of like the Prop model, but I digress.) Some of their arguments are pretty valid.
But as long as marriage is a central part of human culture, then we can and should do two things: make it a better institution, and offer it, word and deed, magic and reality, to every human who wants it.
What? God? Oh, yeah, god.
But keep your own mean magic language in your sanctuaries. Don't take words from the rest of civilization, especially when you didn't invent them. (What? You didn't know that marriage existed before Muslims, Baptists, Jews, et al?)
Don't believe for one moment that you can hoard that word, that sacrament, that right, to yourselves. You are on the losing side of the battle, punkin.