doma, prop 8, kanye shrug

As I sit here in the early light of morning in my underwear and t-shirt with my girlfriend, who is sipping her tea from a rainbow cup in the beautiful home that we live in together with our dog and cat, I laugh in my head and think “This is so gay.” And it is. I’m living in the afterglow of what can only be described as an incredible time to be a homo in history – the overturning of Prop 8 and DOMA by the Supreme Court. I smile at the thought of people I know and love who have been waiting for this moment for such a long time, but like the millennial I am, I start to wonder how this affects me.

And then I realize it doesn’t.
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I have absolutely zero desire to get married in the way that many folks do, therefore I’m like, “Oh, okay, so…”

People are excited, saying things like “Your equality is coming,” but I have to question…what if my idea of equality has nothing to do with marriage?

I was engaged once before. Before I had come out of the closet, before I had heard the term patriarchy, I was engaged. I went through the motions of planning, even taking the time to think about who would “give me away” at the end of the aisle, and finally deciding that both my birth father and stepfather who had raised me would be on each of my arms. I now think about that act and shudder – the father giving the daughter away is a clear line that can be traced back to the giving of property, as marriage used to be viewed. I just don’t think it is “cute” anymore, I think it’s gross.

I don’t fully understand the premise behind marriage as an institution. We work so hard to have separation of church and state, yet this issue is a complete mash-up of the two. Since when did I need the permission of a state to do something created by the church?

If we’re talking about the equality I’m striving for, it’s to be let into that church without being shunned; the thought of being married in it or by it barely crosses my mind. And to those who will ask “But my marriage is secular, I had a friend get ordained online and we did the ceremony outside!” I have to remind you that you had someone be ordained. That means a recognition by the church of what you’re doing. It’s just not as secular as you think. And if you’re skipping all the shit and going to the courthouse and being married by a Justice of the Peace, you’re actually doing it in the secular. But I still just can’t get down with marriage. It’s rubbed me the wrong way for so long that I don’t know if it can ever move into the right.

The ceremony, the giving of the woman to the man, the whole thing just isn’t something that I want. It also isn’t something that a good amount of my gay friends don’t want, either. I am someone who is fine celebrating my love with my partner by living in it every day. If, by twist of fate, one of us decides to be pregnant or adopt, or one of us falls ill, then I can wrap my head around a civil union. I can understand gaining the rights of “partner” so that we can make legal decisions together. But when it comes down to it, I don’t understand it.

Sometimes, I look at her and I think “I want everyone that I know and love to stand in a room and listen to me tell them why I love her; why I’ve chosen her,” but then I think “That’s a bit narcissistic.” And then I wrestle with myself and the internal struggles of what’s really going on, and I’m left writing things like this.

People think that the only gay struggle is our fight to get married. But if there are people out there like me who don’t have a plan to get married, what am I fighting for?

I’m fighting for the right to be an open, welcomed member of my congregation globally. I’m fighting for people to understand that no matter your sexuality (but inherently so in the LGBTQ community) that you can be considered a family without the traditional title that the government or church gives you. I’m fighting to make sure that LGBTQ peoples feel safe when they enter a bar, a restaurant, or any shared, common public space. I’m fighting to ensure that those who have a family but aren’t white are able to do so safely, and possibly with a damn ability to vote, can live their lives with equal protections of the law, thankyouverymuch. I believe that there are issues that are just as pressing, if not more, than the ability to have an event such as a marriage take place to make me feel equal. And you might not agree, and that’s fine! This is my personal opinion. We’re all allowed those – that’s something that was fought for earlier, remember? But keep in mind that instead of assuming all gay people want to be married, you could ask them as an ally what they want. You can ask them what issues they find most important. You can ask them how you can champion their cause without grandstanding it. We’re always looking for help from the allied community in all spaces of our lives (well, not the bedroom, sorry) and all it takes is a little “What can I do? How can I help?” Come and ask me. Let me cook you dinner. I make tasty greens. We can chat. Just let me know.

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3 thoughts on “doma, prop 8, kanye shrug

  1. I think what you have written is awesome because there is always more to something than a simple nod from the government that it is ok. I think the media focuses on marriage so that is what most people associate gay rights with. Although I do think it is an important step because I read so much about gay partners having no legal rights when someone is ill or when children are involved. But I do agree that it is only one part of bringing true acceptance into the world

  2. “I don’t fully understand the premise behind marriage as an institution. We work so hard to have separation of church and state, yet this issue is a complete mash-up of the two. Since when did I need the permission of a state to do something created by the church?”

    Except marriage wasn’t created by the church. It is the oldest human institution, predating the church by several millennia, and the church didn’t regard it as a sacrament before the 12th century. It has always been a legal covenant, not a religious one. Atheists marry one another. So do Buddhists, Muslims (up to four spouses for a man), Pagans, Wiccans and all sorts of others. Granted, the deputizing of ministers (and ship’s captains) to fill in for a justice of the peace in a religious ceremony by the government has created a muddled view of what marriage is and isn’t in our culture. You are young. You shouldn’t have to do anything you don’t want to do, but you deserve to have the same choices everyone else does. As a gay man somewhat older than you are, I am grateful to be living in this moment because I CAN chose to be married and have the several thousand governmental benefits that come with that status accrue to my relationship.

  3. I think the biggest thing for me and my girlfriend, beyond that I have a deep desire to be married, not for what it used to be, but for what we want it to be (a big ole bag of love), is the legal rights that come along with a recognized marriage. The sharing of income and taxes, fewer hoops when buying joint property, the ability to make medical decisions for her if she is in the hospital, the ability to SEE her and knew what is going on if she is in the hospital, the ability to adopt (though as a single gay person, that’s illegal where I live), etc.

    One of my good friends was telling me the other day that even though she has medical power of attorney, her wife’s mother could have her removed from a hospital room because she isn’t seen as a legal part of the family. Suck city.

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