14 Years for Marriage Equality
I remember the last time this happened in a significant way for me. The Knight Initiative, Prop 22 in 2000. In California. Again.
I was Co-President of Seattle University’s Triangle Club at that time. I remember lobbying so hard and sending so many emails and having so many conversations and attending so many meetings. And trying. Just trying with everything I had to will that Proposition to go down in a ball of flames. There was no Facebook then. No red profile pictures to spread the word. So we rallied and wrote things and made impassioned pleas wherever we could. We wrote to politicians and friends and held debates.
I really thought we could stop it. We didn’t.
And you know what? I was crushed.
The outcry in my immediate circle was loud and angry. My own reaction was quiet and seething: a kind of betrayal that hurt from the inside out. I did not have anything personally at stake. It did not affect me directly. What it did was make me realize that marriage, as it stands in this country, as a legal arrangement, as a contractual agreement with the government, has nothing to do with love.
Instead I saw it for what it was: a discriminatory, exclusionary institution desperately in need of an overhaul.
Sal and I have remained unmarried* for these 14 years and I don’t often speak about the reason, but it has everything to do with my refusal to enjoy the benefits of a club that many of my closest friends are not allowed to join. Until marriage is truly equal, it will remain difficult for me to stomach the idea of participating.
Obama’s inaugural address did give me a flicker of hope, but words are not always indicative of actions. For my part, I’m here to say I’m with you, keep fighting, let’s do this.
In the meantime, let’s hope California does the right thing this time around.
And that someday soon everyone will enjoy the right to marry. When that happens – and I believe it will happen in my lifetime – I plan on throwing one hell of a party. It may well double as my very own wedding.
*Since last spring when I clicked a button on a cell phone, Sal and I are “Facebook married”. It was sort of an unplanned social experiment and it’s an awesome sociological lesson in simulacra but that’s a whole separate post. For now it’s just a good story to tell at parties.