Saturday, April 04, 2009

Way to go, Iowa

I am celebrating tonight, for my friends who are not like me.

I've laid it out for you before. I'm married. Never strayed, not even once, even though I work in an industry once dubbed "spring break for grown ups." I will cop to the occasional impure thought, but those don't really count, since 9 times out of 10, I tell MrG about them.

I like boys, always have. And I was lucky enough to marry one nine years and nine months ago. Most of the time I like him pretty well, and sometimes, I like him a whole damn lot. Never tried the girl thing. And although I love some women dearly, they are friends to me, not sexual objects over which I obsess.....

But I have friends who fall in a different demographic. None of them are in what I consider the Lady Steele Inner Circle, although there are a few pretty damn close. In other words, I do not have a vested emotional interest in this - my best friend, my brother, my uncle, my aunt - none of these are affected by the current marriage laws in our country. I have no axe to grind here, I promise.

But I do have friends who are affected, and for them, I am happy tonight.

Iowa has become either the third or fourth state to recognize gay marriage. I say it that way, because it depends on how you view California - they were in, but now they are out. Either way, folks of the other sexual persuasion can now make their unions legal in the fine state of Iowa.

So why does this matter to me, Lady Steele, whitebread heterosexual that I am?

I happen to believe, with every cell in my being, that folks don't just choose to be gay. I don't think that anyone suddenly decides one day to rock the boat and that the best way to do it is to crave the love and attention of someone of the same gender. Who wants that for themselves, really?

Thank God I ended up straight, because I remember being in first grade or Kindergarten and having it B.A.D. for a cute red headed boy named Billy. Really hasn't changed much in 35 or so years, and I am thankful every day that I am wired the "right" way and that society doesn't judge me for my taste in mates and sexual partners, (The Boy) notwithstanding.

I have a friend who lost her daughter after she and her partner split up. Because of adoption laws in Texas, my friend and her partner had to choose one parent as the legal delegate when they adopted their daughter. And despite the fact that my friend went through the exact trials and tribulations that her partner went through - diaper changes, teething, first steps, rotavirus - my friend lost all legal ties to her daughter when she and her partner split up.

Common decency dictates that my friend's ex keeps her in her daughter's life, but Texas law does nothing. So my friend, who has the distinct disadvantage of having chosen a total raving bitch as a partner, now has no legal ties to the daughter she raised as her own for 4 years. She is as much of a parent as the other woman, but because the other woman's name was the only one recognized by the law, my friend finds herself alone without any rights. And her daughter? She finds herself without one of the the women she called Mommy.

I have other friends who are same sex couples whose lives are inexorably challenged by their sexual orientation. One male friend has a partner who is having some health challenges. They have been together for years - ten or more. And yet, my friend, who is closer to his partner than anyone else on this planet, has absolutely no say whatsoever in his significant other's care. He doesn't have the right, according to Texas law, to make decisions about his partner's health care. And if things go south, he doesn't have any right at all to be in the room with is partner in the event of a critical health situation.

Did my friend wake up one day and decide he'd mess with his mom by liking boys? No, he knew very young - elementary school - that girls were not his cup of tea. Did he think he'd just piss off the cool kids at school by ignoring the girls and hitting on the boys? Nope, my friend is who is he is. He likes boys. And he was lucky enough to find one. And they've been together for the entire time that I've known them - more than a decade. They've bought a home together (more than one, actually), built a life together, they've attended church together. They are a family, as much as me and MrG and LittleG.

And yet, we heterosexuals, climb up on our high horses and call these guys sinners and condemn their "lifestyle" like it was some type of choice they made just to lash out at society.

What the heck difference does it make to me, as a heterosexual female, if two men choose to be together? Does it somehow affect my marriage, my relationship? I think not.

You can stand on your scripture, if you so choose, for your proof that homosexuality is wrong. I'll give you that. If you're going to go that route, I encourage you take a good long look at the other things that the bible says are wrong - who among us hasn't coveted a neighbor's lawn/new car/new TV/fabulous wardrobe/perfect children?

Who hasn't lied, stolen, cheated? In the eyes of biblical law, we are all sinners. So it's not just the gay folks who are rocking the boat. It's any red blooded heterosexual who cheats on his wife, or the woman who desperately wants her best friend's Dooney & Bourke bag, or the couple who lies to their family about how happy they are. It's your neighbors, and your friends, and the folks you're related to. If you say a homosexual couple has an effect on my marriage, it's got to count for the heterosexual sinners, too.

Keith Olbermann said it very well last fall here: Thank you, Keith

I can assure you that no other couple straight or gay, has any effect whatsoever on my relationship with MrG.

And they shouldn't on yours, either, whether you are gay or straight. What goes on in someone else's mind or bedroom has no bearing on your life or the sanctity of your union.

So I'm so excited tonight, to see that Iowa has jumped into the fray by recognizing gay marriage. It is going to be terribly unpopular here in my heterosexual Texas life, to put a big fat check mark on the work of the Iowa legislature, but I'm going to do it anyway.

So, I'm sorry Mom, for putting this out there. I know this is likely to cause you some psychic pain.

But for you, Nora, Mauri, Jeff, Kim, Bill, Bill, Paul, Mike, and others, I am so damn glad for you. Our families matter. All of them. And it's about damn time that the government recognizes it.


Lindsey said...

Way to go Lady Steele - I happen to totally agree! I think we should remember gay straight bi - red or yellow, black or white - they are precious in his sight - OH My I just said something religious (don't tell Joyce) any way we are all humans and should remember we should treat them as such.

Clarissa said...

Uhmm - Lent isn't over - you have let every god fearing person down and me - okay maybe just me. I will wait and wait and probably wait more to see if you can post something today!

Chad and Mary Kate Martin said...

Thank you for typing out the words that swirl in my brain on this subject! I shouted a big HECK YEAH in your honor. Well done my friend. Well done.