Category Archives: same sex marriage

So goes the nation

            You know which state gets a bad rap?  I mean, other than South Dakota.

            Iowa. 

           All us people to the east and the west carry on as though Rembrandt was a New Yorker and Shakespeare lived in L.A.  We act as though the vast majority of Americans exist just to keep NASCAR in business, because really only the Northeast and the West Coast have any hope of social progress.

           Now, I’ve never been to Iowa, but I’ve seen Field of Dreams, so clearly I am an expert.  And I’m here to tell you that in some ways, Iowa has it all over California.  In no particular order: they have better snowmen, a lower cost of living, and a governor who was not the Terminator.

          And as of today, they treat all couples equally.  Let’s hope Iowa’s voters show they have more class than California’s in the years to come.

Photos of a rally

I am a straight Californian, and this is how I define a family:

(I even threw in a picture of me with Lilah…)

Our uncivil union

            I don’t believe in God, which I know probably makes a good number of you worry for my eternal soul.  Yet, for reasons never quite clear to me, a significant portion of my friends, online and off, are practicing Christians.  We disagree about something pretty enormous, but we somehow manage to like one another.  I suspect this is because we have two things in common: we acknowledge we don’t know everything and we are respectful of other people’s voices.

            That explains why we were able to have a productive discussion around here on Monday.  A discussion in which people, you know, listened to others with differing points of view.

            Religion is about truth.  A person who is committed to a particular sect must believe that her faith is the vessel of truth.  American civic life, however, is composed of truths in the plural.  It must encompass every belief set, giving space for a multitude of viewpoints.  This is why church and state work better kept far away from one another, because the state needs to leave room for many churches, not to mention us heathens.

            There is one glaring area in which church and state are hopelessly intertwined.  One area where my rabbi can execute a binding legal contract.  One area where it is impossible to separate the legal and the religious definition of the word.  The M-word.

            So, maybe it is time for the state to get out of the marriage business.  Instead of legally marrying people, maybe the government just needs to only offer civil unions to all couples.  If people want a religiously-defined marriage in addition, go for it.  But leave it to the religions to define their truths about marriage, while the legal contract is kept completely separate.

            That would lead to a much more civil union.

And happy Monday to you

            I have been trying to figure out why I am so devastated by the passage of Proposition 8.  I am – and this may come as a shock to some of you – not gay.  I have no openly gay relatives.  Sure, I have gay friends, but this amendment does not affect me personally.  I can sympathize with my friends, but I am still legally married, after all.  Yet, for some reason, the fact that a majority of my fellow Californians decided to take away a basic right from a group of people has me waking up at night.

            Actually, the baby has me waking up at night, but I am thinking about Proposition 8 while I am feeding her.

            Then I reread an old post of mine, and it hit me.  This amendment is about hate.  My fellow Californians have voted to amend the state constitution to include hate. 

            I may fear another Holocaust, but until this passed, I hadn’t really realized that people need hate.  It is just as human an emotion as love.  Now, I get it.  We simply cannot evolve ourselves or educate ourselves out of hating one another.  It makes us feel better for someone else to be lesser.  And, if hate is a basic human emotion, it means I have it, and it means my kids have it.  It means love cannot conquer all, or even very much.

Party pooper

            I am writing this shortly after the polls have closed here in California.  Across the country, my friends are rejoicing.  Facebook is a veritable confetti-fest of Obamalove.  With all the celebrating going on, I will not be surprised if there is a baby boom about nine months from now.

            And, yet, I want to cry.  Yes, I am relieved that the Reign of Terror is over.  I am pleased Sarah Palin will not be a (weak) heartbeat from the Oval Office.  I am hopeful that my next President will help save the planet for the little girl I am holding to my breast.

            But, as I type with my one free hand, I know she is not safe from bigotry and restriction.  I hope that, should she ever be in the awful position of needing an abortion, she will feel safe telling me.  And if she doesn’t, since it seems Prop 4 will pass here, she is going to have to tell me, anyway.  Of course, by that time, who knows how many more restrictions there will be on her right to choose?

            If she turns out to be a lesbian, she’s pretty screwed, too, since it looks like Prop 8 will pass, amending the state constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.  (I guess she’s also in trouble if she turns out to have a tendency towards polygamy.)  On the bright side, if she is a lesbian, she does greatly lessen her chances of an unwanted pregnancy.

            Americans voted for Obama because they are afraid, as well they should be.  I just wish their votes were a signal that they have put their bigotry behind them.

Addendum: I may have jumped the gun here.  Prop 4 may fail.  Fingers crossed.

Jacob worked another 7 years for Rachel

            When I met my husband, I was 21.  He was 19.  We were in college, with the four combined graduate degrees we would eventually earn just a glimmer in our eyes.  Neither of us was ready to move in together, let alone get married.

            We did not move in together when I was ready.  Besides being male, he is two years younger than I am, and he took his time.  But not as much time as he took getting ready to actually marry me.  By the time we married, we had been together almost seven years. 

            Maybe he wanted to be sure.

            The point here is that, when we were ready, we started planning a wedding.  We met with the rabbi, we chose flowers, I shopped for a dress, he registered for gifts, and we did premarital counseling.  A few weeks before the wedding, we went to the court building and got a license.  After the ceremony, we mailed it in with the rabbi’s signature to the proper authorities.

            The morning after we married, before we left for our honeymoon, we went to the bank to get a joint account.  When we returned from the honeymoon, I changed my name.  (I figured if I was going to have some man’s name, it might as well be a man I like, rather than my father.)  It took some phone calls, a trip to the DMV, and one surprisingly easy morning at the Social Security administration.

            It was all legal.  When we were ready to legally merge our lives, the government made it super-easy for us to do so.

            There is another story.  The story of a woman who waited 87 years to marry her sweetheart.  It’s not that they weren’t ready.  They were.  They tried several years ago to get married, but apparently the government was somewhat less supportive of their union than they were of mine with my husband.

            Other people, all around the country, were of the opinion that this marriage was a bad idea.  And, for some inexplicable reason, they got a say in the matter.  People who had never met them got to determine that they had no right to be married.

I had to wait for one man to be ready.  Del Martin had to wait for an entire state.  She died yesterday, leaving behind, at long-last, a spouse.  And a legacy of working to make sure other people would find it a little easier to get married.