IN MY OPINION
WHAT IF THEY GAVE A DEMONSTRATION....
15 February 2007
...and nobody came...?
I cry every year. And I'm not even the one trying to get a marriage license. The stories are so heart-wrenching, as couple after couple goes up to County Recorder Freddie Oakley to attempt to get a marriage license.
They know they aren't going to get marriage licenses, but each year they put themselves through being told once again that they are not worthy to be like the rest of the country.
We're not talking young activists here; we're talking people who have been together for 10, 20, 30 or more years. People whose partners are not permitted to remain in this country because they cannot gain permanent residency, people facing retirement age, who cannot make legal arrangements that their life partner will be cared for in the event of some catastrophic illness on the part of either of them.
I even know gay people who steadfastly say that "marriage is for a man and a woman" and who feel I am crazy to continue to support Ellen and Shelly and all of the gay people I know who want to marry. But I think that people need to think of "marriage" apart from the mere act of being in love and to whom you are attracted physically.
Gay people who cannot marry cannot enter into the legal contract which grants them more than 1,000 federal rights and even more state rights. "Civil Unions" grant a small fraction of these to domestic partners, but equal should be "EQUAL," not sorta kinda equal in some respects. It's the "separate but equal" argument all over again, and we all know how successful that was.
Every year I repeat the same thing in my head: "It's not right. It's not right. It's not right." This year Freddie Oakley decided that it was her year to "move from the back of the bus" and join the demonstrators in the most effective way she felt was possible, by passing out the certificates, which she printed at home on her own computer, at her own expense.
The anti-gay marriage crew was expected to be out in full force to protest the actions of Oakley. I got to the courthouse an hour early so I could get a parking place where I didn't have to worry about getting back to move the car. I was surprised that the only evidence that anything was happening was the anti-gay-marriage van that is always there.
(I'm still not sure what 9/11 has to do with either Sodom and Gomorrah or same sex marriage!)
There didn't seem to be anybody around but couples wanting to get married and a large number of reporters, both print media and TV reporters, now familiar faces from previous years, particularly Deborah Hoffman of News10, who sometimes seems more like a participant than a reporter.
At the appointed hour, people started going into the office, where Freddie sadly told each couple she was not permitted to give them a marriage license.
Instead she filled out a "certificate of inequality" which she presented to each couple.
Last year a handful of people attempted to get married. This year, everyone wanted to be supportive of Freddie, so there was an actual line of couples asking for marriage licenses.
These women are explaining how if one of them were to become ill, they would lose their home of 15 years because it would have to be sold and the new assessment would be so astronomical they could not afford the taxes, a situation which would not occur with Walt and me, for example.
I kept waiting for the protesters to show up, as they did last year, but there didn't seem to be anybody outside demonstrating. However, when I left the building and got to the corner, in front of the Courthouse, I found a very small group of people holding signs.
I love the sign (which everyone seemed to have) which read "Everyone has an equal right to Marriage. Just follow the rules."
"The rules," of course, means you can marry someone of the opposite gender. I just wonder how many of those people could so easily switch their gender attraction if, for example, it became the rule that only gay people could marry. Sure--it's easy. Just fall in love with another man and we'll marry you.
How ridiculously insensitive people can be.
These protesters know how to work the media, though. As the TV cameras came out, the few that lined the path to the recorder's office all massed together on the front steps, where it looked like they were a much larger crowd.
So another Valentine's Day has come and gone, the 5th that Freddie has had to refuse a marriage license to Ellen and Shelly. Someone told me she missed my wedding cake this year (I've brought a wedding cake for this event for the past couple of years). I told her that I would try to bring one next year. 'Cause you know there is going to be another year when we have to go through this all over again.
If you're so inclined, and especially if you are into food, check out this web site, which is the site for my daughter-in-law's cousin, who is trying to attract the Food Network.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
This is entry #2513