I've got a dentist appointment today and so I'm working from the home office this morning. Rob just got back from a walk, came in here looking serious and asked, "What are we doing here?"
He had been listening to the "Mormon's and Proposition 8" program done by Radio West. I recommend it, if only to hear the Evergreen International representative use this easily debunked argument against marriage equality (you can listen here).
We went to the kitchen and talked about it.
What are we doing here?
My initial response: Well, we were born here. That's not as flippant as it sounds. Utah is in our blood, damn it, from our regional accents to our culture. We're the product of polygamists, handcart pushers, Bishops, and teetotalers. We love our funeral potatoes, our broad Brigham Young streets, and our amazing landscapes. We are carriers of the gene for Utahn, for better or worse.
Of course, seriously, we are here also because all our family and friends are here. We have a lot of support here, concentrated in a shell around us in a sea of passive-aggressive and outright aggressive hostility. I'm glad to say my parents, now retired, have said they'd move where we move as they are very important people to our boys and to us, but there's much more in family and friends to consider.
Our home is paying a great deal in health insurance, as we have to have two different policies; we could fix that if we moved. Eh, there's a lot of things a move could fix (though only on a state level, unless we became, say, Canadians). It'd be nice to not have to worry as much about dying in, say, a car crash, before I can transfer enough money to my spouse (we are limited to a minimum by a "gift" tax each year). Rob could feel more secure knowing he'd be treated as my family in a tragedy; I could relax too.
I know I'd like to live out my life where I was born, but I don't want to die here, in Utah, not without legal marriage for my family. It's funny, when you're young you fear death; now you fear what death means for your family, and we could soften the possible blow if we moved.
Rob thinks we may be obligated to our children to move. Maybe we are. There are benefits for them in both choices as well though. From family interaction to cultural hostility to inheritance law. It's complicated and, while we understand the legal problems, we don't really know if they will have social trouble here or not; so far so good.
We're also obligated to strangers here, aren't we? There are gay kids coming out every day here and what happens if the gay families move out? We keep losing leaders and activists here to friendlier jurisdictions. Do we owe it to those who couldn't take it and couldn't see any options and took their lives here to stay and fight? Of course, I should outright admit I'm still eager to fix this unfixable demon. Maybe it's time to surrender the old fight. Can we justify a cut and run by saying we have to think of ours first? It feels like an excuse, but is it?
I think of our boys and I know Utah is seeping into them too. Maybe we should move before they feel their roots are down here, before they are Utahns. Maybe now's the time if there is a time, before they have a huge social network of friends. We can become strangers in a strange land and they can learn to be Californians, or Canadians, or, heck, even Spaniards in their heart.
These things are just too difficult to measure. I think of harms we (they) may face and the emotion of it is tough to hold back, but know I can't feel it right now. Measure twice and cut once and then get all emotional, right :-)?
We left it with a long and much needed hug and a "we'll see what California does," but in all it may not matter. The reality is that my husband is fed up with our home state and the LDS church, he's worried about our family here, and he has reason for both. In the end, when it all comes down to it, we'll each be all the measurement the other needs. We'll see.