We moved back to Utah, just in time to find a law passed that made it so only single gay men could adopt, not couples. With great emotional and regular effort, we fought our way past that to become parents. After we welcomed our boys into our home, there were then about three anti-marriage, anti-civil union laws passed in our state, pushed by LDS, and meant to make sure we had no "marriage-like" rights as a couple. We went up to the capitol on each to beg. Each time we were met with indifference or worse. Then we had our Amendment 3 which constitutionally took away all marriage rights and civil unions. Each time those laws passed handily, in the name of God, or family, or even marriage. Each time it was a kick in the head. Each time we regrouped and moved on.
Now Proposition 8 has passed, 52 to 48, and we may be once again without legal rights as a couple anywhere in the US, save those measly agreements a man could have with, say, his attorney. It is again difficult to take, and admit the world isn't what it should be and that this country isn't really the place where all have equal protection under the law. It's just tough to wrap your head around it.
I understand how it passed, though. I think the pro-prop 8 camp summed it up:
"We caused Californians to rethink this issue," Proposition 8 strategist Jeff Flint said. Early in the campaign, he noted, polls showed the measure trailing by 17 points. "I think the voters were thinking, well, if it makes them happy, why shouldn't we let gay couples get married. And I think we made them realize that there are broader implications to society and particularly the children when you make that fundamental change that's at the core of how society is organized, which is marriage," he said.He's greatly right; we were going to keep equality under Ca state law, and their ads, backed by an influx of so much LDS money, did make a lot of good intentioned Californians "rethink the issue." Mr. Flint, though, didn't get people to "realize that there are broader implications"; he got people to fear us, their neighbors, to fear that we wanted to hurt their rights, to fear ghosts and mirages of "broader implications". He got them to believe they are the victim. Unfortunately, the lies worked, from the Boston Catholic Charities case to closing down LDS temples. They got the public to believe our case was about something as insipid as making gays "happy" or wanting "social acceptance", and convinced them that separate but equal isn't the oxymoron it inevitably is in law. Simply, let me say it again, they won by lies for which there should be guilt, no two ways about it (but how can you feel guilt about lying while doing God's work, right? ;-)).
The "fundamental core" of society here has been debased, not supported. Sacrifice, family, love and dedication are all made into a legal second class if the anatomy is off, and that sends a message that marriage isn't important to give to some families. Also they've set a precedence of putting into their constitution a retraction of and limitation on personal rights. All should be worried the tools they brought to the legal playing field are going to now find wider use, but I'm pretty sure they aren't worried right now.
Mr. Flint is also right about the broader implications for children, though wrong on which children he's worried about. Marriage doesn't make our children pop into existence, but treating our families like subordinates will hurt many children, and those for Prop 8 will still have to face the fact that their child will go to school with mine and learn that homosexuality is out there. What's worse for them is that their children will learn what their parents did to their friends' families. When the moral tide rises, and it is undeniably rising, even their children won't be buying what they're selling, and they'll be regarded as, say, I regard my well-intentioned, though undeniably bigoted grandmother.
Anyway, et cetera, et cetera, right?
I'm writing this now while my family sleeps. I don't want to be the one to tell this to my husband, but I will be. I don't want our kids to see the worry on my face. So I'm going to focus on what we have.
My family has lost a lot of battles, but I'll still start my day with my husband's embrace. I'll be greeted with our children's smiling faces. Family is simply stronger than "pro-family" groups can understand, and we'll find another way, if we need to. Nothing makes our inevitable victory in the face of so many lost battles seem more inevitable than the thought of the three of them.
What's better is that Brian is going to wake up and find his guy won; Barack Obama will be the next president. We have lost battles, but just think of how many battles the African American community has lost, how many times they felt beat down and were literally beat down. Today a man from their community, and apparently a great man (my distrust for politicians notwithstanding), is set to be the leader of the free world.
I am overwhelmed with a joy that dulls the sorrow for my family when I think of how that may feel to the African American who went through those tough time and thought this day would and could never come in the US. I am happy my boys will grow up with the first president they really know being a minority, and I hope this signals the death of much of our racist past.
I'm awake this morning in pain and bruised, but still proud of the US, even if our greatest ideals remain unrealized for some families, for my family. We will get there.