I’ve been trying to move on from Proposition 8, really; or at least I hoped to. It’s not been easy; there are lasting changes. In my extended family, there are now serious fissures to the point where legal documents have been changed and our holiday celebrations are probably not going to ever be what they once were. There’s probably no sense in focusing on that, though; it’s done and not by me.
I really have been trying to put it behind us in our personal lives and move on with it in our politically lives, but it's not happening; to put it behind us now seems to mean that it would merely be chasing us.
For example, the boys were with my dad the other day and my dad got into an argument with a LDS man about Prop 8. Goodness only knows how my dad can find a way into such debates with strangers but he’s a vocal advocate, and has never been the type of man to back away from the good fight. He heard this guy talking bad about our families, and my dad spoke up for us. I guess this guy eventually said that we are not a family, we are not married, that we are mentally ill, and that our boys wouldn’t be alive if not for a “real family”, and, sadly, I know this because that’s what Brian related to me about the incident. It’s tough to hold a calm face wile adsorbing something so horrible; thank goodness we were talking while I was driving. Brian also said this man said he loved us; that absolves the guy, huh? I’m sure it made him feel better, but what an awful lesson to teach about “love”.
We just talked about how silly some people can be. We talked again about how most families are like us in their love and dedication and daily life, but also how we’re different in the boy/girl ratio; he brought up how other families are different for their divorce, again, and we talked again about that…
For the first time, though, I had to really have a conversation with him about the people who don’t like our family’s difference. I couldn’t honestly deny that he heard right; he was sure of what he heard. Some people don’t think we’re a family, but, as I told him, we know what’s in our hearts and they do not.
This was probably the first time I had to go into the fact that adults can be cruel too, about anything. So far adults in his world have been above even the petty name-calling you’d see in 1st graders. They have only been friendly to him and us, as far as he knew. But that bit of innocence has been lost now and the fact that adults can be cruel and just for stuff like biological sex is now loose in his ever churning mind, as it is for too many children in this world.
Furthermore, I’m glad we have my father’s support but am troubled that grandpa didn’t get the boys out of there before such careless words for our family were used. You just cannot argue with most of the people who are against our rights without them saying something cruel about our families, and they’ll even feel they’re being civil while they do it. I wish I had talked about this with my dad before; I just assumed he knew what this battlefield was like and I shouldn’t have. It’s bizarre and maybe it was unexpected to my dad that they’ll ask for our civility and respect without giving it, nevertheless we still need to protect our kids and so I ended up having to have a strange talk with my parents. Fortunately they are some of our best friends as well as parents and they understood, but I hated to have to say that there are times to retreat from defending us.
I’m glad for once, though, to say Alan listens to such talk between adults as intently as he listens to being asked to clean his room. Though Brian pays close attention, I’m also glad to say he seems to regard this encounter like one would regard a crazy guy on the street yelling at a fire hydrant. But how long until one of our opponents goes beyond this point with our kids there, a point which is already well past common decency?
I’m back in defensive mode again, nonetheless. I’m feeling like this can’t be put behind us; as others have said, something has changed. From here on the pressure will only build as our families grow and make their way through the schools; it will build as our children marry your children. It will build until something breaks, but no one will stop fighting for their family, and maybe no one will stop fighting for a faith that another man's family should be legally less than theirs. I just worry when something gives, it won't be pretty.
Okay, I'm upset and I'm officially at the rambling point. But just consider the white powder incident, the burning of an anti-prop 8 sign, acts of vandalism on the anti-8 side. Consider words like this, from Ron Prentice, chairman of ProtectMarriage.com, meant to mislead minorities into fighting each other:
"Tragically, some opponents of Prop. 8 who claim to cherish tolerance and civil rights are unabashedly trampling on the rights of others. Protests and boycotts have taken place against a Hispanic restaurant owner in Los Angeles, African American religious leaders in the Bay Area, and a musical theater director in Sacramento, among many others."
For the record Mr. Prentice, free speech, marching in public streets, and even boycotts are not violations of your rights. You know that, though, don't you? This is just some PR game for you. You're not saying the civil rights movements of times past were conducted by those who "claim to cherish tolerance and civil rights" but were "unabashedly trampling on the rights of others" with their boycotts and protests, right? If we were to, say, vote to make your marriages illegal, you'd have a case, but this is just a shameful attempt to stoke hatred and get groups that have been traditionally held down to hold each other down.
I mean, just look at how ugly it is both when you zoom in and out. How does it find an end? And is this calming down or revving up? Wish I knew.