The blog’s been fallow for a little while. The every day dramas that keep us from doing the things we set out to do when we aren’t working or living have kept me busier than usual.
Last night, North Carolina voters decided to approve measure that would make same-sex marriage verboten by that state’s constitution. For the weeks leading up to the vote, I’d seen arguments on both sides of the issue. Friends of mine took to Facebook to help support people in North Carolina fight for equality. My job typically keeps me quiet on these type of issues, and I tend to keep my politics out of the way.
But last night, as I read comments in my social media feeds after North Carolina voters approved the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, I became angry, depressed and unsure what to make of the day’s events.
It continued as my partner and I got into bed last night, a nagging feeling that this might be the big setback to us being treated as equals. In the past few years, there had been so many moves to treat LGBT individuals and couples the same as our straight friends and relatives. This vote, far away from my home in Texas, bothered me more than I expected. My brain wouldn’t shut down.
Sure, there’s the thousands of “freedoms” that marriage grants couples that gay couples cannot enjoy without a lawyer or a ton of extra paperwork.
But it kept coming back to the idea that someone out there hated my love for my partner so much that a constitutional ban on that love needed to be enacted. That someone’s hatred for me would prevent me from seeing my partner in a hospital at his time of need. That someone’s hatred for me would cause no end of suffering in our lives in ways that that person had no concept of.
I thought about friends of mine whose spouses serve in the military openly now, but still can’t be given the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts when it comes to benefits if they are killed in the line of duty.
I thought about friends of mine who have adopted children who have had to go through all sorts of hoops to start a family despite laws the make it difficult or prohibit them from doing so.
This morning that vote still bothered me. For me, it’s not about marriage, it’s about being treated with the same respect as straight couples.
Sure, I’ve been fortunate. My partner’s family has welcomed me wholeheartedly. I work for a company that is progressive enough to extend us domestic partner benefits. My friends are supportive of us, to the point that one of my dear friends explained to her kids that using “gay” as a negative isn’t cool and used my partner and I as an example of how gay people are.
But the thing is, my relationship with my partner, now heading toward its eighth year, is not seen as the same as my married friends. At any point, a hospital in my state can keep me from seeing my partner. Depending on where we travel in the country, our relationship is considered illegal and punishable.
When I woke up this morning, I cuddled closer to my sleeping partner. I’d honestly do anything for him. We’ve settled into our routines as all couples do. We found our boundaries. We laugh. We squabble. We cook dinner. We travel on vacation.
There’s nothing that makes us any different than our married friends.
Except our relationship is unwelcome in a lot of places just because we are both men.