Saturday, April 07, 2012

Couple Filing Jointly

(An essay I wrote for advance publication on WFAE.ORG, Charlotte's NPR station, in opposition to the proposed amending of the state constitution during a Republican primary to ban gay marriage forever, even though it's outlawed already. They held a community forum on the event. Watch it here.)

I’ve been to a lot of places as a kid in an uncomfortable suit. Weddings, funerals, you know – formal affairs. And growing up educated in school by faded Highlights cartoons showing me and young Billy how America was founded on freedom and the rights for all, well, even as a kid something always struck me as odd and made me feel all itchy and uncomfortable when it was spoken aloud at church weddings.

Maybe it was the stuffy suit, but I don’t think so.

“By the power invested in me by the great State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, I now pronounce you husband and wife.”

Makes you sit right upright in a walnut pew, doesn’t it? New England is appropriate for this conversation. A cold place where puritans escaped to practice their faith, but whose banished upstarts led to the great Providence of me. While I enjoy the symbolism of my ancestral trajectory in matters of the Spirit, consider the young and too-tight tied me sitting there, amid the hymnal references and saint-stained windows, baffled at how a priest could suddenly be the mayor at a ribbon cutting ceremony.

We’re all arguing over the wrong thing here!

Problem is, you gave the priest the power in the first place. The issue is not how to define marriage, the issue before us is whether or not we want to destroy democracy. Corporations already operate the cogs of government, just look at how the Supreme Court heard these “people” talk and not you. Now the Church, in whatever cloth it chooses today, wants to actually legislate its banned behavior doctrine by scribbling on the state Constitution that gives you the very right not to listen to a single thing it says.

I’m sorry if that’s a bad old bee in your big-browed Easter Bonnet, and I frankly don’t care to hear about your bible babble or the inability of two rockets to make children. To be in favor of an amendment to existing law already banning same gender matrimony is overkill. Such overkill is based in hate, and not at all in practicing principals of universal love found in any Savior’s heart.

There are two marriages on the table here and nobody is seeing that – the one the Church performs as sacrament and the one the State sees as a stamp of approval by some Justice of the Peace. This approving stamp, however, does not require the former but can in fact be performed by the State.

We want the one the State sees, thank you, and we’ll find a pretty little chapel later.

For over two decades I have loved and shared my life with my partner, companion, significant other – any euphemism you so choose, but whose role in my life is most definitely spouse. Our home is lovely, we invest in society jointly. Our family recognizes us as such. So do our friends and neighbors. For this, I want to check one little box.

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