Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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No on Proposition 8, California

I'm at Susan's place for the weekend, and it's in a rather rural area compared to where I live. An old man, maybe 65 or so, just rang the doorbell. I grabbed Susan's two barking dogs by their collars to restrain them and then answered it. The following conversation ensued:

Him: Hi, I'm here with the Proposition 8 campaign.
Me: Are you for Yes on Proposition 8?
Him: Yeah.
Me: I really don't appreciate you doing this, because I want to marry my girlfriend.
Him: [wide-eyed, looking vaguely sympathetic and sort of impressed as if he'd never met a real live gay person before] . . . Oh.
Me: I really care about this.
Him: [silence]
Me: [shuts door]

Susan says my voice got extremely high-pitched when I was talking to him, as if I was about to completely lose it. I told her I was.

I've seen several annoying lines of argument on the Internet lately too, from heterosexuals who are planning or considering voting for Proposition 8. One said it isn't hurting anybody for her to vote for it because domestic partnership already provides the same legal rights and responsibilities as [state-supported, federally-unsupported] marriage anyway. But I really don't think most heterosexuals realize that the responsibilities are the same or think of it as having anywhere near the same degree of seriousness. So isn't it horribly unfair for us to take on all the same legal responsibilities and yet have most heterosexuals (including our relatives and so on) treat our legal contracts as having none of the same serious commitment that they actually have?

Another, who hadn't made up his mind how to vote yet, said he thinks that same-sex couples are rushing into marriages right now with no understanding of the potential legal ramifications of divorce because they haven't had to experience it before. To that I have two replies. First, domestic partnerships in California already do have the same legal ramifications; Susan is enduring them right now while she waits for her domestic partnership dissolution to be finalized. Second, this comment shows just how ignorant many heterosexuals are of the pressures that actually are driving same-sex couples to rush into marriages right now. How many heterosexuals find out on a random day in June that they have until the following November to marry whoever they're currently dating, and that if they don't marry that person before November, they may have to wait a decade or two or even forever to ever have that opportunity again? Do they have any idea what that's like? What are couples supposed to do who only just started dating in May or June but find that their relationships are going fantastically well and they really do want to get married, they just wouldn't do it a mere five or six months after they first started dating except that if they don't, they know they might lose the opportunity to marry at all? That is the situation that California same-sex couples find ourselves in. Except for Susan and me and others like us, because Susan's domestic partnership with her ex isn't going to be dissolved before November. It could have been dissolved long ago if she'd filed for it as soon as she moved out of her ex's place, but since she is not rich and did not have a lot of money to spare on a lawyer right away, and since she is kind-hearted and was not eager to deprive her ex of health insurance immediately, she postponed the filing for two years. Which is perfectly understandable and reasonable and should not be costing us what might be our only chance to legally marry each other. But it is costing us that, because of people like that man who rang our doorbell this morning.

One argument I actually haven't seen on the Internet so far in regard to Proposition 8, but that I would like to respond to anyway just because I'm in a particularly good position to answer it, is the argument that we chose to be queer in the first place so if we want to get married we should just choose to be straight and marry somebody of the opposite sex. To this I would like to say: Yes, I chose to be queer and I chose to fall in love with Susan. Susan says she didn't choose to be queer, and I have no reason to disbelieve her, but let's consider this only from my perspective. Let's also assume for the sake of argument, although I do not believe that having chosen to turn queer implies that one must necessarily also be capable of choosing to turn back straight again, that I could in fact choose to turn straight again if I put my mind to it. So I have this amazing wonderful girlfriend who is madly in love with me and treats me unfailingly wonderfully; could someone please explain to me how in the hell anyone can think the moral thing to do would be to dump her, break her heart, and go find myself a husband? Furthermore, what kind of crazy person thinks that love is such an easy thing to come by that one can just throw it away where one finds it and expect to be able to find it again wherever one chooses? No matter how much I might choose to fall in love with some man or even numerous men, I will never, ever have the ability to choose for them to fall in love with me. That would have to be their own decision. None of them ever chose it in the first 32 years of my life (at least not thoroughly enough for them to be anywhere near as good to me as Susan is), so why would I imagine that they would suddenly start doing so if I dumped Susan? Love is not an easy thing to come by. Anyone who finds it, who really finds the real thing in all its perfection, would be not only cruel and heartless but also a complete idiot to throw it away.
Tags: susan
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