Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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Grandparent Letter #2

Neither my grandfather nor my Uncle Neil has replied to my email. In the case of my Uncle Neil, I'm just going to leave it at that, partly because my mother thinks he's likely to vote No on 8 anyway and just habitually doesn't respond to any of his email, and partly because I really don't have a close enough relationship with him to be likely to be able to influence his vote anyway. In the case of my grandfather, however, who my mother suspects is likely to vote Yes on 8, I want to try another email. Here's what I wrote.
Dear Grandma and Grandpa,

I don't know whether you can imagine what it would be like for you if there was a real risk that in a little over a week, a majority of California voters might vote to annul your marriage without your consent - or whether you can imagine if, back when you were first engaged to be married, there had been a real risk that California voters might vote to pass a state constitutional amendment just to make it impossible for you to marry each other - but I would like to ask you to try your very hardest to envision what that might feel like. I can assure you that it is an experience that has the rare power to drive people with no previous history of mental health problems into worrying for the first time that this election could really drive them to lose their minds.

I do not have adequate words to express what this election cycle has been and continues to be like for me. I have been buying posterboards by the dozens and making my own signs, putting them up in public spaces in four different counties - Sacramento, Placer, Sutter, and Yuba counties. I've written half a dozen letters to the editor of several newspapers (one of which was published). Every time I pass a house with a "Yes on 8" sign on its front lawn, I make a note of the address and send them a letter asking them to reconsider. I have donated money. I have begged everyone I know to donate money. I have chosen random names from the telephone book and called them to try to persuade them to oppose Proposition 8, until I couldn't handle it anymore because every single person I reached who was home and willing to talk to me informed me that they were going to vote to call off my wedding. I have cried for hours on end, inconsolably, repeatedly. I have done, in other words, exactly what you would probably do if a majority of California voters were threatening (or had threatened, back when you were first engaged) to outlaw your marriage.

In a crisis of this magnitude, when a majority of the people I interact with on a daily basis are quite likely to be conspiring to outlaw my marriage, it is essential to have reassurance that the people I have always been able to trust in the past to be there for me will still be there for me - that my grandparents still love me and will fight for my rights, even when the rest of the world seems to have turned upside down. Having to worry that even my own grandparents might be part of the effort to outlaw my marriage is a final straw that is pushing the limits of how much pain I can endure. I am therefore asking you - begging you - to please reassure me that you do not intend to vote Yes on Proposition 8. If I do not hear from you soon, I will call you and ask you. I hope that it does not come to that. If either one of you were to vote to call off my marriage, I have a very hard time imagining that I could bring myself to sit in your living room and converse normally. My relationship with you would be forever changed, inevitably.

I can certainly assure you that if anyone put a proposition on the ballot that would annul my grandparents' marriage, I would be every bit as horrified and appalled and frantically doing every single thing I could think of to oppose that proposition as I am when a proposition is threatening to prevent my own marriage. I am not even asking for an equivalent amount of support from you. I am only asking that you spare me from the worry that you might actively support the efforts to call off my wedding. Even if you were to merely skip voting on Proposition 8 at all, rather than voting either Yes or No on it, I could probably live with that. Just please don't leave me in fear that you might vote Yes on it.

Tags: susan
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