This will be brief...
Tonight is bitter sweet for me. Sweet because our long-fought battle is finally nearing an end -- equality for all. What a celebration we are having for what should have been a basic human right from the beginning. It's long overdue, but we'll take it just the same.
Sadly, it's also bitter because one of the woman that I'd like to share this with - my "other mother" - isn't with us to night to taste victory.
For this reason, I have two diving issues in my political activism that are both energized by today's rulings.
First...I grew up in a "gay " household... I not only had a mother, who was of course a very important figure in my life (and still is). I also had an "other" mother, who was just as important in the day-to-day operations of my life - and in the block-by-block, year-by-year development of a foundation that has guided me forward into the unknown future.
Of course, I had other influential people in my life - my father, my grandparents - but they did not experience the same type of bigotry and restrictions that my mother and other-month faced, so they will not figure as prominently in this diary.
See, my mother and my other mother were never allowed to marry. They did not experience the legal protection that other families (whether viable or not) received. This uncertainty added unneeded stress to our little ship of a family as we were tossed through the difficult seas of simply growing up and learning to live together.
So, one of the driving issues of my adult life has long been equality. It hurts me every day that my mother and other-mother couldn't experience the same rights and benefits and recognition as my friends' parents, simply because of who they loved -- and how our backwards government and religious institutions chose to interpret their love.
Today, we won over that ignorance and bigotry. Though we still have a long way to go to achieve full equality, we have taken a strong step in establishing that marriage is a civic contract taken between people who wish to commit to one other in a special bond. It does not have to be religious in nature (though it can be). It's simply a legally recognized commitment to support one another (and to one another's offspring), to grow with one another, to enjoy one another, and to be recognized as equal with one another. It seems to me like it's not too much to ask...
Sadly, for some, it is too much to give. My neighbor, for example, feels that his marriage has been indelibly cheapened by this ruling. I can't bring myself to ask him how (or even talk to him at all, really), but to him, it's real. I feel or him. I really do. I also wonder if he's ever felt for me. More specifically, I've always wondered if the other side, like my neighbor, knew the consequences of their bigotry... Sadly, tonight, after reading some of the vitriol on redstate and other sites, I have come to the conclusion that they know, but they just don't care..
They know that the fact that mother and other mother couldn't be married marked me as separate and different from the other kids, but they don't care....for example, when I was doing a 12th grade choir concert and my other mother couldn't attend because she wasn't "family" according to the rules at the time. The other side just didn't't care. They didn't't care that my mother wasn't always able to be at my other mother's side during medical emergencies, though thanks to those radicals in California, this wasn't always as challenging an issue as it might have been elsewhere. The didn't care that I couldn't progress from the cub scouts to the boy scouts because I didn't have a "regular" father. Yes, the other side just doesn't care. They know that at my other mother's funeral - yes, she died - more on that below - we didn't have the same access to her body or belongings as a "regular" married couple and family might have had. They know that this was hurtful, yet they didn't care. In fact, they seem to revel in it, and for this they have earned my undying hatred (see other posts on that topic from this evening).
In the end, what the so-called right doesn't seem to understand is that it wasn't my parents' relationship that made me different, it was the religious right's restrictions on my parents' relationship that made the difference. Perhaps, today, that will start to change.
I mentioned above that my activism has 2 driving forces. The other one is gun violence. See, given the bigotry and the hatred and the challenges that my other mother faced throughout her life, she found herself in a very difficult situation...trapped by alcoholism on the one hand and unrelenting bigotry on the other, she ultimately took her own life. I cry every time I hear the right-wing gun fetishists point out that some percentage of the gun violence in our country is "just" people committing suicide. They don't seem to care that those are real people, who live real lives, and who meant something to somebody - perhaps the world to them... but their lives were burdened and they saw no other way out. The are not just statistics. They are a loss for a family (whether the right recognizes it as such or not)...they are a loss to a child who depended upon that other mother.
I pray that nobody should have to suffer the loss that I suffered when my other mother took her life, in part because of the challenges she faced in our society.
And, I pray that no other mother will suffer the challenges that my other mother faced simply because of who she was and who she loved.
We can fix these evils in our society. Perhaps today was a step in the right direction. When I raise this last glass of wine for the evening (out of several), this is what I will pray for - that people will learn from these righteous decisions...not react, knee-jerk fashion to undo them because of personal discomfort...but step in to the shoes and the lives of people like me and see that, without my other mother, I would have not have become who I am today... And, without my other mother, I feel a hole in my life that cannot be filled.
She would have enjoyed the party tonight, so I hereby dedicate my little corner of it to her. Barb, I hope you're reading the Kos from wherever you are...We're all on your side. Times are changing. And I still love you.