What finally got me off my keister to write this was the explosion of gayness in the news a couple of weeks back. The most recent was on my television when Portia de Rossi visited the ladies on The View. (Yes, I am almost loathe to report, that on occasion I watch the fem fest known as The View. But it's not a religion or anything.) And as one might expect in an interview with Ellen Degeneres's wife, gay marriage was brought up, to which Ms. de Rossi explained, "It's not a religious issue, or a moral issue. It's just simply a civil rights issue." Then Righty McTighty View hostess, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, pushed Portia into a corner about the necessity of gays using the word marriage, and wouldn't equal rights be enough. And Portia was eloquent once more, "Of course the word isn't more important than the rights. But without the word we don't have equal rights."
To hear a celebrity speak from a gay perspective and with such candor is both brave and refreshing. I was beaming with pride.
You are my new poster girl Ms. de Rossi-Degeneres!
Then, in an ironic twist, on the same day Family Ties mom, Meridith Baxter, came out of the closet to Matt Lauer on The Today Show, the New York state senate defeated a bill to legalize gay marriage. My friend Jason was incensed and printed the following on his Facebook status update:
Scott Sandoe was nice enough to point out the NY State Senate DEMOCRATS (and their phone numbers) who voted AGAINST a Gay Marriage Equal Rights Bill in New York State.
Joseph Addabbo (D) (518) 455-2322; Darrel Aubertine (D) (518) 455-2761; Ruben Diaz (D) (518) 455-2511; Shirley Huntley (D) (518) 455-3531; Carl Kruger (D) (518) 455-2460; Hiram Monserrate (D) (518) 455-2529; George O...norato (D) (518) 455-3486; William Stachowski (D) (518) 455-2426.
I wrote each of them an email and suggest you call or email them as well. The text of my email to each of them was this:
I live in California now, but I'm from NYC and when I saw that you were one of the few Democratic State Senators to vote against Gay Marriage, I was amazed. You claim to be a progressive leader? I'm a straight man who believes that the sanctity of marriage comes when two people are committed to a life together. Just curious why, as a Democrat, you think Government has the right to keep that from being true? Or is it that you are just scared of the homophobia that must exist in your community. A true leader stands up to hatred and teaches his constituents what the Constitution really means. Very disappointed in you. That said, I wish you and yours a warm and safe Happy Holiday season. I mean that. I also wish my gay friends the same. Too bad it will be completely different for them - Jason Singer
Jason, you kick ass. And your words are a gift.
As a pertinent follow up to Jason's letter, I read a piece by Sex in the City's Cynthia Nixon in Huffington Post. In it she talks about the wedding she and her girlfriend cannot have in their home state of New York. (Oddly, she could marry her girlfriend in Canada or Iowa and that marriage would be recognized in New York. What kind of mixed message is that?) In regards to the Democratic senators who voted against gay marriage, she drew this conclusion, "We have clarity about who's with us and who's against us. And we'll remember those yays and nays for next November and for Novembers to come. And there will be consequences."
She then tells of a meeting she had last spring with Ruth Hassell-Thompson, Senator from the Bronx and Mount Vernon. Senator Hassell-Thompson described herself as deeply religious and at the time believed that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. She intended to vote no on gay marriage. But after talking to numerous gay people her opinion shifted and long story short, she ended up voting yes.
Ms. Nixon ended article her by saying how important it is to get the pro gay marriage message out there. "Because you never know when a simple conversation can help change someone's heart and mind. Because if we keep at it "they" will finally realize that we're just people like them. Because time is on our side."
I want to believe that "they" will finally see the light. That the government will not dissolve my marriage. That my children's security will remain in tact, due partly because their parents will be able to remain legally married. It is our civil rights issue of the day. Homosexuals shouldn't have to sit at the back of the bus. And for those of you who need to take baby steps... We all bleed red. How bout we start with that?