Friday, June 15, 2012

Equality For Some?

Eight years ago, my husband, then 6-year old daughter and I celebrated a rash of weddings. Not because we were at a certain age or had particularly large extended families. It was because we live in Massachusetts, which on May 17, 2004 became the first U.S. state (and only the sixth jurisdiction in the entire world) to legalize gay marriage. Several of our friends who were in loving, committed relationships — that just happened to be same-sex — took advantage of it.

We were all thrilled when one couple asked our daughter to be in their wedding party. My mother found a tiny Dior sample dress and sent it up from New York. The wedding would take place in our friends' lovely beachside garden and our daughter was to be a junior usher along with another older girl we know and love. Our friends gave them each a beautiful crystal starfish pendant as a "Thank you." (I'm sorry to report that my daughter still won't let me borrow hers. But, I digress.)

The day was absolutely glorious and it was one of the most beautiful weddings I've ever attended. The best man was actually the ex-wife of one of the grooms (are you following this?). She talked about her ex-husband and his new husband with an appropriate blend of humor and genuine affection. The ceremony incorporated a blend of traditions and the day included much champagne and gourmet chocolate.

On the Monday after the ceremony, my daughter's daycare provider asked her about it. (Of course, it was all we had talked about for days and weeks prior.) "How was the big wedding?" she queried. "Was the bride beautiful?"

My daughter thought for a minute before shrugging it off, "I don't think there was a bride."

A few years later at sleep-away camp, a bunkmate was expressing her disgust with homosexuality. When my daughter disagreed and told her that she had been in a gay wedding herself, the girl was grossed out. "Why would you do that?"

"Because I love them and they love each other."

Let me tell you, no amount of popsicle stick and Elmer's glue crafts could have made this camper's mother prouder!

In the news today, there's a story about a fifth grader who won a prize for his speech supporting marriage equality. But, despite this fact, his school won't let him present it. He has to write a new, less controversial speech if he wants to move to the next level of the contest.

Here's what bothers me about this. The boy is a student of a public school in the state of New York. The state of New York has legalized same-sex marriage. Does the school have the right to override what the state itself has declared? And aren't they trampling on another right in doing so? Hello ... freedom of speech, anyone?

If you'd like to hear from the eloquent young speechwriter himself, you can find his story (and a video of his originally awarded, now censored speech) at The Raw Story. I don't even know this little boy, but I'm very proud of him.

Since straight marriage has been the butt of jokes for years, I think we should give equal time to gay marriage when it comes to humor. My all-time favorite comment on gay marriage was a New Yorker cartoon. A (heterosexual) husband and wife are watching the news on TV. The husband comments:

"Gays and lesbians getting married — haven't they suffered enough?"

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