For the most part, I try not to get political, both because I don't have the bandwidth for the arguments, and because I'm just so tired from being angry all the time. But I'm hearing the usual "oh, the bad storm that has done so much damage is because of ALL THE GAY," and according to the Mitt Romney campaign...
"As president, Mitt will not only appoint an Attorney General who will defend the Defense of Marriage Act—a bipartisan law passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton—but he will also champion a Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman."
Gay marriage is now so terrifying and troublesome that it needs to be banned constitutionally? What?
So let me tell you what gay marriage looks like to me.
Same sex marriage was legalized in California in 2008. It was rendered illegal that same year, by Proposition 8, but before that happened, thousands of gay and lesbian couples were able to sign their marriage licenses and take their wedding vows. My middle sister, the one I call Young James Dean, was one of the happy women who took the hand of the woman she loved and promised, legally, to stay with her forever.
It was not a fancy marriage. YJD and her girlfriend (now wife) were both worried that same sex marriage would be made illegal before they could formalize their union. So I, my mother, and my youngest sister joined YJD, her girlfriend, and her girlfriend's family at the city courthouse.
They were both nervous and terrified and ecstatic. They signed their papers and affirmed that they knew what they were doing, and we were all escorted up to see the Justice of the Peace.
It was a hot day. No one was dressed particularly fancily. YJD had a silver sixpence in her shoe that I'd bought from a local rare coin dealer; there were no other wedding accoutrements in place. We didn't need them.
The Justice of the Peace asked if they would do all the things a spouse is meant to do: they said that they would. And they were pronounced married in the eyes of the State of California. Both of them kissed the bride. We had the wedding dinner at Denny's. Bride of YJD's father paid for it. For their wedding gift, I had their marriage certificate nicely framed, and it hangs in their front hall. They are raising Bride of YJD's three children together. They have bought a house together. They're happy, and they're healthy, and if any God really and truly disapproved of same sex marriage, He (or She) wouldn't have shown it with a hurricane: that's inefficient. We live in earthquake country, after all.
But the ground didn't shake. Every day my sister wakes up, loving her wife, and the ground doesn't open up and swallow them whole. They've had their problems—all marriages do—but none of those problems have been scored for Locusts in C Minor, accompanied by Plague of Frogs.
Look: I can appreciate the religious angle. I can appreciate saying "my church says this isn't cool." But my church does think it's cool. My church thinks it's awesome. And the separation of church and state means that giving my sister a marriage license and a big box of legal protection to be used on the day when, Great Pumpkin forbid, something happens to Bride of YJD...that didn't do a thing to change the churches. Individual churches can perform same sex marriage, or not, as their scripture demands.
Young James Dean's marriage has not damaged my relationships, or the relationships of our youngest sister. They have not undermined the lives and loves of those around them. The only thing gay marriage has done to my family is bring us more love, every day.
The world needs more love.
And I am so glad my sister found her wife.