Strike up the band and let the confetti rain down from the ceiling: my partner and I are celebrating 20 years together in relationship. It has been quite the ride thus far, and we've managed to navigate the twists and turns without a major wreck. Yay to us!
Interesting that our anniversary comes as the news networks are dissecting the crumbling "one man and one woman" marriage of former California Governor Arnold Schwarzwenegger and Maria Shriver. Schwarzenegger, who we have now learned has fathered a child with a member of the household staff ten years ago, used his time in state office to thwart California's attempts to give LGBT people the opportunity to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of marital happiness. And to that I say, "Damn you, Ahnold!"
Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker, who also enjoys the benefits of being one man wedded to one woman, has decided he will not defend that state's domestic partner benefits law in a challenge by Wisconsin Family Action, one of those misnamed groups that actually work to break up families because they don't like the familial relationship. Walker doesn't think it's a good idea to allow the partner of a terminally ill or injured LGBT person to have visitation rights or the opportunity to have the power to make health care decisions. Much better to leave that to the "real" family members... even if they have disowned their loved one or are otherwise not around to make a life or death decision. And to that I say, "Damn you, Scott Walker!" One of my Facebook friends in posting the story noted that Walker, who made headlines for his anti-Labor stands, is REALLY anti-union!
And did you hear about IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn who tried to rape a 32-year-old hotel worker in New York City? The French are shocked and appalled... not so much about his behavior, but by the fact that NYPD handcuffed him and took him to Rikers Island. He's on suicide watch. I don't know if the 62 year-old French man is married, but apparently he has a reputation for not being able to control himself in the presence of women. When asked if he thought "women, sex and money" would factor into his presidential bid in France, he tossed it off by saying, "I like women--so what?" I like women, too. But I don't attack them. Sacre bleu, Dominque!
These are the stories I hear a lot. Politicians, who have no problem relegating me and others to second-class citizenship, are making a mockery of the very institutions and values they hold as so precious. These are the policy decisions that affect me and others who want the opportunity to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness... just like our straight brothers and sisters.
I remember back in 2008 when Florida was preparing to pass the anti-LGBT Amendment Two, my Baptist neighbor noted that in her immediate surroundings, she had a lesbian couple that had been together for almost two decades on one side... and the straight couple who were divorcing on the other. "What is it we need to defend marriage from again?" she asked, rhetorically.
I would say we need to defend it from our narrow-mindedness about what defines marriage. Is it the gender of the individuals or is it their capacity to love one another?
I intentionally choose to spell Amerika with a "K" to make the point that this backdrop is not one of freedom.
Loosen the fetters, and let us have the rights that allow us to live as a couple.
Joni Mitchell once sang in "My Old Man": We don't need a piece of paper from the city hall keeping us tied and true. Yes, ultimately, that is true when we are speaking strictly of the love that binds people. But that piece of paper goes a long way toward making a lot of unforeseen issues a lot cleaner and simpler to deal with!