Saturday, May 12, 2012

I Hate To Say It, But You Look Perfect Together

Its not too often that I get all riled up and make a political post, but this week has pushed me over the edge. i'm sure it comes as no suprise to you that the topic on my mind is gay marriage. i want to preface this whole spiel with the notice that, yes, as a gay woman, I am a little biased. Of course I am. As a woman who is "married" to another woman, my views on this topic are a little heated. But I do think I am able to look at this topic rationally, which is something I think many people are unable to do.

Oh- and before I forget: As always this is my space. I am all about honest and open discourse. You want to have a rational discussion with me about an issue? I am all for that. You want to flame me and call em a faggot and a dyke and tell me I'm going to hell? I think I get that enough off the internet. If that's your intention- go fine somewhere else to flame out. I will cheerfully delete your bigoted ass from my comments. I don't care if you disagree with me, but I do care if you can be respectful about it.

I want to start with an anecdote first, something that illustrates a bit of what its like for me to be a woman in a committed same sex relationship in the Midwest. I was working the other night at Casa Bueno, where most of our customers and all of my staff refer to Kitten as my wife, because that's what I call her. There are even people at my store who were at my wedding. One of our regulars was sitting at the bar having a drink with some of his buddies, also regulars of ours. They called me over and one of them asked me, "So, did you go to Iowa to get married? I meant to ask you that a long time ago." Iowa, for those of you who don't know, is the closest state to mine that has legal same sex marriages. I told him no, we didn't. First, we aren't Iowa residients, so applying for a marriage liscence would have been a pain in the ass. Second, my state does not recognize same sex unions, so it would have been pointless. All we would have accomplished was getting a peice of paper that said we were married. I wouldn't have even been able to take Kitten's last name, because my state still views me as a single woman. I explained that to them. Their response was, "So, if we found you a nice man right now, you could go out and marry him tonight?"

Well, no. Outside of being more than a little offended, I was flabergasted. I mean, I'm married. In my mind, I've made a lifetime commintment to my partner. That's not somethign I'm going to drop in a heartbeat just so I can run off with some dude, have babies and get tax breaks. Who would think that?

I think, other than the obvious religious objections, one of the things that frustrates me most is that people seem to view gay marriage as some sort of fad. Its someting that we do to look cool, or to show that we're "going steady" with our partners. But, in the end, in the minds of most people, I'm not truly serious about my committment to Kitten. Nothing could be further from the truth.

When it comes down to it, in most places in the country, gay marriage is a religious issue. That's my problem with it. I don't feel its right, or constitutional, for my personal life to be dictated by the rules of a religion that I don't believe in. Our country is not a theocracy. There is no state religion. So when its time to debate same sex unions, I want to have someone bring an argument to the table that doesn't invovle the phrases "the Bible says" or "In my religion" or "God thinks." Do you think gay marriage could hurt the economy? Cool, lets debate that, I have a list a mile long of ways it will help improve the economy. Hell, the cost of marriage liscnences and the words "gay wedding registry" ought to be enough to put that argument in my favor. Do you think somehow education or government spending will be effected? Tell me how. We'll put your ideas to the test. But please, please, please, give me soemthing to work with that isn't your religion.

Take abortion. Now, its legal in my country, although there are restrictions in some states and you know what, I agree with some of them. Do I believe in a woman's right to choose? Hell yeah I do. But I think she should choose early. Because late trimester abortions are pushing it for me on personal choice. I think the argument comes down to whether you are taking a human life. It is a socially accepted moray that you don't kill people. Its not done. Murder is wrong. In almost every religion ever. However, I'm willing to debate when life begins with you. Partial birth abortions? Not my thing. I don't like them. But I feel like its a woman's right to choose to get an abortion, when she first finds out she's pregnant. I know I have friends who would debate this with me, and we could, but the end result is the same. We're having an intellectual argument. Not a theology discussion. And for the record, even though I'm getting off track, I don't think abortion should be used as a method of birth control. That's what actual birth control is for.

I digress. The point I'm making is most hot button moral political issues can be discussed with reason and intellect, with reasoning that doesn't involve someone simply telling me that their religion says its bad, so I can't do it. Well, cool. Islam says a woman should keep her head covered, so we better do that too. Hell, the Bible says good Christians don't eat shellfish, cut their hair, wear mixed fiber fabrics or work on the Sabbath. But Christians find those things acceptable, right? And all of those things are out of the same book in the Bible that says gay relationships are wrong. I could debate this theology all day, and if someone wants to, awesome Lets hit the comments and throw down. But I'd rather not. Because in the end, your religion is your business. What you believe and feel is up to you. And I support you having the right to your own beliefs. But I feel I deserve the same respect.

There's a lot of people out there who will say that gay marriage is a civil rights issue. They'll say we deserve the same things as everyone else. I agree. I do. But to me, it has so much more meaning than me being able to change my name, get a peice of paper and go by Mrs. Kitten Tyger legally.  Here's the issue for me. When I die, I want Kitten to make the choices for me about my burial. When I'm sick, I want Kitten to be there with me, every moment, not needing to flash a power of attorney or remind my doctor that if they deny her access to me that she can file a lawsuit and get their medicare funding revoked. I want us to be able to own property together without having to jump through a million and one hoops at the property tax office and with mortgage and loan companies. I deserve those things because she and I are just as committed as my strait friends.

Spare me the commentary about how it violates the sanctity of marriage. Let me tell you something, if someone was willing to grant me some sort of union rights that allowed me those privledges and they wanted to call it something other than marriage so people would be happy I would take it. You could call it anything, so long as I had it. And I'm sorry, but my marriage to Kitten has already outlasted the average length of a heterosexual marriage in the US. Most don't make it past the first year. I'm rounding the corner to year three. And thirty years from now, I promise, someone will still be telling me that my marriage isn't as important, as valid or as special and how I won't make it once I sign that peice of paper that says we're really married and that's why I can't get married to her. Seriously? Stuff it.

Homosexual couples who are committed to each other go through so much more than strait couples. Imagine yourself married (if you aren't) and people telling you every day that what you have isn't special, that your love for the person you are married to is an abomination- an affront to the decentness of humanity. Tell me how you would look at your partner at the end of every day. If you went to work and had to pretend you weren't married. If you had to deal with the criticism of your coworkers and friends. Would you still come home at night and think they were the most wonderful, special part of your life? If you couldn't, one you don't love them enough, and two I've got you beat. You'll see a million tv shows and movies where boy and girl battle the odds every day because their families don't approve. Its romantic, right? Romeo and Juliet. Beautiful. Imagine now that's how you have to feel every day for all of your life because you made a committment, an unbreakable commitment, to someone you love. Imagine your family berating you for not marrying better, having more children -or children at all- telling you that the person you love is going to eternally damn your sould just for existing. It stops being romantic. It becomes a personal trial. How much do you really love them, is it worth it? For me, and for couples like me all over the US, it is. That's real love.

Forget money problems or the normal marriage issues. We get to deal with those too, by the way, because we're human and that's how it works when you get married. Nothing changes that, not even our genders. But we get to mess with all those other things on top of it. Think of how you'd feel if you and your spouse had to ask the government permission to have children. If they did give it to you, and they might not, you have to pay them the equivelent of a year's salary just to get pregnant. Not fun, huh? Wait- you say- the government cant tell you whether or not you can have children. Actually, my friends, they can. Every gay couple that wants children goes to enormous expense to have them. Here's why. Gay men have to adopt, which means they have to get permission from a government agency to have kids. And most of the time, only one man in that couple will be recognized as the adoptive parent if they do get permission. If that one dies, rther than go to the other dad, the kids will go into protetive custody because they are orphans. In my state, if you want to be artificially inseminated by a doctor, you can't be single. Its against the law. Unwed mothers? Totally legal. But the possiblitiy of a gay woman wanting children? We can't have that. So mny of the the women I know do at home insemination, which increases the risk of birth defects and also has a lower success rate on top of being more expensive. Oh, and if they die? Same as the gay men. Orphans and protective custody for the children, despite there being two parents.

How is this okay? I can't fathom it. Rationally, I can't think of how people think its morally acceptable to believe those things. And trust me, the problem above? Solved by a marriage certificate. Easy Peasy. But we can't have that. You know why? Gay people will raise gay children. Of course we will. (Because strait people only raise strait children.) I could argue all day about what a gay household versus a strait household might be like. It doesn't matter. Because once the doors close, its your business, not mine.

I was raised in a conservative Christian family. My mother is a die-hard Republican. Always has been. But sometimes, sometimes, things can change your mind. Like having a gay child. Mymom is still a Republican, but you know what? She's leaning Independent now. Because suddenly me having a wife that she loves and respects changes things for her. The idea that  I would never be able to have grandchildren for her (If Anna and I were willing to) because our state forbids it, is repellant to her. It frightens her to think that people are allowed to hurt me because I'm gay, and I have no legal recourse. She gets angry when some self-righteous religious asshole at her church or work tells her that I'm going to hell for loving someone who has taken care of me, committed to me, stood by me and loves me more than anyone has ever loved me. My mom likes Kitten. A lot. Its the first time I've ever seen her supportive of one of my relationships with women. Somehow, over the last three years, she's seen what love can do to change a person for the better. So she gets a little hostile when the nominee for her political party jups up and says her daughter has less a right to housing, jobs, and marriage than other Americans because of who she loves. I'm proud of her for that. I wish more people would think like that. Are she and I ever going to match up politically? Hell no, she's too conservative, and I'm too liberal, but we found a meeting ground when it came to something that touches both our lives in a very real way.

She called me the morning after President Obama made his announcement. She was delighted. She wanted to celebrate with me. After all, the President of the United States sat down with his family and talked about the issue and reached the same conclusion she had- not letting me get married is totally unfair, and most likely unconstitutional. She wanted to know how I felt. I told her how much it meant to me that the head of our government, the first major political figure in US history to do this, supports my right to love. Its encouraging. Its wonderful. It makes me feel good.

What I didn't tell her is that so long as that beautiful speech is followed by "but I'll let the states decide" nothing is ever going to happen for me. As of this week 31 of the 50 states in the US have banned gay marriage constitutionally. I need someone to make a nationwide change for things to work out for me and Kitten. As it stands, that's not a possibility.

I'm rambling now, and I suppose I've made my point, really. I'm frustrated. I'm tired of people who have nothing to do with my life making decisions about my life. I'm tired of people telling me my love is somehow less valuable or less important. I'm tired of people telling me that I should let their personal beliefs dictate the strictures of my life. Because that's bullshit. And I'm tired of all the people who parrot that this is how things have always been, and why bother changing them now?

My buddy Bobcat posted about Bristol Palin's blog about gay marriage on facebook this week. It made me laugh and honestly, its far better worded than I ever could, so I'm posting it here for your enjoyment. (Incidentally, if you aren't a US citizen, Bristol is the daughter of forner VP candidate Sara Palin, who made waves by having a child with her boyfriend out of wedlock while her very conservative mother was on the campaign trail.)

Bobcat Posts:
OK, I generally try to avoid any political comentary here, but I just couldn't resist. I just read Bristol Palins blog post about President Obama's support of same sex marriage, and I am just perplexed. she said :"in this case, it would've been helpful for him to explain to Malia and Sasha that while her friends parents are no doubt lovely people, that's not a reason to change thousands of years o...f thinking about marriage."

There are LOTS of reasons to change thousands of years of thinking. If he had not, her unwed pregnant ass would have been sent away to shamefully deliver that baby. We would still be WALKING everywhere. The Obama's would not be sitting in the oval office, they would be cleaning it, or cutting the grass. her MOTHER would not have been able to run for ANY office, and Bristol herself would not have the notariety that she does, nor would she be able to express her backasswards opinions. Times are changing, Bristol. Get with it, or live in a cave.
Damn right Bobcat. Damn right.
For all of you who can get married or re maried- take time today to consider how very special your partner is, or might one day be. I'm very happy for you. For those of you, who like me, are still witing on making your love "legal" keep fighting the good fight. Nothing matters as much as your love- not a peice of paper, what anyone else thinks, or anything else. No one can dictate who you love. Give that special someone a kiss today, and celebrate your beauty. Goddess knows I do.


  1. Very nicely put. I met my partner 20 years ago. Oct 1, 2011, were were "married" by our minister at the Unitarian church, yes in the midwest. We are raising a healthy and adjusted 17 year old son, who is just plain awesome.
    I say focus on other issues, my bedroom is not one of them, that needs saving! :)

    Found your post thru Saras Facebook!

  2. Rene welcome! I'm glad you found your way here. And now that you have, feel free to drop by any time. I'm really happy for you. Its such a wonderful thing when another person finds the love of their life and they make a beautiful inspiring go of it! I'm happy to hear you have an awesome, well adjusted son. That's great. So many gay parents struggle in our area because of how it is. Its so nice to hear a success story.


  3. When we went through the required premarital counseling I was a little nervous what our Pastor was going to say about us living together... After all, we were technically breaking a pretty big rule!
    Pastor recognized that we were already in an intimate relationship; but he also said that to him it was obvious we were committed to each other. He said the ceremony of going through a wedding, at that point, would not increase that commitment. The only benefit it would really have is to show our family and the world an outward expression of what our hearts had decided. And deplete our bank account!
    That level of commitment, as you've said, has nothing to do with anyone else. It is a deeply personal connection between the individuals making it.
    Just because people go through the motions of a wedding and enter into a legally binding contract with each other does not mean they are married in spirit. As far as I'm concerned the self righteous morality spewing so called 'christians' need to be reminded that "Love thy neighbor" is not a selective rule. Since they seem to like quoting rules...
    Loves you! Miss you! Give the girls a hug from me! ~Cat