February 5, 2005

justly married

About the only thing that makes me feel politically hopeful these days is same-sex marriage. I know 11 states passed amendments to their constitutions banning it; but when I was a high school gay rights activist, not so long ago, it was unimaginable. Now Massachusetts actually has same-sex marriage, Vermont has civil unions, and a bunch of other states are in various stages of getting there. There's a map here that describes what's going on in each state, and Freedom to Marry usually has the latest news, good and bad. The latest news is big news, too: a New York state judge just ruled that same-sex couples must get marriage licenses. Her ruling explicitly links these changes in the meaning of marriage to older changes, like allowing interracial marriage and banning marital rape. People are talking about a backlash, of course, but I think this is great news. There may be no same-sex marriage in my flyover state for a long time (though an amendment banning it failed), but this is the one issue where we're winning. Ampersand, as usual, has a thoughtful discussion, and some links to other discussions.

No really, we are winning. I really believe it. Homophobia will still be there, but on this issue we will win.

What strikes me about this, though, is that it all makes me ridiculously happy. Really, really personally happy. When San Francisco started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Derek Powazek posted a really beautiful series of photos called Justly Married. I remember sitting in my house in Philadelphia with my housemates and looking at all of them, and at the photos of Phyllis Martin and Del Lyon (and again, right after they got married) and crying. It still gets me choked up to see that second picture, the one where they're old and hugging and the two famous women who are watching the ceremony are crying in the background. And the ones at Justly Married, well, none of them makes me cry individually. But the whole series? The guy in the kilt who looks like he's screaming with joy? The guy who's sticking his tongue out and smiling and holding hands with his much older husband? The woman in the leather jacket and purple sunglasses who looks like she's about to cry? The middle-aged women under the umbrella? Oh god. I don't understand people who can see these pictures and not be moved.

They make me happy and they make me cry and I am so glad that soon there will be more. Thank you, Judge Ling-Cohan.

9 comments:

ehj2 said...

you're right. you will win. you've already won.

your generation is far more tolerant, open, understanding. and you demand empowerment. you're used to touching a remote control to fulfill your slightest desire. and you will impose that model on everything.

you are going to enter every social institution, from work to marriage to the way we play and how we invest our lives during retirement, and if it doesn't meet your requirements, you're going to just explode it.

you're going to remake everything from the inside.

i can't wait.

/e

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