Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will make an important decision regarding whether or not gays will be free to marry. I will know by this time tomorrow if when I finally meet Ms. Right, we’ll be able to legally wed like my parents and younger brother.
I was marginalized a lot as a kid, pushed to the outskirts by my peers because I wasn’t cool enough, pretty enough, smart enough. I couldn’t have what the popular kids had because it just wasn’t allowed in a grade school social order. It appears the same holds true in my adult life, marginalized because of what’s been called my ‘choice’, my ‘chosen lifestyle’.
Once upon a time, I had a boyfriend. I had the right to legally marry him and enjoy the benefits of marriage in the eyes of the federal government like tax breaks, insurance breaks, etc. Then I came out of the closet and the answer is a resounding ‘no’. For me, it’s not so much a religious thing or a money thing, it’s a human thing. I should be able enter into a contract based on love, not how much money can be generated from it or what house I choose to worship in on Sundays.
I am a daughter, a sister, a sister-in-law, a loving aunt, a friend, a co-worker, I’m a rescuer of a loving mutt and I am the person two doors down who helped you dig out your car after the last big snowstorm. I’ve written about your sons and daughters when they played sports in high school and college. I’ve sold you hot dogs for your family and given you directions around a theme park. I’ve sold you furniture, booked your dream vacation, made your lattes. I sit next to you in restaurants, share small talk in the waiting area at the dealership and I hold the door open for you with a polite smile. You benefit in part from the obscene amount of taxes that come out of my paycheck every two weeks. Last time I gave myself a paper cut, I verified I still bleed red like everyone else.
All of that is the sum of my parts, what makes me…me. I’ve read the nasty, hateful things that have been said about me and the gay community. I’ve seen people’s expressions go from friendly and open to closed and coolly polite upon learning I’m a lesbian. That one word- lesbian- changes things instantly as soon as it’s uttered. Nothing about me has changed. I’m still me, I’m still human. I am free to love who I want and I should be free to enter into a legally binding contract- which is what marriage basically boils down to- with the person that I love. At the very least, I should be able to legally authorize any care she made need, carry out her last wishes and she should be able to do the same for me. Telling me that I can’t have this right simply because it doesn’t align with a religious or world view isn’t good enough. I need a better reason I’m being marginalized.
Everyone’s entitled to their opinion and their beliefs but too often those beliefs are used as excuses to discriminate because someone is different. Discrimination is hurtful and painful. I lived with it when I was younger because I was chubby, because I was hyper, because I didn’t always say or do the right things. I would ask why and hope for a change in the social order that never came. As I got older, I looked forward to college and growing up so I didn’t have to feel marginalized. I feel like I’m right back where I was.
Except now I’ve got a more powerful voice, a louder voice and the balls to speak up and demand a change. I won’t let myself be marginalized anymore and I can only hope that the Supreme Court Justices rule for the human and not for the religious or political.