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The “M-word”

Posted: Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

There was a time when I didn’t think being mar­ried was a big deal. It’s the “M-word.” It’s just a word.

I would call les­bians and gays who wanted to be mar­ried “assim­i­la­tion­sts.”  There wasn’t any good rea­son to imi­tate straight peo­ple. Being gay was dif­fer­ent, I thought.

If my broth­ers and sis­ters wanted the M-word, I thought they should have that right. The right was denied to us by Pres. Bill Clin­ton. Instead of actual equal­ity, he came out for gays in the mil­i­tary. “Huh?” I said. It didn’t work, and he set­tled for that awful rule called “Don’t Ask / Don’t Tell.” Under DADT, les­bian and gay sol­diers kept get­ting thrown out. Bill Clin­ton — the man I sup­ported — signed DADT into law. I didn’t just sup­port him, I was an eager staff mem­ber who worked my butt off for his elec­tion. Then… awful got added to hideous. Clin­ton came out in favor of the fed­eral Defense of Mar­riage Act (DOMA). Pres Bubba said he was in favor of the law. He didn’t think peo­ple like me should get mar­ried. DOMA was the law of the land, and that fam­ily con­nec­tion is why I was a total sup­porter of Barack Obama. I wasn’t going to lift a fin­ger to help Clinton’s wife. Maybe that was wrong on my part, but it is how I felt. It is how I still feel to a cer­tain extent.

There were gays and les­bians in the Oval Office, and they were hop­ping mad at Clin­ton. Here’s the hate­ful phrase that pres­i­dent used for them: “Where else are you going to go?”

Betrayal is the sad­dest word ever defined.

So now, Clin­ton is all smiles when he says DOMA was a bad idea. He thinks me get­ting mar­ried would be fine. I don’t buy it. He wants us to for­get that he signed the law. More recently, we’re sup­posed to for­get that he sug­gested John Kerry come out strongly against mar­riage equal­ity (Kerry has always been for LGBT equality).

Clinton’s wife now says that gays and les­bians should be able to get mar­ried. I don’t buy that either.

Guilt by asso­ci­a­tion for Mrs. Clin­ton. Yup. It’s prob­a­bly wrong, but that is my hon­est feel­ings on the family.


Rick and I have been together for 20 years. He’s the love of my life.

Then some­thing weird hap­pened. We got married.

It was in the Dis­trict of Colum­bia. Same-gender cou­ples don’t even get a dou­ble take in the nation’s cap­i­tal. It hap­pens all the time. He and I went before a judge, and then we got a piece of paper.

The mag­i­cal thing hap­pened on our way home. We took the train from Wash­ing­ton to Chicago and then to Dallas.

Wow. I saw wheat grow­ing, and they really looked like those amber waves of grain. Beautiful.

For the first time in my life, I felt ordi­nary. I love ordinary.

That judge in Wash­ing­ton told me (not in so many words) that our life together had merit.

I can’t find the exact words to tell you how I felt on the train, except that my life with Rick was some­how hap­pier and richer.

edgy

Those who want to deny this M-word to gay cou­ples have no idea how caus­tic their mar­riage apartheid is. They say that boy-girl cou­ples can get mar­ried, but I can’t. When I was in the mid­dle of that mind­set, I had no idea of the spir­i­tual and emo­tional dam­age that soci­ety was doing. Once free from those sticky chains, I could look back and see the tragedy. I cried to think of my gay broth­ers and sis­ters who have never known mar­riage. I felt the hor­ror of all those young men and women who killed them­selves over society’s con­stant drub­bing. I felt angry at the hate-filled politi­cians in my home state of Texas.

The goody-two-shoes say “No mar­riage for queers.” In the same breath they berate les­bians and gays for being promis­cu­ous. They don’t see (or ignore the fact) that being mar­ried is society’s way of encour­ag­ing a healthy and lov­ing atmos­phere. There was a time when I’d see a gor­geous actor on TV and dream of rip­ping off his clothes and hav­ing wild sex with him. There’s one gay actor on prime time TV that used to be a reg­u­lar in my fan­tasy world. But he’s mar­ried. He and his hus­band have adopted chil­dren. Since Rick and I got offi­cially mar­ried, I love see­ing that actor on TV. He is still one of the most adorable peo­ple I’ve ever seen, but my heart soars for his mar­riage. How lucky those kids are to wake up every day to such a lovely father. I’m told that they live their lives out of the Hol­ly­wood spot­light. They’re just a reg­u­lar fam­ily. Until Rick and I were mar­ried, I couldn’t be happy for the actor and his hus­band. I wanted to be promis­cu­ous. The change wasn’t forced on me. I didn’t decide to stop think­ing about rip­ping his clothes off. It just hap­pened. I smile when his show comes on, and I am so happy for him.

I need to have hope and char­ity for every­one. The self-styled “reli­gious” right is included in the group of things I am sup­posed to love. I’m sup­posed to forgive.

To tell you the truth, I’m not there yet. I don’t like what the rightwing has done to Chris­tian­ity. That minor­ity of mon­sters have turned the reli­gion of love into some­thing with buzz saw blades. It’s like the Inqui­si­tion and the Witch Hunts all over.

What I love about Amer­ica is that it remains edgy and exper­i­men­tal. That’s the way the coun­try was started, and I hope — maybe even trust or expect — that the Con­sti­tu­tion will keep evolving.

I believe there will be a time when my mar­riage to the man I love will be rec­og­nized by my home state (Texas) and by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. That won’t come from any change in Texas pol­i­tics. It will only hap­pen when a higher and more pow­er­ful author­ity tells the rightwing to sit down.

Upstream from me: Gov Rick Perry, Rep Pete Ses­sions, Sen John Cornyn, and Sen Ted Cruz. I’m the gay bug. They’re the tea party windshield. The only thing that has my back is the US Con­sti­tu­tion. I look to the Supreme Court for cover. There is so much religion-wrapped hatred in Texas. I pray the court gets engaged with the destruction of DOMA. Some states let lesbians and gays marry, while Texas politicians don’t even want to know that I kiss and hug my husband.

My political overseers want to deny me liberty. They don’t see any reason to let me pursue happiness.

Texas will see marriage equality one day. We aren’t there yet. I may not live long enough to see it, but I am con­fi­dent in the tra­jec­tory of Amer­i­can society.

What I can do in the meantime is to release the hate­ful rightwing from ani­mos­ity. I want to keep a char­i­ta­ble atti­tude toward the hate-mongers because–

  • I am mar­ried to the love of my life, and noth­ing any­body says or does can change that; and,
  • the Lords of Karma are much bet­ter at lev­el­ing the field than I could ever be.

One other note. Rick will con­firm this. That actor? If he calls my cell phone, I have told Rick that I may not be around for a cou­ple of days. Mmmm.…

Rick and Wynn Wagner

Rick and Wynn Wagner

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