The day after marriage equity passed in New York State, our town’s marriage officer quit stating it was against her Catholic beliefs to perform same sex marriages. This was a shock to me. We had been friends for years and years. I told her that although I respected her decision, I would have difficulty continuing a friendship with someone who thought I did not deserve the same rights and benefits as they had. It has been very sad for me. I do not give up friends easily. It also got me wondering if there were other people I thought were true friends, who harbor some levels of homophobia or other bigotry.
Shortly after that hit the press our town supervisor came to see me and apologized. I said he had nothing to apologize for and that he had always been supportive. And he said that he felt the marriage officer’s position was an embarrassment for the town and he was sorry if I felt any negativity because of it.
On the Sunday that marked the start of same sex marriage being legal, our town board convened for a special meeting to appoint three new marriage officers - all who stated that they would be thrilled to marry anyone and everyone who could be legally married. On Tuesday a lesbian couple was married here amongst quite the hoopla of press.
I have noticed the tension between my fellow co-workers. Those who obviously support the original marriage officer and those who came out to celebrate with the newly married women. I can barely speak to my former friend while other people seem to now be avoiding me. Or perhaps I am imagining that. It is obvious that the issue has made some people very uncomfortable. And that people who thought they were unprejudiced when they didn’t have to encounter queerness so openly, were not very comfortable when faced with these two women kissing and celebrating their wedding. It has been an interesting social science experience in one small governmental office.
I am well aware of the “It Gets Better” campaign and so much of me wants to believe that. Certainly having positive gay characters on TV and the marriage equity inching slowly forward is progress. But I am more in tuned to the stories buried on page 20. The gay bashings, the “corrective” rapes, the criminalization of homosexuality in many African countries, the violence against transsexuals, etc. Things are not getting better when it comes to violence and hate.
So I have been feeling pretty down about it. Loss of a friend. Homophobia rising to visibility where I never saw it before. That “sometimes it sucks to be gay” feeling.
And the endless, senseless violence. I am so tired of it. Will that ever get better?
Then we received this thank you note from one of Peachie’s friends. Raised in a very strict Catholic family, she has often lived with us for short periods when things were tough in her household.
“I am so lucky to have you two as my second mommies” - your 3rd daughter
Maybe there is hope.