Friday, July 29, 2011

The day after

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.


  1. Hope springs eternal...

    Times of transition are hard. I believe that we will look back on this era and shake our heads and think, "Why was that so hard?" Once we get our federal government on board things will speed up.

    Hold the good thought!

  2. If you followed the comments on the local blog, the majority of people called her on her hypocrisy.

    I think, as your thank you note indicates, the hope is with the next generation.

  3. I think the world is becoming more polarized - the richer get richer, the poor, poorer. The haters are becoming more violent and the allies are becoming more openly supportive. And those in the middle always seem to lose.

    I love that note! You are obviously doing your part to change the world one person at a time.

  4. There *is* hope because there are people like you and me, giving safe havens to children and raising our own without that ingrained homophobia.

    It take someone very strong to do such a thing - I commend you (and in so doing, commend myself).

  5. Sometimes I think the losses associated with coming out and living out will never end. But then there's a note like the one you quote below... and there is the love again.

  6. I hope that woman never performed a wedding for couples in which one or both individuals had been previously married--because that should have been "against her Catholic beliefs" too...

    I'm sorry about your friendship, though. I'm like you--I hang on to my friends with both hands, and losing one hurts. I still grieve the handful of friendships I lost as a result of my divorce...


  7. Yes, the younger generation seem to me to have the open minds. I think I've felt more comfortable talking with a younger friend of the family than with my own family.

    I wondered if the polarization on the issue of marriage would be good or bad--and from what you describe it seems like an uncomfortable transition right now, but I see that you, and the women who were married with all the hoopla are receiving support and I'm really hoping that others will be influenced by their love and take a look at the prejudice that would hold them back from others.

  8. Steven (Heterosuxually Challenged)August 24, 2011

    I would have turned to mush if I received that letter. It certainly puts things into perspective. Especially when Peachie's friend is part of the new generation. There is hope. :-)