I’ve been resisting writing about the gay marriage issue, but the more I read other people’s comments and opinions, the more I feel compelled to throw in my two cents.
When I got involved in the Women’s Movement in the late ‘60s, the two institutions we most despised and wished to do away with were marriage (and the nuclear family); and the military-industrial complex. So when the next big movement—LGBT rights—washed across the land with its hootin’ and hollerin’ about getting married and joining the army, it seemed like one huge irony to me. More even than ironic, it bordered on buffoonery. I thought the gay rights movement was hopelessly misguided, even right-wing. Of course I understood that nobody wants to be excluded from places and opportunities others are part of, and gradually I learned about the tangible benefits gay people were losing out on, so I kept my mouth shut. If gay people’s greatest aspirations were to mimic the straights, I just couldn’t get myself excited on behalf of Gay Pride. I was thrilled when my friend Laurie marched one Pride Day wearing a wedding gown and holding a sign saying Assimilation is Not Liberation.
It was the Women’s Movement that coined the phrase, “The Personal is Political,” which also works in reverse, i.e., The Political is Personal. These issues aren’t merely academic or theoretical—they have a big effect on real people’s everyday lives. That gay people could not, until the day before yesterday, legally marry one another in America, affected my life.
I’ve blogged about this before. In fact, the day I posted about my friend Phyllis Christopher moving to England to be with her partner I got the greatest number of hits to my blog of all time. Though a lot has changed since then, Phyllis is still in England, so when the Supremes handed down their decision, I immediately emailed her: Get married. Pack your bags. Come home!
For reasons having nothing to do with the United States government, she might come home and she might not. But as she responded:
There is a lot to consider but what this means is that I will be able to make decisions without the law getting in my way.
Like I said, The Personal is Political, The Political is Personal, and all the exiled couples can come home if they want to.
Welcome to America!
- Is L.A. Gay Pride an Outdated, Adolescent Mess? (blogs.laweekly.com)
- Supreme Court Rules DOMA Unconstitutional (patheos.com)