I live in Maryland, currently one of the states with marriage equality on the ballot. The legislature passed the bill through both the House and Senate, sent it up to our Governor, where it was signed into law. Then groups began working tirelessly to make sure the law never goes into effect.
On November 6th, my girlfriend and I will visit our local polling place, cast our ballots for marriage equality, and wait to hear the result on the television. For some, it’s just checking a box on a ballot. It doesn’t impact their lives one way or the other. To those who vote without care, there are those who do care, and who will be hurt by your actions.
My girlfriend of over a year and I decided we wanted to get married in 2013. We’ve been together in a committed relationship since early last summer. We’ve lived together for over six months. We share everything with one another. We don’t fight, we trust one another, and we feel sad when apart from one another. We’re in love just like many other couples around the world.
Unlike many other couples, we can’t just rush to the courthouse and get married. We have to have permission first. Permission from the politicians getting kickbacks from corporations and private groups that don’t know us at all. Permission from Governors who want to become Senators and Presidents. Permission from voters that believe we’re horrible people unworthy of occupying the same planet. Permission from courts that may or may not grant to us based on their personal beliefs rather than performing their lawful duties.
No, we don’t get to just be happy and get married. We have to wait, and fight, and fight, and wait. We have people tell us that we’re going to their religions Hell or Hades or Purgatory. We don’t believe in their faith, but they impose it upon us. They tell us a book says we’re terrible people while they’re breaking far more ‘rules’ than we are.
We’re told that we’re something less than human for daring to want to be treated equally under the law.
Despite all of this nonsense from various groups, I still love my girlfriend. I still want to marry her.
Why must I have permission to love, to be loved, to start a family, to be protected, to feel safe? Why do I have to worry about what fringe lunatics like Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum or Maggie Gallagher or Dan Cathy or Orson Scott Card say? Why do I have to spend my time working so hard for something that others are just given?
They claim my love will damage families, release their studies that are disproven by the scientific community.
They claim my love goes against the Bible. I’m not Christian, and if those are Christian values, I don’t want to be.
They claim that it’s a Pandora’s box leading to bestiality. They said that about interracial marriage. It never happened.
They claim gays and lesbians are pedophiles. The statistics show heterosexuals more likely to be pedophiles.
We fight for our right to love, to be loved, to be married, because it is the fair, equitable, sensible thing. History is on our side.
Even then, we still have to be aware. We have states where marriage equality is outlawed by their Constitutions. Hate is the law of the land. We have other states where it’s not law but not banned, yet our marriage ‘doesn’t count’.
It’s a hodgepodge of laws that are complex. There are marriage laws, divorce laws, various levels of recognition, varying degrees of benefits. We are still not treated equal.
We don’t yet receive federal benefits, and yet, we still fight to get married.
If Maryland becomes the first state to enact marriage equality from a ballot initiative, that isn’t the end of the story. What’s to stop groups like NOM or Focus on the Family from buying local elections, turning Maryland into a red state through money, and repealing marriage equality?
No one challenges straight marriage. No one thinks twice about it. They can go to any state, and their marriage counts. There aren’t groups fighting to keep their marriages from occurring. There aren’t people threatening to repeal their right to get married and remain married.
Why do we have to live in the fear that we may be allowed to get married today, only to have a new legislative session or gubernatorial agenda take our marriage away?
Even with all the fighting, all the uncertainty, all the hatred and phobia, I want the right to get married. I want the right to look her in the eyes and say, “I do”, and have it count.
I love my girlfriend just as much as you love your partner. Why should my love be any less valid than that of anyone else?
It shouldn’t. That’s the point.