Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Marryin' Kind

When my best friend Starr Ann (hi, Starr Ann) had been at the orphanage about six months, she suddenly stopped talking. Well almost. She didn't go completely mute, just started talking in real brief, stilted phrases. The nuns were about to have her start seeing a therapist about it, but I never thought for one second there was anything wrong with Starr Ann and I told everybody so.

I remember talking and talking to Starr Ann about how positive I was she must have a good reason for being so quiet. I'd sit beside her on the playground and go into great detail about how lonely I was when I first got to the orphanage, and how she must be feeling all alone too right about then, and how I was going to be beside her no matter what happened.

One day, while I was just jabbering away at her like that, Starr Ann broke down and told me why she'd clammed up. She'd gotten this idea in her little five-year-old head that no matter how long or short you live, at the second you die you will have said exactly so many words. And Starr Ann figured by using up her words very slowly, she'd be able to live just about forever. Poor little thing wasted a whole bunch of her precious life words to inform me of this fact, so I could live practically forever too, right along with her.

That's a really cute mixed-up theory coming from a little kid. But it's not so attractive when the same flawed thinking is used by grown up people to hoard something that isn't limited in the first place. I'm talking about the way self-righteous straight people speak, act and vote as if our right to marry somehow uses up their right to marry. The whole discussion is just childish, and it's embarrassing that we even have to keep trying to drive such elementary concepts into their heads.

Anyway, last night we were going over it all again, and I asked Starr Ann and Jodie if they thought they'd end up getting married once we get our civil rights squared away. They laced their fingers together and sat there holding hands while Starr Ann explained to me that they'd been talking about that very thing up until a few days ago, when Starr Ann had come across this little line, just a few words Kafka had written down in his diary - an aphorism that read: "A cage went in search of a bird."

Starr Ann said as soon as she read those words, she rushed off to find Jodie. She silently opened the book to the aphorism and let Jodie read. They told me Jodie knew immediately that this captured how they both felt, personally, about getting formally married. To Jodie and Starr Ann, the institution of marriage hasn't exactly been handled with care by the straight people, and they're reluctant to expose the sanctity of their relationship to it.

And guess what? This entirely private decision made between these two women who are so beautifully in love, will send exactly no ripples across the great marriage landscape.

All of which does nothing to blunt the edge of their or my rage over the recent setbacks on our road to marriage equality in this country.

Against the backdrop of those recent failures, we're ecstatic for all the happy couples in Connecticut who finally get to live out their dream of marrying. Congratulations, Connecticut!

Picture if you will, the day Connecticut gay and lesbian couples first get the honor of formally joining their lives in wedlock. I can just see it now. On the evening of that day, members of the Str8 H8 community will return to their homes after work, eat supper, and retire to their beds. There, they'll tune in to the main Connecticut oldies station and commence with their usual copulation for procreation. But they soon realize something is amiss. It's almost as if they'd gotten hold of a bad batch of Viagra. Eerily, the oldies station begins to play that one oldie "Fred is Dead." The Str8 H8ers look at one another and say, nearly in unison, "It's the gays!"

So the opposition is already talking about striving for a vote "to let people have the same remedy here in Connecticut as they have out in California." Meaning a ban.

What a waste of energy over something as renewable as love.