“Yay! Now my son has the same right as the rest of my children—to marry someone who’s not good enough for him!”
After the Supreme Court decision came down to legalize same-sex marriage, I tweeted, “Yay! Now my son has the same right as the rest of my children—to marry someone who’s not good enough for him!”
It’s the only tweet of mine to ever go (moderately) viral, so I’ve thought about why such a slight joke appealed to so many people. And what I’ve come up with is that, while I acknowledged the momentous occasion—which everyone was doing that day—I also stuck in a reminder that same sex marriage is and always should have been just a normal thing.
Long before I had a gay son of my own, I was baffled by people’s opposition to same-sex marriage. It was such a no-brainer to me. Two people love each other and want to share their lives—where was the downside? Who did it hurt? Love and devotion are clearly good things. Xenophobia and bigotry and hatred . . . not so much. There wasn’t a single argument against gay marriage that made any sense to me—or that didn’t reek of small-minded hypocrisy.
When the state of California voted to ban gay marriage in 2008, I was so sad. I mean . . . California? The most progressive state in the country? MY state? It felt like such a betrayal, such a death knell to rationality and decency. It felt cruel.
But, oddly, things started to turn around after that. Instead of giving up, amazing and tireless advocates for same-sex marriage rolled up their sleeves and worked harder. The White House publicly declared their support, and suddenly polls that had once gone decisively in one direction were tipping the other way. The more accepting people got, the more people were able to come out of the closet, which led to even greater acceptance as people realized their close friends and relatives were gay. The spiral was moving us upward, and the legal state-by- state battles led all the way to where we are today, with same sex marriage considered a constitutional right throughout the country.
Years from now, I hope every American kid is puzzled by the fact this was ever contested, in the same way that I’m still shocked to realize how recently interracial marriages were banned in some states. How could the law ever dare to legislate who can and can’t share their lives? Why would the law ever do that? I’m lucky. I’ve been married over a quarter of a century to someone who’s all in with me, who loves our kids as fiercely as I do, who is a rock and a helpmate. I want the exact same thing for my kids. I have a gay child, a child on the autism spectrum, a child with a serious autoimmune disease, and a child who likes math and computer science (my husband and I were both English majors, so WTF?). And first and foremost among all my ambitious dreams for them is the hope they can find someone who’ll be at their side through all of life’s challenges and joys. And I couldn’t care less what gender that someone might be.
And, finally—FINALLY—neither does the law.
“Years from now, I hope every American kid is puzzled by the fact this was ever contested, in the same way that I’m still shocked to realize how recently interracial marriages were banned in some states.”