A reader writes:
You tackled this subject when the world thought you were crazy. You were sane. You beat the drum for this when the world deemed you wild-eyed. You were sane. You have been slapping this horse the world thought was dead for decades, while the world (and I) were vaguely embarrassed for you, and wished you would attend yourself to more sensible goals, like maybe gay partnerships.
You were right. I am humbled. I was remiss not to have larger, fairer dreams. I give you great credit tonight, and send you my reader's affection and gratitude.
I've been overwhelmed by the emails from gay and straight alike on these lines. All I can say is that the case for marriage seemed obvious to me when Mike Kinsley put my essay for gay marriage on the cover of TNR in 1989, and then it became a vital cause for me when I found out I may not live long enough to see it. I wrote Virtually Normal, assuming it would be the only book I ever wrote. And then God's joke was to allow me to survive, something I interpreted as a mission to make the case and fight the cause for those who had fallen before I had managed to escape.
After I quit running TNR, I spent the rest of the 1990s campaigning for this, among gays and straights. With my friend Joe Landau, I produced an anthology of arguments. I went on any radio or TV show that would have me. I lectured on the issue at countless campuses and book talks. I tried – badly – to raise money. At one point, it was all but two of us – me and Evan Wolfson. But the arguments were so strong, more and more allies arrived, gay and straight, and it was a joy for me to march within the parade, not at the front of it. Others have done so much of the work this decade, and the victory is theirs'. But it is, of course, all of ours', gay and straight, who finally saw what justice means and humanity requires.
I slept twelve hours last night. Something had lifted. And now, I must call my husband, yes, my husband, to check in on the new water heater in our cottage in Ptown.
You know what? I never thought it would happen in my lifetime. And if it did, I never thought it would happen to me.