Dissents Of The Day

Dec 13 2012 @ 5:08pm

52197513

A reader writes:

I know you don't mean it personally because you don't know me, but you remember who you were 20 years ago? I'm in a similar situation. SCOTUS should do as little as possible? Please God, no. Do away with DOMA. Give us equality now.

I'm an American man in love with a Chinese man. We've been together five years and I'm nearing the limit of my patience watching us win slowly. I want a family, I want children – all of it. I want to bring him to the US. I want him to be an American.

We're only nearing 30 now. We have enough time for a normal life together. The one we both want. I see it coming, I know it's inevitable. But I worry that it may come too late, when we're too old to have a child or we've had to quit because the stress is too much. If I have to wait another 5 or 10 years, it means my life will not be self-determined. And that is bullshit. I think it's close to anti-democratic that I have to rely on 9 people to give me equal rights. But I'll take it, because I just want to get on with my life.

Root for a win, Andrew. Damn the backlash. And thanks for helping us get here. Thanks for giving me the concept that I'm allowed to dream these dreams and hope this much.

Another is less polite:

Longtime reader, first-time emailer. I wish you would take more time to consider and empathize with those in committed, marriage-ready relationships right now who live in a state where marriage will be a long-time coming if a federalist approach is taken.  It’s easy to say ""hold back a bit" while sitting happily in New York or Massachusetts or Washington D.C. (or maybe sort of all three, right, Andrew?), where same-sex marriage has already been legalized, or in blue states that are on the verge of doing so.

My partner of six years and I are in Texas. We love living here in gay-friendly Houston, where nearly everyone around us is sympathetic to same sex marriage rights.  But those in more rural areas are a long, long time away from validating same-sex marriage, and such validation would likely only come after Supreme Court directive. 

We are Texans and don't consider anywhere else home, so the thought of having a marriage ceremony somewhere else seems inappropriate and emotionally lacking.  The merits of the case for marriage equality (and the flaws in the case against it) are as profound and definitive now as they were years ago.  But the strength of the case and the likely inevitability of marriage for all should not lead you to lose sight of the purpose of that case and cause, which is couples like my partner and I love each other, are (almost) ready to wed and start a family, and deserve the right to do so; and to do so right now, not in whatever indeterminate time-length that "restraint" and "inevitability" afford.

Another:

I’m a 43-year-old single gay man living in Raleigh, North Carolina.  I moved here for law school in Chapel Hill in 1993, fell in love with the area (and the state), and decided to stay and make my life here.  I’ve had a couple of long-term relationships that didn’t pan out, but my plan remains to fall in love and have a couple of kids to go along with my Cape Cod-style house with white picket fence and cat.  It’s a gag-inducing apple-pie version of things, but that’s what I want.

I grew up in New Jersey, where civil unions between gay couples are recognized, gay marriage now polls with majority support, and efforts to make gay marriage legal are ongoing and promising despite Governor Christie’s veto.  My parents, brother and nephew, and my extended family, live in northern New Jersey.  I love visiting them there. But North Carolina is my home.  I am attached to my friends and to this place as I’ve never felt elsewhere before. When I meet my life partner, and we are making plans for the future, I want those plans to include marriage.  And I want to get married and grow old together in North Carolina, my home.

Last May, a proposition to amend the North Carolina Constitution to effectively ban gay marriage was on the ballot.  In the months leading up to that day, yard signs about the proposed amendment began to pop up – one sign, then five, then ten, then a sea.  Nearly all in opposition.  The swell of support for equal rights for my friends and me – support I never knew existed, but now I could SEE – was startling and incredibly moving.  It made me feel even more welcome. Not surprisingly, and unfortunately, that support was primarily among urban voters.  Amendment One was approved by a 61 – 39 margin. Unless an appellate court strikes down that amendment by declaring it in violation of the due process rights of gay people, or a violation of equal protection, I will not be able to marry the man I love in the State that I love.

I could not agree more about wanting to win hearts and minds gradually, and my strong preference would be to win the right to marry in North Carolina legislatively or by popular vote, rather than by resorting to the courts.  But my state now has a Republican governor and a Republican-controlled General Assembly, and they all oppose gay marriage.  Given that, and the margin of victory on Amendment One, there is a very good chance I will not be able to marry in North Carolina for decades, if ever within my lifetime, without judicial enforcement of gay rights.

Some may say, if you want to marry, leave North Carolina.  Leave Home.  Why should that be required of me, to receive equal treatment under the law?  That advice is also easy to give if you live where gay marriage is the law or stands a reasonable chance of becoming the law in the near future. I share your fears about how the Supreme Court will rule on the rights of gay people to marry one another will full recognition under the law, and the potential repercussions.  But I am less concerned about a backlash than about having the chance to be treated fairly and not as a second-class citizen.  Personally, I am no worse off if the Court finds there is no federal constitutional right for gays to marry one another than I am now. 

So: Bring. It. On.

(Photo: Gay and lesbian activists picket outside the Alltel Arena in opposition to an event celebrating covenant marriages in Little Rock, Arkansas on February 14, 2005. In November, voters overwhelmingly approved a measure banning same-sex marriages and civil unions. By Mario Villafuerte/Getty Images)