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Friday, March 27, 2009

My Fifth Conversation 10 Months - 10 Lives Challenge

Some of you may recall my previous posts on the 10 Month - 10 Lives Challenge.
Join The Impact says “Join us in a challenge over the next 10 months that will make an IMPACT. 10 months - 10 lives changed. Everyone in this movement must help keep the conversation going.
"We are asking each and every one of you to engage in 10 conversations with someone who does not understand our struggle and help them to see our point of view. We are not asking that you try to infringe on or disrespect their beliefs. Change can not occur with insult, it will only occur with respect. If all of us work hard to positively affect 10 lives, we can change this entire nation!"
If you missed my original posts, be sure to click on each to view them:
It's time for my Fifth Conversation of the 10 Month - 10 Lives Challenge. For this 5th conversation I decided to interview a blogger buddy of mine, Melissa at Why Be Normal. Melissa lives in Massachusetts and is happily married to her wife. They just welcomed the newest edition to their family, a daughter, last week. Congratulations to Melissa and her wife. Since I live in Illinois and I cannot marry, I thought I would interview Melissa who is married to her same sex partner in Massachusetts.
Growing up, did you always know you wanted a wedding? If you mean, did I picture myself in a beautiful white dress? No. I didn't play wedding as a little girl even though I have three sisters. We built ramps for our bikes and took our bikes apart when they needed to be fixed.
When you realized you were a lesbian, did that at all change your ideas on marriage? Not at the time. I was so infatuated with this woman that I wasn't thinking about the wedding.
When did you meet your wife? Was it before Gay Marriage became legal or after? I met my wife in 1998, six years before it became legal to marry her in Massachusetts.
Can I ask what kind of wedding it was? Small, large? Please describe. Our wedding was as small as it could be. Us, a justice of the peace and a friend to take pictures. I wanted a big wedding and she didn't. She won.
Why was it important to you and your wife to get married? To validate our relationship, to prove that our relationship mattered as much as all the other married people. Because we are two committed (or commitable) people who wanted to be married.
Have there been any circumstances in your life that have prompted you to say how fortunate you are that Gay Marriage is allowed in Massachusetts? Yes. First, our daughter is due on April 15. I will be able to sign the birth certificate as parent #2 without any need to file adoption papers. Second, when I witnessed two women from New York get married a few months ago. They have been together for forty years and were finally married. It was the most incredible thing I've witnessed and sad at the same time because they had to come from New York to validate their commitment to each other. Update: Melissa’s wife gave birth to their daughter last week. Read about it here: Why Be Normal? - Finally A New Mother.
What are some of the civil rights that are afforded you by being married in Massachusetts? Health insurance benefits (although many employers do offer same sex partner benefits), we file taxes married in the state, single federally, the ability to sign the birth certificate as the other parent, all the rights for other married couples.
I’ve read that in 2012 that there may be another move in Massachusetts to define marriage as between a man and a woman. (I think that may be when the next Massachusetts Constitutional Convention may be.) Your thoughts? They've tried already and were shot down when marriage between gays and lesbians became legal. I think they're are too many liberal voters in Massachusetts that aren't going to let this happen. We're a small state with many reputable colleges which I think helps. Few young people are against gay marriage and in fact don't understand why it's a battle in the first place.
Have you personally or do you know any other Gay married couples who have run into a kind of double standard or a continued discrimination by the community because of your married status? All of my gay/lesbian friends in the area are married or engaged. The community I live in is very progressive and I haven't experienced any continued discrimination nor have I been told of any by my friends. I think as a married lesbian, I am the one who discriminates against myself, calling my wife my spouse instead of wife, because I get nervous around other people sometimes.
What do you say to people who say that Gay Marriage will encourage people to be gay? Now that Gay Marriage has been legal for almost 5 years, have you seen this to be true in Massachusetts? Of course, this is how we recruit! Honestly, think about how hard your parents tried to make you straight. Did that work?
What do you say to people that say straight marriage will be less meaningful if Gay Marriage were allowed? I say that 50% of straight marriages currently end in divorce. There is nothing meaningful about those statistics.
What do you say to people that say that same-sex marriage would threaten the institution of marriage? Ditto, answer above.
What do you say to people that say that same-sex marriage would start us down a "slippery slope" towards legalized incest, bestial marriage, polygamy and all kinds of other horrible consequences? I've seen this argument many times. Did people feel the same way when interracial marriages were not allowed? Probably. Marrying someone of the same sex is far different than marrying your sister or pet, although for some people, if they married their pet, at least they couldn't procreate.
Now that Gay Marriage has been legal in Massachusetts for almost 5 years, have you noticed any of these horrible consequences running rampant in Massachusetts? Yeah, all of these crazy married lesbians are bringing their happy families to the softball games. Ten years ago, there wasn't a pack and play to be seen, now the fields are overrun with babysitters, strollers and children, laughing and smiling while they watch their mother's play softball.
What do you say to people that say that Gay Marriage will change the foundation of society? We've already been creating families for a very long time. Of course the foundation of society will change some, but some change is good.
What do you say to people that say that granting gays the right to marry is a "special" right? I'd say that marriage should be considered a special right for everyone. Maybe if we all took marriage a little more seriously, our families wouldn't be falling apart and our children wouldn't have to live in two homes.
Do you think we’ll see Federally recognized Gay Marriage (or some other terminology that affords Gays and Lesbians the same civil rights as marriage) in our lifetime? I hope so. I never thought I'd see the right to marry and even with George Bush in office we were granted that right here. My wife makes 5 or 6 times my income, so I hope to someday collect her social security (if something happens to her first) or I'll be a little old lady without a pot to piss in. One state at a time, but I believe it will come eventually.

Thank you to Melissa at Why Be Normal for taking the time for this interview.

Lola's Diner


john said...

I lola, i left a award for you at my blog.

Patricia Rockwell said...

It's hard for me to comment on this post because I do come from a very conservative background, live with a very conservative husband, and reside in the middle of the country (as opposed to the wild and wooly East and West coasts!). However, that being said, I want you to know, that your very even-handed blog and your thoughtful posts on gay rights and same-sex marriage have probably done more to open my heart and mind on this issue than a lot of "in your face" screaming from some of the more radical groups. It's hard to "dismiss" proponents of same-sex marriage when one of those proponents is my friend Lola.

Jo said...

I have a friend who lives here in Illinois also (me too) and he and his partner went to a state that supports gay marriage and were married! I know that it is not recognized here but they did it and I consider them to be married even if our state does not!

BTW, who knew so many great bloggers are from Illinois?? LOL!

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