Second-Class Citizens

Syndicated

Some of my blog fans have asked if I currently have a life-partner. I do, I actually have a wife. We were married in Dana Point, California on October 3, 2008. We are two of the 18,000 queer people who are legally married in California, having married during a brief time of legality before the passing of Proposition 8. Prop 8 made marriage between same-sex couples illegal again after its passage.

Perry v. Schwarzenegger is making its way up the judicial ladder, currently awaiting a setting in the California Supreme Court. Perry is the landmark California case concerning the fight over Prop 8. The basic argument by the Plaintiffs is strong legally, based on the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. California has no rational basis or vested interest in denying gays and lesbians marriage licenses. Anyone with the ability to read can come to that conclusion. The hard part is getting people to admit it. Gay bias makes people turn away from cold hard facts. It takes ignorance to discriminate when the laws in place are on point!

Imagine what you would feel like if strangers were deciding if you could marry the person you loved? Americans against gay marriage argue we are a democracy and the voice of the people shall stand ... always!

Frankly, I always have thought that is the biggest problem with people's definition of that style of governing. It took Loving v. Virginia to allow interracial couples to marry; the majority would have never allowed it.

The majority of Americans read on a 7th grade level and have actually never even picked up a copy of the United States Constitution. If you haven't read it lately, Google it today when you have time. It is actually good reading, a beautiful document.

The 14th Amendment, Section 1 to the Constitution reads as follows:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Plain English? As a queer girl, I get the same rights as a straight girl and equal protection under the law. I cannot be denied any right or privilege heterosexuals have by any state as long as I am a citizen of the United States -- it is illegal to do so. Wow, that sounds surprisingly simple!

Notice it doesn't mention religion. We have that little rule "separation of church and state" in America. My marriage has nothing to do with your religion or any one else's religion. It is a civil ceremony and a civil right if I am a citizen of these United States.

Facebook recently decided to add two categories to the information section regarding your relationship status. They have added "in domestic partnership" and "in a civil union" to the descriptor list. To me, that is the equivalent of saying to a black person, "you still have to sit at the back of the bus, but we have added extra cushion and really nice red velvet to the section!" Thanks, but no thanks!! Members of the LGBT community must not cave! REFUSE ANYTHING BUT TOTAL EQUALITY!

The Declaration of Independence is worth a re-read. Check out this part of the preamble, in particular:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I had the officiate of my wedding read that very passage at the beginning of the ceremony. We were pursuing our happiness as every day, good old, law-abiding, American citizens.

Okay, back to my wife. For the purpose of this blog we will call her "Linda." Well, because her name is Linda. We had been together for nine years when I proposed, having lived through previous relationships that were not the right fit. This was indeed, the right fit.

I met Linda through mutual friends and knew right away that my life would never be the same. She is as good, honest, and caring of a person as you will ever meet. It's ten years later and I am still trying to figure out what she sees in me. I will go the rest of my life protecting her interests, her happiness is always at the forefront of my mind.

We booked the trip, making reservations at the St. Regis at Monarch Beach. It is a glorious, 5 star resort. The setting would be a white gazebo, at sunset, overlooking the Pacific. We were surrounded by a great group of family and friends that were witness to our testimony of commitment. Customs and ceremonies do matter; rituals matter, the word "marriage" matters -- legality matters. It changed our relationship for the better and continues to do so, we are legit.

I am not as tough as my appearance would suggest. I blubber like a baby all the time and my wedding was no different. It had not occurred to me when I was a child that I would ever get a day like October 3, 2008. I didn't have a phrase for it then, like I do now, but I felt I was a second-class citizen.

Wedding showers and walks down the aisle were for all the other girls, not me. Some argue I could have had it all, if only I had married a man. My pursuit of truth and the drive for my inalienable rights does not include living a lie. That looks like the contradiction it is, even as I type that last sentence.

This is a love letter. I am unabashedly in love with Linda, my spouse -- who just happens to be a woman. I feel good today and every day because of that love. I want to spend the rest of my life with her. Wouldn't it be nice if we could do that legally in Texas? The law is clear, our hearts are full, we demand equality. Take your civil-union status and domestic partnerships and put them ... well, you know. We are a married couple, it is a lawful union, we are not second-class citizens!

I cannot change anything about me or her; the genetic groundwork was done for us long ago. If this was a choice, why would we choose to be part of a minority that is disparaged and rebuked daily? To my detractors, I say, "Why does our love lessen yours?"

I don't know, maybe I am missing the boat. This all seems unmitigated when you see it in black and white -- if only a 7th grader could understand it.

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