I sort of can't tell you how little my marriage means to me. My husband? Oh, he means the world to me. Our little committed family? Truly, the greatest thing I have. But the marriage? Enh. I'm just not one to count on paperwork and words and ceremonies and stuff like that to shape my personal life. But that's just me and not everyone is like me and I like that.
I've written here about how I felt when laws and policies intruded on my personal life and forced me into the exclusive and exclusionary club whose membership is made up of a selected group of committed couples in America -- the legally wed. I hated being forced down the aisle. It made me feel like a child. It took away my control of my life and didn't value me, an individual with choices. It was unfair and wrong.
The same judgment and oppression wrapped in the silky bow of "tradition" that forced my husband and I to get legal has a darker, more painful and actually harmful side that people in Florida, Arizona, California and Arkansas are going to have to answer for someday. Voters in these states have banned same sex marriage (or in the case of Arkansas, banned foster parenting and adoptions to unmarried -- read: gay -- families).
Here in California (where I was extorted or blackmailed or whatever into tying the knot), the ban's campaign focused on "protecting" children.They claimed school kids would read prince-on-prince love stories during circle time, to the exclusion of "Knuffle Bunny" and the Eric Carle ouevre. What else? Maybe watch a little gay porn during health class. Who knows. Those commercials appear to have scared enough people that the vote, while close, eventually passed the ban.
But really, here's what parents who fell for that rhetoric should know: you can ban gay marriage all you want, metaphorically duct tape teachers' mouths and take away their copies of "And Tango Makes Three," outlaw any mention of two dads or mama and mommy or refuse to attend Uncle Ted's commitment ceremony, but your kid is going to learn about -- and learn to love -- legal partnerships and weddings between all sorts of couples. How?
My daughter will teach them.
See, my daughter -- and many, many other kids (who can't vote -- yet!) -- says "who cares who you love?!" when I take too long to explain political signs around town. My daughter isn't an off-putting sledgehammer like her angry mother, rather a sweet, sensible kid who hates wasting time on all this talking and just expects people to be fair and nice and hug a lot.
And ohhhhhhh your kid likes my kid. And your kid likes what she has to say. She makes so much sense! She's talking about love! And happy families! Who doesn't love happy families?! And pretty soon, if not already, your kid will say "who cares who you love," too. You, supporter of the ban, can talk about "our family's values" and "our traditions" but your kid ain't buying it. Oh, she may nod her head. He may say, "that's right mom." But kids these days! Kids! They get it. It's so many grown-ups who don't.
So while it kills me that we have to wait even a day longer to see the laws of this country aligned with its mission of equality and justice for all -- especially if waiting means more gay teens thinking they're weird and/or committing suicide -- we're going to see it. My kid will fix it. Our kids will fix it. For everyone. No, really -- everyone!A Good Cry With Sherri Shepherd
The Best -- and Worst -- Fathers-in-Chief