Wow. When I posted the signs from the March for Equality, I had no idea that I was going to get Freshly Pressed, and that my blog would suddenly get hundreds of views and a slew of comments, both supportive and argumentative.
So, um, hi, everyone.
My grandmother had a great retort for complaints. She’d ask, completely matter-of-factly: “Who says you have to like it?”
She was born in a tiny shtetl called Szarkowszczyzna. She moved to the States after surviving the Second World War and living in DP (displaced person) camps. She didn’t have an easy life, to put it mildly. But that’s background info.
Sometimes there are things that have to happen, or that are going to happen, regardless of what you want. You don’t like getting up early for school? You don’t like that millions of gallons of oil have gushed into the Gulf in the past twelve weeks? You don’t like that same-sex couples in my state can get married?
Who says you have to like it?
It is what it is. You don’t have to like something for it to go on existing.
To people who are uncomfortable with gay marriage; to people whose personal convictions argue against same-sex marriage; to people who want the laws of the state to resemble the laws of the church, I ask:
Who says you have to like it?
Marriage is a civil right. Other people have made the legal and ethical arguments more cogently than I would were I to paraphrase them here. But I will say: marriage is a legal contract based on an agreement between two consenting adults. Religion may play a part if those adults choose. But fundamentally, in this country, it is a civil issue. And I maintain my hope that same-sex marriage will become legal across the country.
People who think same-sex marriage is wrong don’t have to marry people of the same sex. Those with certain moral and/or religious beliefs don’t have to agree with the law for the law to exist. We can disagree. That’s cool. People can live their lives according to their religious beliefs. As long as they’re not doing anything illegal, that’s cool. But I don’t want anyone else’s religious beliefs getting in the way of my civil rights. Separation of church and state, and all that.
I wrote Wednesday’s post to celebrate First Amendment rights. I loved all the smart and funny and clever and biting and touching ways that people express their support of same-sex marriage. At the march, I loved walking among thousands of people who believe that I have the same rights as straight people, feeling the power of a community coming together to speak out.
Some people’s comments on my post reflected sentiments that I strongly disagree with. But I approved those comments, alongside the supportive ones, because I believe that everyone has a right to be heard. Who says I have to like everything? And wouldn’t life be boring as hell if we all liked everything?
Marriage is an agreement between two people. In many ways, it’s private. As my friend Jess said recently: “It’s hard to believe this shit’s even still going on. I mean, seriously. Two gay people want to get married. BORING.”
Boring – and yet essential. Marriage has such great personal rewards (or so I hear – not being married myself) and such a small concrete impact on the lives of other people. Bring it on.
It’s timely that Argentina just legalized same-sex marriage. One more reason for me to want to travel there.