Who says you have to like it?

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.


Filed under politics

4 responses to “Who says you have to like it?

  1. I went to that rally! And like you, I never got around to doing my post about it! I mean, not quite like you – because you did. Sadly I’m still too lazy to have done so. But if you wanna see my photos, they’re on my Flickr – http://www.flickr.com/bestoffates and I love the signs you highlighted. Signs were also my favorite part, but I saw almost completely different ones than you did!

    • Megan, I just figured out why you look familiar – you were the featured reader on Marriage Confessions a few months back! I know Katie of MC from back when she lived in Connecticut. Anyway, funny. Thanks for sending your pictures – it’s great to see so many signs that I didn’t see at the march.

  2. DebMoore

    I read your blog because of “Freshly Pressed” and now you’re in my “favorites.” I hope to visit here again often. Thanks for your observations so eloquently shared. VERY succinctly, I am a lesbian, pagan, equality-loving, white instructor of English at a predominantly African-American university. When the issue comes up, I try to inform my students of many of the same points you make along with the historical facts that marriage has always been a civil issue in this nation (and between Europeans on this continent before the birth of this nation), that the first marriage performed in North America for European settlers was performed by William Bradford acting in his role as Royal Governor of the Massachusetts Colony, and, most importantly, the Puritans who so often get the blame/credit for supposedly causing religion to have ANYTHING AT ALL to do with the beginning of this American experiment actually believed that it went against the Bible to have marriages performed by the church; they believed that marriage should be an institution of the state, and they believed that for religious reasons. Just my two extra cents to what you have so beautifully spoken. I’ll be reading . . .

  3. I’m glad that I’m making so many cameos on your blog these days, because I can’t seem to muster up the mojo to make an appearance on mine.

    But enough about me … let’s talk about me!

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