You know that point in your education where you call a person who is already in the professional world and ask them a whole bunch of questions to determine if what you think you want to do is actually what you want to do? Actor/writer/activist Michael Kearns was my someone. He and my mother were friends, and his memoir The Truth is Bad Enough: What Became of the Happy Hustler? is one of the two I recently read. How much fun that book was to read, how great to hear all over again stories I’d begun to believe I only imagined…
As for the career Michael had then and I thought I wanted? It turns out I really did, and still do. After spending nineteen years in professional theatre I’m now focused on my writing. The third piece I ever submitted will be published in Saints and Sinners 2013: New Fiction from the Festival. I’ve also managed to amass some small measure of activist street cred by marching in six Pride parades; having more heated arguments with strangers in person and virtually than I could ever hope to count; and signing every gay-rights petition that’s ever crossed my path. I even had a scandal erupt at my wedding, when a gay male friend caught my bouquet. A certain faction of my in-laws was horrified by this, and we have the photographic evidence to prove it.
At the time, I couldn’t have been more pleased by that turn of events, but now it makes me more than a little pissed off. It’s been almost seventeen years since that day, yet if my friend wanted to wed he still legally could not. Arguments against marriage equality don’t hold water. Is it a religious ceremony? It wasn’t for us, though we did have a minister presiding at our ceremony. Friends of ours, who had a private “committment ceremony” in California, attended by friends and family the year after our wedding, strongly identify as Christian. Yes, they are still together. Is it about raising kids? They don’t have any but neither do we, by choice. Michael Kearns, though, in that same span of time, adopted and raised an intelligent, creative and kind-hearted daughter.
So, if neither religion nor childrearing is the common denominator in defining marriage, and love and committment don’t sway the argument for those opposed to marriage equality, what is the debate about? Why is it that my husband and I enjoy the perks of being first class citizens while other people, just as worthy, continue to be discriminated against?
Who could ask for anything more? Lots of folks. Look around.