Valentine, oh Valentine …

Valentine, oh Valentine …

I’m still not the cheeriest bunny on the block these days, but I have to say I’ve been glued to the TV and San Francisco Chronicle website all weekend watching with tearful glee as the city by the bay stands up for Love. Big L Love. As they turned their gorgeous City Hall, truly one of the most elegant buildings around into a great big old wedding chapel and not just married any and all gay people who showed up, but married them with pride and joy and tearful wonder. Mark Morford’s column sums it up this morning, sums up all the reasons that as a straight progressive person one can really be proud. Go read it right now.

I’ve been thinking of my college friend Michael, raised in a reasonably liberal Catholic household on Chicago’s North Shore (meaning his parents weren’t raving conservatives, but weren’t liberal by West Coast standards). Michael who fought his sexual orientation all through college; Michael who used Susan as a beard so his parents wouldnt’ think he was a loser who didn’t have a girlfriend; Michael who went to Paris the summer before our senior year and came to terms with being gay, but unfortunately that was 1984 and Michael figured out his sexuality by cruising, and by cruising before anyone really knew about AIDS. Michael who was afraid to be gay, and afraid to come out, partially because he wanted a family and kids, and in those days it was still pretty unthinkable that you could be gay and have a home, a partner, kids, a dog … the whole suburban normal enchilada. Michael who never got a chance to be a boring suburban gay dad because he got sick and then he died just before the protease inhibitors came out. So it fills me with great joy to know that all over America, kids who think they might be gay are looking toward San Francisco with hope in their hearts, with hope that if that’s what they want, they too can be boring married people (or since it is San Francisco, they can be flamboyant queers as well). Whatever. Life’s too short to outlaw love between consenting adults. So hats off to Gavin Newsom for having the balls to stand up and call discrimination discrimination and hats off to all those City Hall employees who’ve worked around the clock to make this possible. Here’s to another week of weddings at City Hall!

3 thoughts on “Valentine, oh Valentine …

  1. It occurs to me, suddenly, to wonder if non-gay marriage should be legal. I mean, all those folks getting up there and swearing to high heaven in the presence of everything they hold sacred, and then more than half of them don’t do as they promised. Hmmm.

    Of course, non-gay marriage should be legal, I’m just being hyperbolic. But even, if it’s legal, we should regard it with a healthy dose of skepticism. Anything with that kind of failure rate ought to be re-examined.

    (And all this written by a fellow who will be entering a non-gay marriage later this year!)

  2. Marriage is a wonderful institution, and I wept with joy to hear the NPR report complete with interviews of blushing husbands deputized immediately after their own wedding to perform more weddings as officiants. Even more amazingly, I heard two days later that the Cook County Clerk thinks gay marriage should be okay, and Mayor Daley saying that he was not only not going to stand in the way of the Clerk issuing certificates to all regardless of orientation, but that he rather encouraged it.

    If only your Michael, Charlotte, could have seen that day (yet to come, but still!) right here in Chicago! I hope it is soon. Love between consenting (unrelated) adults should always be allowed to culminate in marriage. I agree with commonbeauty–straight people have done enough to mess up the supposed sanctity of marriage; time to let everyone in and see if it can’t be fixed.

  3. Did you hear what Daley actually said? He was great — here’s the text (via Eschaton):

    “They’re your doctors, your lawyers, your journalists, your politicians,” the mayor said. “They’re someone’s son or daughter. They’re someone’s mother or father. . . . I’ve seen people of the same sex adopt children, have families. [They’re] great parents.

    “Some people have a difference of opinion — that only a man and a woman can get married. But in the long run, we have to understand what they’re saying. They love each other just as much as anyone else.”

    A devout Catholic, Daley scoffed at the suggestion that gay marriage would somehow undermine the institution of marriage between a man and a woman.

    “Marriage has been undermined by divorce, so don’t tell me about marriage. You’re not going to lecture me about marriage. People should look at their own life and look in their own mirror. Marriage has been undermined for a number of years if you look at the facts and figures on it. Don’t blame the gay and lesbian, transgender and transsexual community. Please don’t blame them for it,” he said.

    I’m now all proud to be a Chicagoan (and that doesn’t happen so often!).

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