I've been keeping up with some goings on in California - via Lesbian Dad. I have also recently got back in touch with a great friend from my student days, who lives out there and has just married her beloved. I hope for her, and the many others like her, that the proposition is defeated. It would re-write the California Constitution to provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.
It is clear from just a bit of reading that this is a hugely emotional matter for many people - and some of what I've read (and watched) has had me in tears. This surprised me a bit as getting married has always seemed like a rather odd thing to me and I've never felt in the least deprived - on a personal level. I wouldn't do it if I could and the whole civil partnership thingy doesn't appeal. But this touches me because it is about whether or not people are prepared to afford the same respect to same-sex unions as they do to heterosexual ones. It is making people say what they really feel and (because it is directly about the very heart of the experience of being lesbian or gay) it chips off some of the shell that I suspect many lesbian and gay people (and our friends and families) have around us.
Back when I was young it was the era of the Tories and Section 28. I found a thriving lesbian and gay community here and it was, in many ways, a good time to come out. But part of what I learned was to glory in my life's experiences in spite of what the world might say. I learned to find support where it was offered and shut out the rest. And there was, of course, a lot of sh*t. I was very lucky compared to many other people and I often stop to reflect on my good fortune at being born in this place and time and into a birth family of such warmth and love. But it would be a lie to say that the negativity never got to me. I knew I wanted a partner and children and I knew that there were plenty of people who did then, and still do now, deem that 'wrong'. None of us can live our day to day life dwelling on the fact that the most precious part of our existence is thought sick, dirty or even just 'lesser' by some others. I know it is so but I try not to think about it. It's corrosive to peace of mind and does no good.
But, when something like this Prop 8 thing happens in a community, it breaks the shell a bit. This is because people have allowed themselves hope and joy. They have been seen beaming and crying and glorying in their love. To have this experience taken away, written off or downgraded, would be a boot to that exposed heart. I hope they don't have to bear that.