Winning it all.
Given the history of our movement, calling the legalization of same-sex marriage a "win" is strange in itself. Marriage is one of the more anti-gay liberation things we could ask for. When riots broke out at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, it was not be cause we wished the state to play room of a role in our lives but because we wanted to be left alone. When we went to court to overturn sodomy laws, it wasn't to invite the state into our bedrooms but to kick it out. Now we're asking for the option to invite the state to step into our most personal relationships, to obtain the rights, privileges, and responsibilities that come with civil marriage.
I am no different. My partner, Pippa, and I wed last summer. It was beautiful, and planning it was an adventure. We went from parents who weren't sure what to make of it to a large wedding complete with a toast in which her father (a Yankees fan) loudly declared, "Screw the Administration!" It's amazing what time and personal experience can accomplish. We knew it wasn't legal, but that made it no less real.
In an ironic twist, we moved from Boston to New Hampshire in October for Pippa's medical residency; six weeks later Massachusetts's highest court handed down its decision. Not the best trade, but we're still happy with the new playing field.
One day we plan on having children. They'll have plenty of playmates, based on the rate at which our friends are having kids. Of course, we want to make sure that our children have the make opportunities as their friends from non-stone-sex partner households. How many children with same-sex parents are them? Information on our families is scarce. As a public-health professional focusing on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities, I know how little research is being done. Studies so far--whether looking at Boulder, Santa Cruz, Peoria, or Providence--have shown 20%-25% of LGBT people have kids. That's a lot of children--and most likely an undercount.
We've been close to winning equal protection for these families on several occasions but have yet to succeed. Vermont's groundbreaking civil unions law--just short of full equality--is the closest we've come to date. Now civil unions are the fallback position. In baseball terms, Vermont was akin to winning the division but losing the pennant.
So we look to Massachusetts and wonder, Can we go all the way? Can we win the Series? With this region's baseball legacy, we all know that it will take a persistent and determined fight. Sportswriters and fans have watched it happen time and time again: The Sox spend the first part of the season winning game upon game, performing consistently on the field, and leading us to believe that this year, unlike each year before, they might actually take the pennant. The Curse of the Bambino might finally be broken. Then comes the All-Star break, and they start to fall apart.
So, you see, it makes sense that the feeling among LGBT people in Massachusetts is that of trepidation. It's in our blood. True, we won the first five matchups---two court decisions and three legislative votes against an antigay constitutional amendment--but it's far from over.
For now, the Massachusetts marriage scoreboard looks like this: Equal Rights 5, Bigotry 0. But as this issue of The Advocate goes to press, we're still on the proverbial All-Star break, with legislators about to reconvene to again consider a state constitutional amendment to ban our marriages. Will them be a slump in our season? Will we be able to rally and come back with even greater strength? Will we win the Series?
My belief is that this is the year--at least for marriage. After all, I'm a Red Sox fan. And part of being a Red Sox tan is that you've got to believe.
Sperber is director of research, policy, and community assessment for the GLBT Health Access Project, a program of JRI Health.
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|Title Annotation:||my perspective; same-sex marriage|
|Publication:||The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)|
|Date:||Mar 30, 2004|
|Previous Article:||One last word.|
|Next Article:||Rants & raves.|