Before the laws changed in Canada, my opinion on gay marriage was pretty much one of indifference. I think I boiled down, more or less, to the sour grapes mentality of "Well, I don't want to be in your stupid club anyway!"
Within and without of the LGBT community, I've long enjoyed listening to the opinions about whether or not we queer folk should be reaching for this particular rainbow. It's not as clear cut as you'd think - and yet, to me, it boils down to a simple enough equation: I think all the people deserve all the same options, rights, and protections.
That said, I do hear the dissenting internal voices of the LGBT folk: We don't need external validation. Marriage is an outdated institution. Religion has no place in our love. Etcetera.
I also want to step in here and say I also hope for the day where my poly friends can also climb aboard this particular ride to rights and protections.
Last night, New York State made it - what, 11%? - of the United States where a fella can marry his husband, or a lady can get herself a wife. I was on the edge of my seat watching, and so incredibly relieved and happy when it passed. I wish I could have been at Stonewall - the party pictures looked amazing.
But why do I care? Well, maybe not surprisingly, to me it's actually all about words.
I once gave a talk on homophobia to a very aggressive audience, and throughout defining terms and setting the agenda, it was obvious the words were bothering people. I pointed out that words were just tools we use, but then quoted Ani DiFranco, who said "any tool is a weapon, if you hold it right."
Ask anyone who has been on the receiving end of a hateful "fag" or "dyke" and I daresay they'll agree. The reclaiming of those - and other - words is definitely something about which I have mixed feelings, but that's a rant for another time.
So flashback to that airport, days after the laws in Canada changed, and me on bended knee with my father's ring in hand. I owned that ring because my father had passed away while Dan and I had still been in the first year of dating. At his funeral, my mother had the awkward moments of introducing who Dan was - tripping sometimes over referring to him as my "friend" and sometimes as my "boyfriend" depending on who was involved.
Now, Dan is my husband. One word, one world of difference. That word has history, weight, meaning, and authority to it. That word gives me the ability to hold his hand should the worst happen (heaven forbid). That word tells everyone who hears it a major part of who we are. That word is significant in the real sense of the term - it means something.
Do I care about what others think of my marriage, my husband, or my being queer at all? No. And yes. I care inasmuch as I don't want people to think about it much one way or the other. I've said before that I'd settle for tolerance, but would love acceptance. I care that people hate me enough to try to kill me - I'd be a fool not to. I don't live my life by it, and I hold my husband's hand.
But really, I want the whole LGBT cornucopia to be a sweet grape and a sour lemon - in other words, I want it to be no big deal. I want things so equal they're boring. I don't mean homogenized - I mean not garnering scorn or malice. I want the drag queens and the dykes on bikes and the leathermen and the BDSM crowd and every other awesome facet of the LGBT community to be there, and for no one to get worked up about it (beyond, y'know, getting worked up about it, heh).
Obviously, that's not going to happen right now. So in the meanwhile, I want every tiny step we can get to having all the same rights and protections. That includes the words that have meanings that say it like it is: that guy I married? He's my husband.
And nobody gets to argue with that.