I don’t want to stand on a soap box.
I don’t want to sit here wanting to convert the entire population of New Zealand to marriage equality – people have their reasons, and I understand that. The two reasons I am writing this, is because I wanted to add my voice to the “Yes” column in a personal way.
The second reason is I can't abide the thought that I could be repulsive to someone else because of who I happen to love. It hurts that somehow this makes me abnormal, and I cannot stand the fact that this somehow makes me less than human in some people’s eyes. It’s anathema to me, that feeling. It’s wrong on the deepest level.
If I hold up my hands I have ten fingers. If you put your head on my chest you’ll hear a heart beat. It hurts that with some people – some of my own people, if I said that, they’d look through me. It hurts that some of the leaders of the country I love and am so proud to be part of would shrug and drawl that I am not equal to the majority of their constituents.
Meaning I am less than. Meaning I have no cause to hold my head high. Meaning that my contribution, my opinion is not required or welcome or even relevant.
Judge me because I talk (or write) too much, because I use too many commas or my sentence structure is screwy, or because I can’t spell accommodation the first go. Judge me because my first thought in the morning is COFFEE, closely followed by CHECK TWITTER. Don’t judge me because I’m capable of loving another human being.
Personally, marriage equality is less about marriage than it is about equality.
“Separate, but equal.” “What my wife and I have enjoyed over 42 years, I don’t think anyone of the same sex could enjoy.” “I thought the problem had been solved.“ “Homosexuality is a personal choice.” “One man. One woman. That’s marriage.”
This makes me sick at heart. Because if there’s no room for love or compassion – if there’s no recognition that life, no matter how hard you try to define and control it truly has more shades of grey than black and white… I’m a big believer in faith, and hope. But that thought floors me. Completely and utterly floors me.
Because it’s like standing in a crowded room screaming. And no one looks up. Don’t throw that image away. I mean it. Imagine being locked forever in a room with someone, trying desperately for their attention, their understanding, their kindness or compassion. Imagine, after endless rejection, scrapping that option and just trying for acknowledgement.
Are you desperate? Are you afraid? Do you know what happens next?
If you’re still reading this, chances are good you have a relative, a friend, a friend of a friend, a work colleague, and old school buddy – someone who is LGBT. Think about how you treat them – it might not look like they are thinking about it – it may not even look like they give a rat’s proverbial what you think. But everyone feels it when they are treated with less than the dignity and courtesy you extend to another human being – whether it’s someone shoving past you on the escalator...or someone who is unable to conceive of you as an actual person.
You know that list that you make when you are 10 or 12? The one where you sit down with a group of friends or with your diary and it goes something like “Blue eyes. Dreamy smile. Kind. Fun. Smart. Owns a white horse and a suit of armour.” That list evolves, grows – superficial things get crossed off, things like “Has teeth” get added on.
Including “female” on that list was, and still is one of the hardest and best things I've ever done.
Now it does, it makes me a minority in a world where I’ve been accustomed to inhabiting a certain set of accepted labels – “Female.”“Straight.” “White.” Suddenly I’m on the side of a divide I never considered might exist until I acknowledged my own sexuality – until I found myself standing on the opposite side. Ignorance is bliss.
Everyone is looking for someone that wants all of them.
That’s it. That’s what marriage is, in a nutshell. It’s spending a lot of time looking for someone who can stand the crap you pull, who can handle your substantial piles of baggage from other relationships. Someone who can call you out and support you and sit up with you at midnight on a camping trip because you want to see the stars. Someone that will pick you for their own personal sports team, who’d give you their last five bucks. Someone that makes you laugh, cry – drives you out of your mind.
It’s marrying that person that sees you for who you are – your flaws, your talents, your scars – the things you try to keep hidden from everyone else – and doesn’t flinch.
It’s marrying that person that sees you. That really, truly sees You.
Finding that type of love is something to celebrate with a word that encompasses it. Civil Union doesn’t cut it for me. Marriage does. You don’t say “Will you Civil Unionise me?”
Straight people might say I don’t feel what they feel, I don’t love as much or get my heart broken as hard because I’ve never fallen for a member of the opposite sex. I don’t know how to answer that.
I just know that I absolutely the guarantee that for anyone that has ever had their heart broken, for anyone that has ever loved another human being – for anyone that is just worried about their own love life and the heartache and the problems and private moments and public joy that entails – the first thing on everyone’s list, regardless of who they happen to love is not “Will aid in destroying the sacrament of marriage.”
No. You know what it is?
“Loves me back.”
I hope the marriage equality bill passes. If you happen to be one of those who does not, I leave you with this wordy but true statement, from The law of the human judgement; and the rule of direction from thence derived, of rights (George Giles Vincent, 1833):
“The grant of rights imposes a duty in respect and consideration necessary for the rights of others; and this limit, and this duty of respect and consideration of others, is a matter not less important in considering the subject of rights, and obtaining the knowledge of their source and authority whence derived, than the establishing of the source and authority whence rights themselves are derived.”
Oh. And whatever your thoughts happen to be on marriage equality in New Zealand - thank you for reading this all the way through.
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