I'd Leave the Country, but My Wife Won't Let Me

Bush Takes Aim at My American Family

I look for example to older African Americans, though many of them don't want us, either. Not wanting to offend, I silently think of the children marching into the fire hoses of Birmingham, the adults who sat at segregated lunch counters while mobs poured ketchup on their heads. Some mothers and fathers back then asked their kids to be first through the schoolhouse door, rocks and bullets and all. Others left for the relative tolerance up North in places like Chicago and Harlem, unwilling to make an existence of waiting. I know what's happening to us isn't the same as that, exactly, but it requires of me the same kind of courage. You just hope the breakthrough happens in your lifetime.

The privacy of this struggle may be the worst part, the continued aloneness of being. So many people don't get it. They say things to us like "Being married isn't all it's cracked up to be"—as if we weren't religiously married already, as if being blocked from the city clerk's door were great fun. They say, "Wouldn't civil unions be enough?" or, now that gay couples are marrying out West, "I'd hate for this marriage thing to win Bush the election." They say, "You really have to pay taxes like that?" and "Being domestic partners doesn't help you?" and "You should see the marriage penalty we pay." They say, "Oh, I wish it were different for you." They say, "Come to our wedding! We're getting married!"

Sometimes I think the greatest hindrance to our cause is the sheer force of the American legend. So strongly do people believe this country stands for freedom that they can't fathom it's ever otherwise. Sign a few contracts, the well-intentioned advise, and you'll get all the same rights as straight couples—that's an outrageous fiction, but not as outrageous as the notion that being almost equal under the law is good enough.

illustration: Mirko Ilic


More coverage of Bush's Gay Marriage Ban:
  • I'd Leave America, but My Wife Won't Let Me by Laura Conaway
  • Inside City Hall: Politics and Protest by Richard Goldstein
  • A Radical Fix: Civil Unions for All by Alisa Solomon
  • Mad on the Street: New Yorkers Weigh In by Coco McPherson
  • Constitutional Amendments: The Winners and Losers by L.A. Scot Powe Jr.

  • Demonstrate!
    Participate in NEW YORK MARRIAGE NOW!, a demonstration at City Hall on Thursday, March 4, 2004 from 8:00 AM until 9:30 AM. Visit NYMarriageNow.org for more information.

    For now, we can't get even that far, with leaders like Bush smirking at this thing Sarah and I call marriage. Should he need proof of the moral weight of our vows, I'd ask him to consider this: If it weren't for the true marriage I'm in, and the needs of the wife I've pledged to love, I would flee this America to fulfill my own dream of equality. Instead, with no small sum of fear, I will stay with her and fight.

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    My Voice Nation Help

    You are right, this is the United States of America. We have solid, long standing values.  They DO NOT include intercourse and marriage of same sex individuals.  Gays are sick people who do not understand their own anatomy.  Asking straight people to put up with their point of view is like asking them to try to see ours.  It will never happen.  Let's just think for a moment.  A real marriage of straight partners produces off-spring.  There is reproduction and creation.  Gay marriage does what exactly?  Appeases your lust of body and brings joy to your mind?  And what else does it really do but disgust people of real marriages?  Should anything good produce disgust in any way?  If you can't create something from what you are doing, you are probably doing something wrong.


    @AFriendtoMany Your reply disgusts me. You disgust me. If the purpose of marriage is procreation, then you're saying that right should be denied to anyone too old to have children or to women who are tragically infertile because they must only be marrying to "appease their lust of body and... joy to their mind". Get real. Hardly anyone waits for marriage today to have sex anyway. Nobody goes to the church to appease lust. Your arguments are the spawn of a filthy mind full of hate. You didn't read the article. OBVIOUSLY. Because it was about love and strength and deep, true commitment. And it was about vile, cheap-shot-slingers like you, who somehow have the right to deny loving, true, honest, hardworking Americans like the writer of this article the chance to live the life they want and deserve in this country. THEY are the true Americans. THEY are the ones fighting for good values and reason, justice and liberty -- not you. YOU are a terrified, angry, lonely little person who just happens to have checked the "straight" box early when you saw what privileges were afforded by that decision. You will not veer from pledging allegiance to the flag of hatred because you fear a world of love and equality. You envy those who have love in their lives because you don't have it, so you'll strike it down wherever you can and fall on the carcass with your sharp little jagged teeth and feed on its corpse. Well, I hope that the love you eat infuses you with a passion and sweetness you never knew before, and that it lightens your soul and allows you to see truth and beauty and to start fighting for those things instead of the hate and misery you stand up for now. And if not, I hope you choke on it.

    Sincerely, a supporter of truth, beauty, and true love, wherever it may be found.