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Money is Not More Important than my Mom’s Suffering
Tuesday January 27th 2004, 12:01 pm
Filed under: General
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Money is Not More Important than my Mom’s Suffering

I love to debate with people about political and ideological matters. But I am not writing about some abstract political matter, I am writing to you with troubling memories of the pain my family has suffered.

When I was quite young, my mother came out as a lesbian. This was in the early 70�s in Arizona where homosexuality was illegal. Unfortunately, though initially it seemed my father and mother would work things out amiably, it was in the end too much for him to reconcile. From what I understand, it turned ugly when he threatened to expose her and her friends if she did not give up custody of my sister and I. My mother kept this to herself until I was 25 years old, so as not to alienate me from my father whose house I grew up in.

The years since have continued to be a struggle as both my sister and I struggled to have a relationship with both of our parents who led such different lifestyles. My father a Lutheran minister remarried after a few years to a woman he is still with. My mother a feminist professor of psychology also found a new life partner – a woman she is still with. Unfortunately over time my relationship with my father has faded as we have taken different paths in life and he has never been able to feel ok with me having a loving relationship with my mother. It has been a long and sad journey, and sometimes I wonder what would have been different if my mother had not been living an outlawed lifestyle.

The State of the Union address has really brought a lot of this back up for me, as President Bush stated that if state courts did not keep the sanctity of marriage for heterosexuals exclusively that his administration would seek a �constitutional process�. This means no state in the union could have it otherwise � all of America would ban same sex marriages.

Like so many progressive issues, homosexual marriage is an issue that as a country we are almost evenly divided, depending on how you ask the question. See how polls with slightly different wording solicite different responses from those asked: Same Sex Marriage Poll

But as I say this is as much a personal issue as an ideological one. When I consider the gay and lesbian people I love and hold dear as family and friends, I realize that gay marriage and gay adoption and partner benefits are the gating issues to their equality in our society. Other countries such as Canada have recognized this and allow same sex marriage. Our country is on the fence now, and because of this it becomes a central issue for those of us who are impacted by its outcome. I would even suggest that depending on the leadership in the next 4+ years we will see the shift one way or the other. My heart is desperate for this shift to be further in the direction that my mother and her partner and so many of our friends and families have fought so hard for. I think of their struggle of being able to be themselves at work, with friends, in public, and I consider their bravery and their suffering and their pain and their successes.

I know that some of my republican friends vote republican for fiscal reasons. I don�t have a thing to say about this. I myself get red faced at tax time and wish to conserve what I have rather than throw it into a pot I so often feel like I have no power over. But the reality is that some issues are so much more important than the little money we would save ourselves by electing President Bush again. For me, taking steps further away from equality in our society for those I love and respect is not worth any amounts of money.

I don�t ask for personal favors lightly, but I am asking you now. Please consider my mom and me, and all of the other people in your life who would be affected if we elect someone who is openly opposed to these rights even before he is re-elected. I am so frightened of what would happen once there is no concern of re-election. I look at my lovely San Francisco and think of what a wonderful open place it is, and I know that so much of that we owe to a part of our population that is now most definitely under fire.

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