What It Felt Like to Be Equal

not_equalMy friend Bethany sent me this op-ed piece about the passage of proposition 8, from today’s NY Times.

It wasn’t that she begrudged Obama his victory. It was just that his historic triumph made the insult to her community all the more painful. An awful thought came to her that night: Now we’re the designated cultural outcasts. “It’s almost like we’re the last group you can be openly bigoted about,” she told me.

Read the whole piece here.

And it’s true.  I’ve been lucky enough to grow up in San Francisco and live in Los Angeles and New York, places where it’s pretty easy to be a gay man.  Sure, I’ve had to deal with name-calling (hard to believe I’ve been hearing people call me “faggot” for well over 30 years)…  And holding hands in public, while for the most part fine, still requires a certain amount of wariness of one’s surroundings.

But I’ve felt different since November 5th.  The California State Supreme court affirmed that marriage is a civil right, available to all under our Constitution – and now that right – a civil right – has been taken away by a slim majority of voters.  Though the term “second-class citizen” gets bandied about often, it is sadly appropriate here.  I have all the same rights and responsibilities under the state Constitution as every other citizen – except the right to marry. And the single reason I don’t have that right is because I am gay.  So I’d say my citizenship is pretty goddamn second-class…


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