Married four times, won’t let gays marry once.
I just want to take a moment to say, “I told you so.” Five months ago I posted about all the fuss with bakers and florists refusing to serve gays, and I predicted that the true dilemma would be government officials like Kim Davis, County Clerk in Kentucky, refusing to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.
After she turned same sex couples away, they filed suit along with the ACLU and asked for punitive fines, not jail time. Kim enjoyed free (and bad) legal representation from Liberty Counsel and proceeded to refuse court orders to do her job. She was quickly dismissed by the SCOTUS earlier this week and was thrown in jail for contempt of court yesterday after again refusing to issue licenses, or even to allow her deputies without moral objections to do so in her stead.
And now the conservatives have their darling martyr of the moment sitting in jail. She is surely raking in cash donations from sympathetic haters nationwide and will be laughing all the way to the bank as soon as she is released. I want the media to do a “Where Are They Now?” investigation on Sweetcakes by Melissa, Memories Pizza, and Kim Davis 10 years after their 15 minutes of infamy to see how holy they are living their lives after cashing in on hate.
Notorious RBG is my hero!
In the months leading up to this momentous day in history, I have engaged in an increasingly rancorous dialogue online debating marriage equality. Opponents of marriage equality, some of whom profess to be civil and respectful, escalated their political statements into personal attacks against me and my family calling me “sick,” “criminal” and likening me as a gay parent through surrogacy to a rapist, a human trafficker or a child abuser. This type of defamation enraged me, but Josh and some other wise souls helped me realize that what I was experiencing was the last, bitter, fitful and truly impotent gasps of a hateful movement sliding into the wrong side of history. I needed to disengage, because they couldn’t touch us, and our contented lives would go on regardless.
After the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed marriage equality in all 50 states this morning at 10 a.m., what was next? A co-worker congratulated me. I spoke with Josh on the phone and discussed what to pick up at the grocery store. I came home and put on my Ruth Bader Ginsburg t-shirt in celebration. The boys spent some time in the pool while the babies played with cars and balls on the patio. I will cook Shabbat dinner for our family, and we will be extra thankful for our blessings today. After we put all four kids to bed, Josh and I will probably crack open a bottle of wine and share a toast. Our lives will go on largely unchanged, but maybe someday soon, we will get legally married and add an extra sheen of dignity to our already happy lives.
What’s next for the hateful opponents of marriage equality? Many of them were howling on Twitter about what they saw as an injustice today, but it didn’t appear that many people were listening or responding. I imagine that their lives will go on, too. The fact that their LGBT neighbors will be permitted to marry will have no bearing on their lives whatsoever. It won’t touch them. Many of them will realize that society did not crumble because of marriage equality like they predicted it would. Some of them may live long enough to read in the history books about their shameful movement and feel a twinge of guilt for having been a part of it. Even if they never come to this wisdom, I will try not to be resentful toward them. People who choose to waste so much time and energy fussing about other people’s lives and not their own deserve pity, not hate.
Over the last two weeks, there has been an uproar over bills about to become law in Indiana and Arkansas. If signed by their respective governors unchanged, these Religious Freedom Restoration Acts would have allowed individuals to refuse service to anyone if it conflicted with their religious beliefs. Much of the controversy was because many interpreted this to be license for florists and bakers to discriminate against LGBT couples looking to get married. Personally, I am not too bothered by private business owners shooing away customers because of their own hangups. I would actually prefer if these businesses took it a step further and posted their discriminatory policies online. It would save me time and gas money not having to pile four kids into the minivan to go visit these hateful establishments. The market will deal with these businesses and I do believe that the number of businesses that actually invoke these RFRA laws will be low because the truth is, discrimination is bad for business.
I’m not worried about cake and flowers. I will happily go elsewhere and do business with better people that are more receptive to my family. What troubles me is how these laws are so broadly worded that they may allow for government employees to refuse service. If a county clerk has a problem with me when I apply for a marriage license or refuses to process my homestead tax exemption because they don’t agree with my family structure, that is a problem that is not as easily remedied with going somewhere else. I feel that government officials, law enforcement officers, and healthcare professionals have a duty to serve the public, and if they can’t handle working with certain minorities, then they should resign and find another more insular line of work.
After much discussion, these laws were hastily amended in attempt to satisfy the public outcry. Let them eat cake. But I do not believe these fixes properly addressed potential situations in government, law enforcement and healthcare. And bills like this are still being considered in other states. I expect more reactionary measures like these will come up in anticipation of the Supreme Court decision coming in June, and the elections of 2016.