The CA Gay Marriage mis-Tweet
Originally posted May 28, 09
This is, in some respects, a very short and simple story to tell, but I’m going to expound in a few areas so you can get the full context of the post and its details. It is as much as an ode to someone I have high respect for, as it is an opinion about gay marriage.
By now we all know that the CA Supreme Court upheld Prop-8 which bans Gay Marriage in the state.
But a few weeks ago, for a fleeting moment, Gay Marriage was legal in California, and I was in my car doing a victory happy dance behind the wheel while idling at a red light. I’ll explain, but first…
Preface: Sometimes I don’t use real names when I write about friends-it just sort of depends on the situation, which I am sure, as you can imagine, not using real names is sometimes in everyone’s best interests. And I’d never seek to embarrass my friends by outing them for mistakes they’ve made.
That’s not the case here.
His name is Garlin Gilchrist II. I’m using his real name, even though I’m going to tell you all about a mistake he made (which could be embarrassing) for a reason.
First, Garlin really is brilliant. He is also, by my humble (yeah right) observation, that rare man; heart, intelligence, humor, wisdom, perspective, loyalty, creativity- you know, that well rounded guy who is going places, on the grind, making moves. He says what he means, and means what he says. Garlin cares about his community and is a man of action- not talk- action. He’s smart. One of the smartest people I know, and I know some pretty smart people. I’d even go so far as to say that he’s smarter than me, and well, we all know I think I’m brilliant, so there you have it. The fact is, he’s not just going to live a life, he is going to leave a legacy.
I don’t think I’ve ever told Garlin this, but, he was a big influence in my decision to focus on freelance writing, which eventually led to the SV site.
Garlin and a few other talented (and opinionated) writers run the SuperSpade– go on and add it to the blogroll now, because if you can appreciate perspective, you’ll mostdef appreciate their site. Back in 2006 (?) we worked together on a youth technology program and he introduced me, via the SuperSpade, to blogging. Sure, I knew what it was, and obviously I was tech/internet savvy, but blogging wasn’t the cultural powerhouse it is today- it was still being defined, still finding its way. Garlin and the rest of the SuperSpade team sought to bring a solid perspective; they accomplished that. So really, you can thank (or blame) Garlin for SV.
The other reason I am using his real name is because I mean everything I said, and giving folk their props isn’t something we do enough, as far as I’m concerned. That seems to be underscored when it comes to Black men. So even though I’m going to be highlighting his royal f*ck up (I kid), really, I’m giving him props…really!
Back to the topic at hand. Being the tech savvy gal that I am, I’ve got the blog, the facebook account, a Twitter account, and I try and be strategic with all of them. Certain fb friends are on my mobile, the majority are not. Only 3 people I follow on Twitter are on my mobile (because some of ya’lls tweets, I mean really, do we need to know all the intimate details? No, we don’t), and one of those 3 people is Garlin. Why? Because I know that if something significant happens in the town, the country, the planet or the universe, Garlin will Tweet it.
So a few weeks ago I’m running errands and the blackberry starts buzzing. I wait for a red light and pick it up- a text from Garlin on Twitter; the California Supreme Court struck down Prop-8 and gay marriage was in the clear. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I had a party for one in the car, my mind racing, thinking of the impact the decision would have, deciding to postpone the rest of the errands to go home and read the decision myself.
I sent a text back expressing my um, shock, and started on my way home.
A few minutes later, another text:
@sableverity Looks like I got duped. I was doing some research got so hype I missed the 2008 date.
I gasped- yes…gasped. First, because the party was over, and second because, well, Garlin had made a mistake?! My mind was double blown. I said outloud in the car “you missed the date?!” I was certain I heard the Universe crack…
And then my stomach was filled with anxiety because I was right back where we all were at that point- waiting for CA to make its decision, and all these thoughts went through my head:
I have friends that are for and against gay marriage, for many reasons. I am for it, for 3 reasons.
First, as a Black woman, I see gay marriage as a civil rights issue. It wasn’t always that way for me. That’s to say, I was always for gay marriage, but a few years ago when when it started to be framed as a civil rights issue, I was furious and disagreed loudly to my friends. I have since changed my mind- it is a civil rights issue, and people (specifically Black people) who think or fear that relating discrimination against gays as a civil rights issue, somehow taints the struggle, or our struggle is misinformed. No one has a monopoly on the struggle.
Second, I am a staunch believer in separation of church and state. Not because I am anti-religion, but because I believe that religion should not define law (even though the law is clearly influenced by it, bla, bla, bla). Simple as that. The church cannot tell the government what to do, and likewise, the government cannot tell the church what to do.
Third, I believe (as does President Obama) that this is not a “moral” issue, this is not about the “sacredness” of marriage, this is about a right to privacy and to not have government intrude in home/family and dictate what can and cannot be done, period.
This is more than just the right for 2 men or 2 women to marry. This is about the protection of all of our rights to decide how we live our lives, and the protection against discrimination for those choices. Everyone seems to be caught up in whether or not they agree with those choices. You don’t need to agree with the personal choices of gay men and lesbian women, just like you don’t have to agree with the personal decisions of anyone. I don’t like guns, and I believe we need much stronger gun control laws, but I support our right to have them.
I’ve had people tell me that being gay isn’t natural. Neither is permed hair, but we don’t ban it.
I’ve heard that gay marriage is a “threat” to the sanctity of the institution of marriage itself…seems to me the 51%+ who get divorced, and divorce itself is the bigger threat to marriage- why don’t we ban divorce if marriage is so damn prescious?
I could go on all night.
I’m not gay. Don’t plan on being gay anytime soon. Yes, I have gay friends and colleagues and bla, bla, bla. Sure, I want them to be “happy”, but more than that, I want my right to privacy (and yours) protected. For a brief moment, I’d exhaled, breathed a sigh of relief and celebrated, shouting thanks to Garlin and the marvelous technology that is Twitter mobile for the up-to-the-minute breaking news.
And then Mr. Gilchrist dumped a bucket of ice water on my head with his second Twitter update and brought me back to reality.
This struggle continues.