Wishing I Lived in Some Other State Today

My heart is heavy tonight, so heavy that I can’t think of anything funny or cheerful to write about. My state just voted in a totally unnecessary constitutional amendment–to ban gay marriage.

It is embarrassing to me to live in a state capable of doing such a mean-spirited thing.  It’s embarrassing to me that the people working so hard against the amendment had to point out how it would hurt not only gays but also  heterosexual couples–in order just to get people to listen.  It’s most embarrassing to me that the forces of ignorance and prejudice and bigotry won out, in the end, over the forces of open-mindedness, acceptance, and love.

I am ashamed to call myself a North Carolinian tonight.  And I can’t understand the vote–not at all. I don’t get it.  I don’t see how something this small-minded could get enough votes to pass.  I don’t see how anyone who thinks of himself/herself as a decent human being or a kind-hearted person could possibly vote for something that basically says to a neighbor, a co-worker, a colleague something like this:  “I may act like I like you, but when push comes to shove, I really don’t like you all that much–because in my heart of hearts, I am threatened by you.  You scare me, with the ways you are different from me, so I put up walls around my little, small-minded world, to keep you out.  I even think I need to change the laws of my state, just to make sure that you don’t ever have the same rights I have.”

We did this once before in our history.  This state’s legislators made special laws because of fear–fear that people that were different from them might contaminate their water fountains or swimming pools– fear that, worst of all, they might end up in their families.  Now we fear that granting gay people the right to be legally married (and have the protections that brings) will somehow hurt our own marriages.  (Maybe our deepest fear is that our children might turn out to be “one of them.”)  All I can say is, anyone who is that worried about marriage must be in a pretty shaky marriage to begin with.  We only fear earthquakes when we live on shaky ground.

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In years to come–and I hope it won’t take long–maybe just long enough to get all the old dinosaurs out of office and get young people in there who have grown up in a world where being gay is, frankly, not that big of a deal.  Maybe then we will look back on this vote, and we will feel ashamed to be numbered among the states that felt they needed  a constitutional amendment to legitimize their own bigotry.  We’re bound to overturn this law eventually–because, in the end, justice usually does roll down like water–but what a waste, in the meantime.  What a hateful, hurtful way to treat our fellow citizens.  What a waste of time and money, to put up an exclusive, gated-community kind of law that says, “I claim God as mine–not yours.  My marriage is sanctioned by the Allmighty; yours isn’t–because I said so.”

I read an article in our paper recently about a local soccer star who was unable to come out of the closet while he lived in North Carolina, even though he was the star first of his local high school soccer team–and then of his college team.  It took moving to Canada, where he played professional soccer, and living in an atmosphere of acceptance, for him to finally be able to acknowledge his homosexuality to the world.  In the article, he urged people to vote against the amendment so that young people like him might not have to hide themselves–or their love– away.  How many more young people will have to suffer before we get the message?  How many more gay couples will have to hide themselves away?

My state has let me down, and I am heart sick.

My husband said tonight, “Let’s move to Canada.”  I’m in.

 

 

 

14 thoughts on “Wishing I Lived in Some Other State Today

  1. Jane, You words were my words. I needed to hear what you wrote to realize my sadness, and to be able to feel it and let it go.
    Thank You.

  2. Today I talked to a colleague whom I’m very fond of and he told me he did not vote against the amendment because he believes it is wrong because the bible says it’s wrong. He is a good person, honest and would help ANYBODY. I like this man very much. He is liberal on most issues and voted for Obama. How do we change that man’s view?

  3. Thank you to everyone for this great exchange of comments. And I do have to point out, in the light of day, that there was also a huge upswelling in North Carolina against the Amendment–and that gives me hope. And we do have brave legislators like Patsy Keever who worked against it. And we had business leaders like the head of Self-Help and the head of Duke Energy who worked against it. So, that’s what I have to hold onto: that and the fact that Obama just came out in favor of same sex marriage. Way to go, Mr. President!!!!! Jane

  4. Oh, Jane, I love your heart–you said it all and so clearly and truthfully. It sure helps to hear it said with such grace.

  5. I felt like crying this morning when I heard the news. Even though this amendment does not directly affect my partner and I, I know many that it does affect and harm.
    What are these “straight” people worried about?
    We all work hard, pay our taxes, try to live our lives in peace, harmony and respect for others, but still continue to be treated like second class citizens simply because we want and should have the same rights that they do. When will they wake up?

  6. When I read the news last night I said to my husband, Well, that’s another state I wouldn’t want to live in, along with Texas, Arizona and Florida. I’ve just recently discovered this website and you, Jane, are a top-notch writer. Old dinosaurs is right. It’s 2012, people, time for big changes!!

  7. Exquisite!
    Not enough thanks for your words, Jane. I’ve forwarded this to Jasmine at Campaign for Southern Equality and put it into the Frontpage articles on SheVille. J

  8. As a Californian not able to understand why this otherwise LIBERAL state has a problem with same sex marriages, I understand your frustration. Guess there are just enough small-minded, my way or the highway, bigots where one least expects them.

    SO sorry for North Carolina – hopefully it will change soon there, too.

  9. Yes, it has deeply saddened many of us who live here in NC, Sadhvi. It feels as if this piece of legislation is the rallying cry for a narrow-minded right-wing mentality, upon which to further base, confirm and unleash ugliness we know is coming and haven’t seen the likes of since the Civil War broke this state in two…

    And yet, while this amendment is anathema, I am not embarrassed to live in NC because a ray of light, in a person with true people-centered moral values, Patsy Keever, who was against the amendment in the NC House as our state representative, won the Democratic Party primary for US Congress’s 10th District last night, and now will be running against McHenry for that seat in the US House, a seat that underwent recent Republican gerrymandering and traditionally votes right-wing.

    The only tangible way we can respond to such bias, fear and divisiveness in our state is to send legislators both to our NC House and the US Congress who can stand strong on civil and human rights, who value people above politics or skewed religious values.

    We have the opportunity to work for Patsy Keever and her campaign, to change politics ‘as usual’ in our (sometimes embarrassing) state and to send a message to Congress that we are able to elect leaders that represent us, who will not make our state look as foolish as it does this morning.

    This will be my fourth campaign for Patsy and I will be starting tomorrow. I hope you and your NC readers will join me.

  10. You’re making me weep (once again), Jane. So true, so sad, and so eloquently written.

  11. OOPS!! that was suppose to read………….

    ” Thank you for Speaking TRUTH to power.

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