Equality is Romantic

rainbowflagTotally non-productive puddle of mush. That’s me. I am supposed to be finishing up revisions on EVERY OTHER SATURDAY (a non-traditional romance of a different sort) but I can’t stay off Facebook and Twitter, enjoying the celebration of marriage equality happening all around us. I’m proud to be a part of this moment in history, even as a spectator. It’s impossible not to be joyful when there is so much love around you.

If you’re bored, please feel free to skip my take on the marriage equality ruling and go straight to Key and Peele at the bottom. It will make your day better. 🙂

 When I checked Twitter this morning #LoveWins pic.twitter.com/RYsPJKx1F2

I loved both my parents very much, and I believe that until the day each of them died they still loved each other. But their marriage was a chaotic mess during most of my formative years, and they divorced when I was 14. From then on my most stable, consistent and loving model of a long-term relationship happened to be a marriage between two women.

Those women have now stepped in to fill some of the gaps left behind by the deaths of my parents — not just for me but for Hubs and our two little boys. Even at ten years old, I understood their love to be as valid and meaningful as any other relationship, and I’ve never heard anything in the 30 years since to convince me otherwise. Over the decades I have known them as a couple, they have had to do much more than traditional marriages to try to ensure they can take care of one another and those of us who love them, in case of the eventualities most of us would rather not think about. I’m so grateful they can now rest easier with a legally sanctioned union, that their basic legal and human rights are protected.

[*Gets on soapbox*]

[*Thinks soapbox feels taller than last time and perhaps workouts need more focus on quads*]

I don’t blog much about my political stances: I’m mostly a Libertarian, so political conversations tend to be a great way to piss EVERYONE off. Plus, I’m a romance author, and there’s usually nothing sexy about politics. But I want to quickly say for those three people who might be interested in my opinion, that yes, I agree that this battle shouldn’t have been necessary — state-sanctioned marriage shouldn’t have to be a thing. I love the idea that marriage might one day be a private, contractual agreement between two people, either religious or not, which would have no impact on their standing with any level of our government. I’ve read some assertions by my Libertarian friends that while gay marriage is great or at least neutral, this ruling shouldn’t have been necessary.

And yet, it was.

Because as of now, the county, state and federal governments do provide protections to people who are able to get married and their children. From tax breaks to adoption rights to child custody after death or divorce, those of us in straight marriages might have to worry about many things, but access to basic family rights isn’t one of them. If I step in front of a bus tomorrow, I don’t have to worry that Hubs won’t be granted access or medical decision-making power (even if we hadn’t outlined such contingencies in our wills). Our kids happen to be biologically ours, but if they weren’t, and one of us were to die suddenly, there is no chance the other would lose custody of our kids because they didn’t have legal standing to adopt. If we were to divorce, it would be clear to any judge in any state that we both have parental rights — no matter how our kids came into our family. In many states (including mine), gay couples and their children didn’t have those same rights afforded them.

Until yesterday. This is a victory not just for my friends and family in the LGBT community, but for individual freedom and basic civil rights.  

Contrary to the opinions of some people in my Facebook feed, we don’t live in a Christian or religious state and never have. Even though our country was founded primarily by people with a Judeo-Christian worldview, the United States was built on religious and individual freedom at its core. The separation of church and state is a powerful and necessary principle of our democracy. It protected the various types of early Christians who settled here from the Church of England and each other (not so much, sadly, the Native Americans who were already here); it protected the Jews (mostly) and Irish/Italian Catholics (eventually) who followed later. It allows religious institutions of all types to practice freely, while protecting each of us from being forced into the faiths of our neighbors. Or those guys on the bicycles. I can never remember which ones they are.

HeartWish

Intellectually, I understand (and partially agree with) the arguments some people are making about state’s rights and the overreach of federal courts. And while I wish the federal government had less power in our lives in general, I believe that the granting of basic human rights to every citizen is fundamental and should never be optional. I shouldn’t get to decide what the sermon will be at your church on Sunday (let’s face it, I’d be terrible at that: “God is Love. What’s for lunch?”). And you shouldn’t get to tell two consenting adults that they can’t get married (and be afforded all the rights and protections available to straight couples), just because it makes you personally uncomfortable.

I hope my friends who find this ruling discouraging or scary will come to see that it makes our community stronger, more stable and more accepting, and that it benefits children rather than harming them. I hope those whose religion does not accept gay people or gay marriage will (if nothing else) learn to accept that the government should not and cannot rule based on religious principles. Because if it did, whose interpretation of the Bible (or other religious text) would we use? Mine or yours? Yours or the person next to you in the pew? Would we consult a rabbi, pastor, or imam? Maybe the Pope? Should we return to some of these outdated biblical ideas of marriage (<– awesome Christian perspective) while we’re at it?

There’s obviously no real answer. I’m the furthest thing from a judicial expert or a theologian (of my own faith or anyone else’s). The good news is, it’s America, so I don’t have to be. All I have to do is exercise my own rights without impeding on the rights of others. And, you know, pay taxes.

[*Gets off soapbox*]

[*Opens soapbox to do another load of smelly boy laundry.*]

Enjoy today.

P.S. — Key and Peele gay wedding advice. Funniest thing ever. (Here is the link if the embedded video doesn’t work for you).

[Edited to correct spelling & punctuation. It was Saturday night, cut me some slack!]

MJ Pullen

M.J. Pullen is an author and the mom of two boys in Roswell, Georgia, where she is absolutely late for something important right now. Find her Romantic Comedies, including THE MARRIAGE PACT trilogy, in bookstores everywhere; and the "Mom-Com" EVERY OTHER SATURDAY for digital readers.

One thought on “Equality is Romantic”

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