July 20, 2003 ~ The Radical Politics of Love
"But he's far too radical to ever be elected," said Morgan, a while back when we were discussing the Democratic presidential candidates, and I had been talking about why I hope that Dennis Kucinich wins the primary.
"How, exactly?" I asked.
"Well, he's a vegan."
"But he hasn't even mentioned that himself, and not a single one of his political platforms has anything to do with it. That's his diet. It doesn't affect his political standing."
Morgan shook his head. "Doesn't matter. He loses the big beef states right there."
"So you mean to tell me that a vegan cannot run for President?"
"Not and win."
I sighed. "Okay, aside from his personal dietary choices, what is so radical?"
"His stance on same-sex marriage alone would make it impossible for him to be elected."
Kucinich has promised to push for a federal law to make same-sex marriage legal on a national level. "Sorry. But I fail to see why stating that two individuals who love each other should have the federally-protected right to marry if they wish to is so unbelievably radical."
We continued to debate it for a little while, but you know what? Morgan's probably right. He doesn't believe that federally-protected same-sex marriage is a radical idea. He, like me, believes that is common sense. But the rest of the country? Sadly, I'm afraid that most people would see nationally-recognized equal marriage rights as an extremely radical stance.
And I can't even begin to express how much that royally pisses me off. To me, legalizing same-sex marriage is about as radical as abolishing slavery. In fact, up until the 1960s, it was still illegal in many states for an interracial couple to marry. If your spouse was of a different race than you, the two of you could legally be arrested, tried, and sentenced. Over and over again, I am astounded at how slowly issues that I consider to be basic equal rights have taken to be recognized and legalized in our society.
I love Morgan. I will spend my life with him. We share everything, and all significant decisions are made cooperatively. We can laugh together for hours over something that is funny only to us. We set goals and hold each other to them. I've held his hair back for him when he was puking at three a.m.; he held my hand when I was waiting to find out if I had cancer or not. We share memories of a million little peaceful moments. He wants to watch my hair turn grey, wrinkles to form, breasts to sag. I want to watch his belly pooch, hair fall out, skin wrinkle. Because I love him, and those things don't matter, but they happen, and I want to be there for everything. We want to raise children, get a house of our own. We want to hold each other every night, and kiss away every tear. We'll still have that "tingly" feeling when we're 80, I'm sure.
There's another couple out there exactly like us. Except for one thing. They are a woman and a woman. And because of that small detail, she won't be allowed into ICQ to see her wife after the car accident. She won't be allowed to share a health insurance plan. Shared benefits aren't a right for them. Tax breaks? Not going to happen. She won't be allowed to make medical decisions for her wife is she is not conscious. They would have a much harder time adopting a child, and cannot do it jointly. Or, if one decides on artificial insemination, the other will have a Hell of a time getting custody. And that child will not have the same protections as a child of a married man and woman would have. If one dies without having made a will, the other will watch as all of "their" things are given to relatives instead of her. She will not be eligible for the payout from her wife's life insurance. She also will not have the right to specify cremation or burial and where. She probably won't even be allowed "bereavement" time off from work, since, officially, her wife is "only a friend." If they have the misfortune of being from separate countries, immigration will be a nightmare, where it would be quite smooth and easy for a married man and woman. And, if things start to turn sour in the relationship, neither has the legal protections built into most marriages for divorce, protection orders, child support, and such. And there is so much more.
Why should Morgan and I have all of that, and another couple in an identical relationship to ours not have it?
The excuses make me sick, and they reek of prejudice and archaic bias. That the majority of the country believes that same sex couples should be so unfairly discriminated against, should be treated as second-class citizens, makes my heart ache. That is why I am disgusted that Kucinich's stance on same-sex marriage is seen as "radical."