Tuesday, November 6, 2007

CJ from San Francisco watches the Ad

Our good friend CJ in San Francisco, house party host, just sent us this note about about the first time she saw the ad...

You know me. I'm your waitress during Sunday morning brunch. I sit in the second row of your math class. I'm that girl with big sunglasses reading a book while waiting for the bus. Just your average mid-twenties quasi-student living the single life in San Francisco. You know me.

But this isn't about me. It's about equality. As I trot through my daily routines and fantasize about what the future may bring, sure I wonder if I'll fall in love and get married. Or maybe I'll fall in love and not get married, but that is a choice I will make when the time comes. Because I have a choice. I'm straight.

The emotions that welled up inside of me the first time I watched the "Garden Wedding" ad left me feeling gutted. I felt sorrow, rage, and guilt. Mostly guilt. And rage.

I immediately identified with the bride, and felt for her as everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong. I winced as her heel broke and my stomach dropped when she fell to the ground. Watching her look to her groom for help only to see him held back broke my heart even more. Then, when words appear on the screen and the caption spells out that gay and lesbian couples are prevented from marrying, the concept hit me so hard, at first I was too shocked to have a reaction. As I grappled with the message of the ad, and the reality of what gays and lesbians go through when trying to get married, I became increasingly infuriated. I was outraged that so many people are not able to marry the person they love because it is illegal. I was pissed at the concept of domestic partnership because it is different from marriage, and different is NOT equal. Marriage is known throughout our culture as a higher form of commitment. Commitment to the person, the relationship and the life they promise to lead together. I can feel myself getting more enraged as I'm writing this!

Thinking about the unfairness of it all, I remember the father of the bride patting his daughter's hand just after she breaks her shoe. I have to sit back in my chair and take a deep breath. I remind myself that I can get married. It's my choice. A choice I'm legally able to make. Relief sweeps over me as I recognize that I have the choice, and then comes the guilt. Guilt because I know I have something that others do not have. And I've taken it for granted! What about the obstacles the bride had to face? The obstacles that I empathized with and got me choked me up? So she broke her heel, her hair was messed up, a door jam, and a grabby flower girl? These hindrances are so small compared to the difficulties gays and lesbians face. My guilt compounds as I recognize that I'm wearing the shoes of the "Haves" and I'm looking directly into the eyes and hearts of the "Have Nots" ... and I'm determined to fight for this issue until we all have the right to marry the one we love. So in a way, this is about me. And it's about you too. But mainly, it's about equality. This is about all of us joining together to achieve marriage equality for everyone.

"Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are." - Benjamin Franklin.