There's a storm a raging in the state of Washington over who can marry whom. Or is that whom can marry who...debate that some other time, this is important damn it. Okay, well, like I was sayin', there's a lot of yellin' and hatin' and pushin' and shovin' and it's all par for the course. You know what I mean? This is challenging a huge cultural behemoth here.
For those of you who don't know this, Washington state is divided in two, more or less. The West is the most populace, the most commercial, the most everything. The east is the rural side of things with smaller cities, bigger spaces (certainly some of the prettiest open spaces too) and lets face it, there is a stronger current of conservativism. Now that's not to say that it's all one way here and the other there. We've got the full spectrum of beliefs and ideals, but King County is the heart of the state in a lot of ways and what happens here can have a drastic effect for those in the rural locations.
IF, and I say IF because it's not a known yet, Gay Marriage is legalized here, it could be the start of a lot of discontent for a lot of people. This would be a social change that flies in the face of some pretty hard core beliefs. I understand that and I accept that this would be a difficult thing for some people. The key word here is CHANGE. I know first hand how hard change can be. I know a lot of us do. But a fundamental change in things like Gay Marriage is pretty monumental and I have to wonder...What does that mean to me?
I was raised Mormon for a considerable part of my life. That doesn't mean that we were always part of the church. We weren't. There were many years where I was in and out of the church. My Dad was mostly out of the church for many years until he met his current wife. He was excommunicated for living with her, and that only sparked interest on her part. It wasn't long before they were married and we were all in the church. Growing up in the church provided me with a community in which I belonged. I felt so loved there and safe. I started struggling with my gayness more directly as a teen, but in retrospect, it's obvious to me now that it started much earlier, I just didn't have the knowledge to know what it meant then.
So the point to that is, I grew up in a community in which I felt total and complete acceptance. I worked very hard for so many years of my life to meet the expectations and demands of my faith. I did so with total commitment and love and with a heavy, guilt ridden heart. If anyone ever knew what I was on the inside, they would not see me the same way. I would be rejected and told that I could not be part of this community any longer. I did all I could to FIX my problem. I even went on a mission, thinking that if I did this, GOD would take away this thing inside me. I was with a male companion 24/7, that is not the solution I needed. Granted, it wasn't as though I was lusting after everyone of them, but it was the commraderie, the closeness, it all felt so natural to me. I loved my mission, it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life and the most rewarding. But in the end, GOD did not do anything about the feelings.
Cut to me now...on the verge of my 37th birthday, living with my partner, my companion, a man...the man that I love with all my heart. Had you told me only 5 or 6 years ago that I would be in this place and time, I would of looked at you and said, that people like me do not get to have this. At that time, I had only a small notion of what it meant to me to be a gay man. There were all the stereo-types, and I even tried some of those out. I had to find out for myself what it meant to be gay because I had no one to use as a reference. No mentor, no roll model.
I'm fortunate in that I have had a wealth of life experience to pull from. I've seen a lot of different people, different lifestyles and every kind of poverty and wealth by which said people live out their existences. I've studied the life of CHRIST enough to understand what his core teachings were about. They were about LOVE. I've tried to emmulate that in my life as much as possible. It baffles me that so many who profess to love GOD and CHRIST can be so short sighted as to not see the real purpose of CHRIST like love.
I have had my heart filled with a lot of different feelings lately, from anger to disgust, from pain to sympathy, frustration and even fear. I worry what the future holds for someone like me, and yet, I feel like we are progressing. I know that the opposition has a loud voice and makes a big impression, but I have to try and trust humanity that this will all work out in the end. I need it too. You see, I live with the light of my life. Sure, he frustrates me beyond belief sometimes and we don't always see eye to eye on some things, but every night when I look into that face when I'm so tired and worn down, I feel safe and I know that I'm home. I want to always see that face when I close my eyes at night and when I wake in the morning. I want the satisfaction in knowing that what we have is sacred and that it can not be put asunder by any man. I want to walk down the isle in front of our family and friends and witness to them that we are in love, that we are committed to that love and that we are a family.
You don't need laws to do that. No law can ever define my love for him. But we are just like everyone else, that's what I'm trying to say here I guess. My desire to wed Nick, to be legally recognized and to have the full benefit under the law is simply to have the same rights and privilages as everyone else. We are part of this community, we contribute the same as anyone else, why aren't we given the same in return? I eagerly await the decision and at the same time, I'm dreading it.