Monthly Archives: July 2013

Dignity

I have been taking some time off from blogging…I hope you noticed.  It is not that I haven’t had things to say, it’s just that I have come to a conclusion.  This country remains absolutely divided on many key issues and what I have to say means very little, just another voice in the crowd.

When I go off on one of my tirades, I am basically preaching to the choir, my base.  I can feel your heads nodding in approval and love the notes you post here and the emails you send me.  On the flip side, I feel a sting.  I am not going to convert or win anyone over with this blog it seems.  It’s like my nightmare jury, hell bent on a guilty verdict and even if I tap dance  in front of them, I am not going to get an acquittal.

With the decisions by the Supreme Court on June 26th, we are so very close to getting equality under the law for me and my big, gay, American family.  I cried most of the day on the 26th, I just could not stop.  Every time I had a moment to reflect, the flood gates opened up again.  My wife (legally married in CA on October 3, 2008, been together for 13 years) and I are still legally married in California and now we are recognized by the United States federal government.  We gained over 1100 rights with the DOMA decision.   We are Texas residents however and still not recognized in my home state….that is so crazy I won’t even address it today.

What I will address is my real “family.”  The friends that stopped to call me, text me, email me, or just shout across a courtroom words of congratulations on that historic day.  To be a second-class citizen for 50 years, then to be recognized by SCOTUS and restored full dignity, well, I have to say it was in the top 3  most perfect days of my entire life.

I did not receive a single text, email, phone call, and/or hug from my biological family…and it is a large one.  Not one single syllable uttered in my direction for the righting of a wrong that has existed all my life.

“The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.”  Justice Kennedy

Justice Kennedy actually used the word “dignity” nine times in the majority opinion.

Dignity:  The state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect.

Wow, I am worthy of respect.  My marriage is worthy of respect.  My life is worthy of respect.  I write that facetiously, but you know that, don’t you?  Isn’t it a sad statement that a 5-4 decision gave me dignity?  That I celebrated the decision of five people deciding that I and my marriage must have DIGNITY???

I watched my step-son marry a lovely young woman this last Saturday in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  Upon signing the marriage license, the union became legal.  The union was instantly acknowledged by the state of Arkansas and by the every other state in these United States of America.  The union was instantly acknowledged by the United States federal government.

Not one single time during the celebratory weekend did the word “dignity” come up in conversation…for you see, it was a given.  How sickening a populace we would be to deny this young couple and their union our respect.  How dreadful it would be to deny them full acknowledgement and the utmost of our love and encouragement.

As I sat at the reception and sipped my champagne, my inner voice kept repeating the word, “dignity.”   I get it.  I know at least half of you are nodding again…you get it.  Like my business partner coming into the office that morning of the 26th.  A simple congratulations and handshake from this heterosexual man was just not going to suffice.  He said, “Can I hug you?  I just have to hug you!”

The lawyer in me wants to wind this up addressing the other side.  The people that don’t get it, will never get it.  How can you respect or hold your own unions in esteem if you cannot see the dignity in others?  You cannot use the “Paula Deen Defense.”  You cannot blame it on the way things were in the past!

Inequality was just as wrong in the Stonewall bar in 1969 as it was in a Birmingham bus in 1962….or in the state of Texas in 2013.  Right and wrong NEVER change….people hopefully do.  But then again, at the beginning of this blog,  I wrote that I am not changing anyone it seems.

The change has to come from within and oddly depends on the same word, “dignity.”

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