Article of faith

[Note 1: comment moderation will either not happen, or will happen in my absentia for much of the day Tuesday, since I’ll be Getting Out The Vote. My apologies. Not for the GOTV stuff, you know. But the time-delayed moderation.  

Note 2: if you’re a Californian and can help today, please contact your local No on 8 field office, or scout for a No on 8 presence at your poll and ask if you can help (folks won’t be working every poll, just the most effective ones to be at).  Everyone volunteering at a poll has been trained, but go ahead and find the Team Captain on site and see what help you can be.]

Our lil’ monkey blurted out a question on Sunday, from her perch atop the kitchen counter watching me make huckleberry pancakes. Because no matter how hellacious it gets, what with being under siege by the religious right, there’s always time for weekend pancakes.

“What does believein mean?”

The beloved and I were both in the room at that moment, but I took the question.  “It means, you think something is true.”

“I believein one thing,” she declared.  “I believein the fairies.”  

We both looked at each other, and her.  What do you say to that?  The moment will come when her belief in fairies (and everything they represent) will be shaken.  All of us old enough to read these words knows it will come. I dread that moment, as if I were in the impotent, slow-motion unreality immediately preceeding an accident.  

She knew where we were going to go.  Some vague, mitigated, have-it-both-ways kind of answer.  As if she could read our minds, the lil’ monkey added, “I mean I believein the bodies of the fairies.  Not their spirits; the bodies.”

I had to hold my tongue.  Thank heavens Mama the optimist was present, so Baba the pessimist could lob the ball.

“I believe in them, too, sweetie,” she said.  “It’s kind of like faith.  You believe in something without being able to see it or prove it.”   The beloved looked directly to me, to whom she was largely sermonizing.

I’ve known the breadth and depth of this woman’s faith for a very long time.  She had faith in our being one anothers’ life partners long before I did, and kept it, when I temporarily misplaced mine.  My favorite illustration of this quality in her comes from our “sweetiemoon,” the trip we took following our commitment ceremony some eleven years ago (it wasn’t a legal marriage, so we didn’t call the trip a “honeymoon”).  

We were in the Gulf of Thailand (thanks to her brother’s generosity), on a 30-foot cabin-cruiser type of motorboat which ferried tourists back and forth between the islands.  We were heading back to Ko Samui from a morning snorkeling at Ko Tao, a wee paradise just waiting to be despoiled by a “Survivor” episode.  Thrill seekers that we were, we were sitting in the open air at the bow, where we could get the best view.  We might have taken a clue from the fact that all the other tourists who had crowded out there with us on the way out, were now in the cabin on the way back.

Not too long into the two-and-a-half hour trip, I began to notice a wall of dark grey cloud ominously advancing over my beloved’s shoulder.  At first it was a strip at the edge of the horizon, but it widened into an ever-thicker band, and was approaching at an alarming rate.  

“Ooooo, sweetie. Sure doesn’t look good,” I said.

The beloved, facing me and the blue sky behind me, couldn’t be more chipper.  “Are you kidding?   It’s gorgeous out!  I can’t see a cloud in the sky!”

Anyone who knows the regularity of  the monsoons in that region would know how this turns out. The rains march in on schedule, and won’t take no for an answer.  Before long, it was coming down in fierce, sometimes nearly horizontal sheets.  Winds rocked the boat side to side, and waves pitched it up and down.  Smack! Down it would come in the center of another wave, as they came faster and bigger.  Terrible sounds issued from the hull.  It was like a “B” movie, with someone just off camera pitching full buckets of water straight at our faces so hard that the beloved’s sunglasses shot off her head.  

Several of the Japanese and Australian tourists discreetly upchucked in the cabin.

All the while, the chap piloting this rig (we called him “Skipper”) couldn’t be more blasé.  Yawn.  The 12:15 monsoon.  Wonder what’s for dinner tonight?  His first mate was a skinny little guy, couldn’t have been more than 15 years old (we called him “Little Buddy”).  He spent the whole time asleep, standing up, with his head resting (and bobbing, and periodically thumping) the shoulder of the Skipper.  I don’t know if he was a narcoleptic, but his siesta was my lifeline.  So long as he kept snoozing, I decided that everything was alright.

Since you are reading these words today, you know how the trip turned out.  Perhaps not surprisingly, the beloved and I took rather different lessons from our tempest-toss’d ferry ride.  

I say: See?  It was a horrendous storm heading our way!  We thought we were done for, countless times before we caught sight of the dock!

And she says: You’re right.  And you know what?  We survived.


fight [next in this marraige equality series: Election day]

26 thoughts on “Article of faith”

  1. You’re in my heart today as you race toward the finish line of this marriage equality marathon. Because of your blog I have been more connected, moved, engaged, and empowered by CA’s fight for marriage equality than I was by the one waged by my home state. Your facts, your commentary, your humor, your hope– all of it has been just amazing to witness and to be, in some small way, a part of. You are a force, and my guess is that you have moved many more than just me. Thank you.

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you. That basically makes every character on the screen worthwhile, and whatever (usually lack of sleep) it took to get it up there.

    Thank you.

    Now off to the polls!

  3. I am thinking of you and your family (and families everywhere) from rainy North Carolina this election day. Your courage and tenacity in this fight has inspired me tremendously and I will watch the election returns tonight with great hope and optimism.

  4. Like your daughter and wife, I’ll be nurturing that tiny voice inside my head that says, “I believe,” throughout the day today. I believe in the basic goodness of people. I believe that good can win over evil. And at the end of the day today, I hope I, and you, and everyone else out there who is campaigning for what is solidly right and true, will be rewarded.

  5. Ah, the audacity of hope. Ditto what everyone else has already said. I hope that today love and hope prevail across the board. And you are an inspiring individual; your passion and faith have moved me more times than I can count.

  6. I’m thinking of you from the other side of the country, thinking of you and all the other amazing activists at the polls and on the sidewalks and intersections. I believe, too.

  7. Beautifully worded as always. Longtime lurker here, but wanted to come out of hiding to let you now that even all the way over here in BFE, Minnesota we are watching, waiting, wishing and hoping. Best to you, your beloved, and your kidlets on this long day of anticipation. May we never stop believing in faeries.

  8. I was up at 3 to soothe our daughter and had to go check the vote totals, which, at 86% of precincts reporting, aren’t looking good. My tears were just kind of seeping out of my blurry, burny, reading-the-computer-without-my-glasses-on eyes (Charlie Brown: “I’m so tired, if I cried, the tears wouldn’t run down my face, they’d walk”) until I read this, and when I got to the last two paragraphs I sobbed. But in a good way. Thanks.

  9. Change takes time but it *IS* moving forward — always forward. *Remember* that. One family at a time, it moves forward. I literally see it around me.

    One of my friends, my daughter’s godmother and guardian, said to me this past summer, in referring to herself and her partner, “We’re the new blacks”. I thought about her words this morning, because you know what? Now there’s a black man in the White House. Think about that.

    Change continues to move forward, do *NOT* lose that fundamental truth, even if change didn’t sprout wings and sprint last night.

  10. I’m so, so sorry. Such bitterness to be mixed in with the sweet. So ironic and sad, to have such injustice mixed into such a hopeful, historic day. And can I just say, so weird and wrong to be able to change a constitution with 50 + 1. So weird and wrong for minority rights to be put to a vote like that. This is what Supreme Courts are for. This is what constitutions are for.

    We will wait for you while you grieve.

  11. I probably said it best here ( but felt the ned to show my support and disapointment all at once here as well. The war is not over, and I am still clinging to the hope of a few hundred thousand uncounted “NO” votes lurking somewhere yet to be discovered, but even if they are not found in time to save the day, we will survive this one too. One day, hopefully in my lifetime, we will no longer be 2nd class in our own country.

  12. i keep checking to see if you’ve posted, post-results. as if by the printing of your words, i might be able to give you a hug over the internet through your presence. but you’re not here yet. my thoughts and prayers are with you and yours and the hundreds of thousands (including myself) who are negatively affected by micro-mindedness. Peace be with you.

  13. Thanks to all, for your hard work, your generosity, and your kind (and encouraging) words now.

    Am digesting the current outcome (a narrow overturning of Supreme Court ruling by popular vote), while awaiting the final, official outcome. Which may, or may not, or may, continue to mean that our Obama parade is rained upon. Though of course the parade still is happening.

    m2inVT, they have yet to total the provisional and absentee ballots, which, if they mirror current results, of course wouldn’t change things. And if they didn’t, they might. Kate Kendall isn’t conceding and considers media reports of a “call” too early. Here are three relevant press releases today, from the NCLR site:

    • Statement by No on Prop 8 Campaign on Election Status

    Roughly 400,000 votes separate yes from no on Prop 8 out of 10 million votes tallied.

    Based on turnout estimates reported yesterday, we expect that there are more than 3 million and possibly as many as 4 million absentee and provisional ballots yet to be counted.

    Legal Groups File Lawsuit Challenging Proposition 8, Should it Pass

    The petition charges that Proposition 8 is invalid because the initiative process was improperly used in an attempt to undo the constitution’s core commitment to equality for everyone by eliminating a fundamental right from just one group lesbian and gay Californians. Proposition 8 also improperly attempts to prevent the courts from exercising their essential constitutional role of protecting the equal protection rights of minorities. According to the California Constitution, such radical changes to the organizing principles of state government cannot be made by simple majority vote through the initiative process, but instead must, at a minimum, go through the state legislature first.

    California Will Continue to Honor Marriages of Same-Sex Couples Who Married Before the Passage of Prop 8

    So at the worst, we have 18,000 people in lifeboats paddling away from the Titanic. A mixed blessing indeed. At the best, the as-yet uncounted ballots — in the most optimistic of scenarios — actually defeat the measure, by a hair’s breadth.

  14. My heart’s with you, as far away as I am (Argentina).
    Prop 8 might not affect me directly, but I’m still crestfallen for the possibility of a loss. I was SO sure that love would conquer all!

    (But I guess love still WILL conquer all, even with the government against it. I’m so proud of what all you parents do for your kids in the face of adversity. No amendment will take THAT away.)

  15. Thank you. Do cry for me, Argentina, I feel compelled to say, in a fit of perhaps even tasteless self-pity.

    But thank you.

    I was going to say you can’t imagine, but actually you truly can (imagine) what all of us LGBT parents in this state thought, upon sight of our kids this morning (70,000+ of ’em raised in our households). But their enduring love is powerful, powerful balm. As is the love so very very many of us all exchanged throughout this battle.

    Who the hell knows what’s up. Looks like the San Francisco, the Los Angeles, and the Santa Clara City Attorneys are filing suit, too, along with NCLR, EQCA, and the ACLU, to invalidate the proposition. SF City Attorney Dennis Herrera:

    “The issue before the court today is of far greater consequence than marriage equality alone,” Herrera said. “Equal protection of the laws is not merely the cornerstone of the California Constitution, it is what separates constitutional democracy from mob rule tyranny. If allowed to stand, Prop 8 so devastates the principle of equal protection that it endangers the fundamental rights of any potential electoral minority — even for protected classes based on race, religion, national origin and gender.

    Truly, the constitutional precedent ranges from chilling to horrifying. We’d all need to look up the Mormon and Roman Catholic To Do lists, and then prepare for each of those items to be dispatched by proposition in rapid order, from next lowest-hanging fruit to next.

  16. I do not speak for all Canadians but I will pass on the reactions of my family and most of my co-workers when I say it may be cold up here but ” everyone has the right to be as miserable or happy in marriage as the next person ” You should be able to KEEP this right in your state. Please keep fighting! If you grow weary know that the welcome mat is out…as long as you like beer, hockey and socialized medicine.

  17. I have been gifted with a supportive and understanding environment in which I can deal with the emotional aftermath of this. I’ve been surrounded by people expressing their condolences and disgust. My heart goes out to those who haven’t been so lucky, and instead are surrounded by people they suspect and know to have voted to take away their rights, people who are openly gleeful at successfully spending millions to oppress others.

    Mostly I’ve read the nascent court challenges to Prop 8 with a healthy dose of skepticism. Reading the comments, though, something dawns on me. I hesitate to give it voice, because my heart is hesitant to hope today, which is why I think I’ll take it for a spin here before setting it loose on my own blog.

    In terms of setting precedent, and long term benefits, having Prop 8 be struck down by a court decision now might actually be better than if it had been defeated. Don’t get me wrong, right now I’d rather be spared the anguish. But, if this crazy plan works out, we could have in our hands a definitive affirmation by the highest state court that, at least in California, it is simply not permissible for one group to impose its will on minorities, at the expense of the latter’s basic rights. A general decree to that effect would be infinitely more powerful than never having that question addressed due to Prop 8 being defeated in the election. It would safeguard against dastardly behavior such as this on many fronts, not just Prop 8.

    That doesn’t take away the sting of knowing that over half the voters decided we’re subhuman (LA County let me down, hard), and it’s a risky and uncertain road. But the fledgling hope that this lost battle can end up helping to win the war…it’s a small comfort on an otherwise chilly day.

  18. I stumbled across this blog about a year ago, after being assigned a term paper on equal rights. I chose the topic of gay marriage for a mélange of reasons. My parents raised me on the crazy theory that, if you fight for something hard enough, you will achieve it. It wasn’t a paper that weighed heavily on my grade for my social theory class, but my need to perfect said paper was obsessive. Ever since that fateful week of red bull, cheap donuts and research I have come to your blog more than I have come to In and Out burger (which is saying a lot for a college student). I happen to be fortunate enough to attend SF State where, if I threw a rock into the quad, I would have hit a no on Prop 8ter. However, it didn’t seem to be enough. I have let you and your wonderful family down I am afraid. I keep replaying it over in my head, again and again: if only I had done more. If only I had gone home more to visit my parents in the conservative town in which they reside. If only I would have stood with my sign just a few minutes more, perhaps I would have won someone over. But, tonight I attended the city hall rally, and I did so with your family in mind. I did so for all of our future rights. I have hope, and I am living in the words of our president-elect: Yes We Can!

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