There is a chasm between the law, love, marriage and homosexuality in America, but they keep bumping into one another like they’re on the prowl in a gay bar: doing that Stranger Tango — checking one another out from a distance until one makes The Move.
And then they end up going home together to negotiate the rest of the night.
So it is that the rights of the homosexual in Ohio are a negotiation as they are in at least a bagful of other states.
Same-sex marriages are legal in Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Washington, California, New Mexico, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, New York Maine and Hawaii.
On April 14, Judge Timothy Black ruled that Ohio must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and for Ohio not to is “unconstitutional and unenforceable under any circumstances.”
Federal courts have also struck down bans on same-sex marriages in Oklahoma, Michigan, Texas, Utah and Virginia and stays have been issued pending appeals; at least one of these cases is reportedly headed for the Supreme Court, according to USA Today.
However, Black’s ruling cannot force Ohio to allow same-sex marriages to be performed here.
I don’t know what this does to my fledgling sideline business as an ordained officiant with one quite beautiful straight marriage under my belt, but I am sure the gays and lesbians I know who want to be married won’t be lining up at my door, but renting cars to drive to the states where it’s legal to be married so their unions can now be recognized as legal in this state.
For the last time, marriage is for wealth-building heterosexuals maybe interested in making babies — their future generations replenishing the Earth just like the Bible says they’re to do — who will either inherit said wealth or do battle over what to do with all their parents’ leftover junk.
And the same mundane melodrama should be available and extended to homosexuals so inclined to remake themselves in the images of their straight neighbors, family and friends.
But we are a long way from that in Ohio, Dorothy.
First, there’s Judge Black’s stay of his order to strike down Ohio’s ban on same-sex marriages. His stay can be in place pending appeal because it definitely will be.
Governor John Kasich has said — shocking! — he supports Ohio’s ban on gay marriage and is happy the attorney general is appealing Black’s ruling. Meantime, uber civil rights attorney Al Gerhardstein has filed three gay marriage suits in Ohio since June.
My partner and I were casually offered a chance to be named in a class action suit against the state of Ohio.
All we’d have to do, my friend said, is go to the clerk’s office and register for a marriage license, be turned down because we’re thespians (my “play” name for lesbians, get it?), then join the lawsuit. She said the group needed someone outspoken and articulate because, I am sure, there’d be ample opportunity to be named in and then speak to the press.
After my partner and I thought about it separately for a day, we came together and talked about it stealthily and quickly decided — absent of gay guilt and black shame — we did not want to join the suit.
We are not poster children kinds of women.
We’re not apathetic or quiet, either; we exist somewhere not quite in the margins or the shadows.
We think we’re revolutionaries simply for loving one another and for holding hands like sisters when we stroll through Findlay Market, dodging the stares like they’re Molotov cocktails.
We just live and work and play as who we are.
That doesn’t mean we, or any other workaday lesbians or gays like us do not understand the seriousness of these kinds of rights, of these days and times.
I think it is true and it is alright to admit that most Americans receive the direct benefits of small groups of normal people who march, get shot, join lawsuits, lose their jobs and homes and friends and families so everyone else can be a little more comfortable, cloaked in a little more of that Coat of Rights.
So to be gay or lesbian these days is to be a legal scholar who can handle living a guilt-free life if she chooses not to let her sexuality be bartered as the political, and vice versa.
This matrix is one The Straights never have to deal with, a bonus of not being one of us, but nonetheless a paradox of being straight and therefore entitled to all goods and rights of heterosexuality — including ascending the ranks of the lawmakers whose opinions we count on to make us freer.
Ain’t that a kick in the head?
What’s also so American is that Southern, formerly slave-holding states (Virginia), states that favor execution (Texas), states that killed Native Americans for their land (Oklahoma) and arch-conservative states densely populated by religious citizens (Utah) all have had their same-sex marriage bans struck down by federal courts and have cases pending federal rulings that are winding their way through the court systems.
There’s nothing new under the sun in America, including our shifts toward more humane ways of living, because as our populations change so must we slouch toward what is right and true and good.
We do know there will be those — coming sometimes in great numbers — to systemically stop that change as only white, educated men can do.
Then there are white, educated men like Black and Gerhardstein who use their powers for good. This is not an endorsement; rather, it’s a recognition of the righteousness they will leave on this city, this state, on us all long after we’re all dead and gone, and the most beautiful part about it is when that day comes the marriage rights of surviving gays and lesbians will be recognized and their children can fight over their parents’ junk.
CONTACT KATHY Y. WILSON: [email protected]