When I was in high school I liked to think of what I would have been like if I had been a teenager in the 1960s and not the 1980s. To me the 1980s were all about "me" and much less about considering the world as a whole. I imagined myself in long skirts, peasant blouses carrying bead bags and wearing clogs rather than being stuck in the preppy clothes of the day with big hair rather than long and straight.
Yet, I never did anything about it. I never really stood up to speak up - at least not in high school.
Then came college. I still imagined I could make a difference, maybe jump back in time to 1969 and attend Woodstock, maybe do something good in the world. So this time I tried. I wrote an editorial for my college paper that got me in a lot of trouble with everyone I knew - which pretty much meant the entire campus since I went to school with fewer than 1200 people. I still stand by that editorial, but today I know that how I wrote it was far more hurtful than the views I wrote about. (For those wondering - writing an anti-hazing article on a campus that is 98% Greek can be a bit tricky...choose your words far more carefully than I did, please.)
After college came the real world - the world where money mattered, as did health insurance, savings accounts, car payments, credit card payments and finally mortgage payments. This is not a world where you want to piss too many people off - at least that was my thought. So, for the most part I have kept my thoughts and feelings to myself...ok, not entirely - but I haven't stood on as big of a platform as I could potentially stand on. I haven't yelled at the top of my lungs, and I certainly haven't done everything I could to make a difference.
But last night and today I saw again a glimpse of what it must have been like to live in the 1960s - albeit a lot more calm in some ways. This year, 2011, has been a year of massive change throughout the world. In parts of the world people are letting their governments know that they were done with the days of single party "elections." In other parts of the world, large groups of people are standing up for their rights - their rights to drive (women in Saudia Arabia) or vote (most of the middle east it seems) their rights in general (China is trying) and their rights to marry whomever the Hell they wish with the blessing of the government (here in the good ole USA).
It is rather interesting to me the timing of the vote in New York that has made it the latest, and largest, state to step onto the bandwagon and realize that everyone deserves the same rights, responsibilities and access to benefits. That families are made in many different colors. Who is to say that two men, or two women, or a man and a woman do not make up a family? In this world where marriage has been reduced by so many to words on a page - perhaps this is just what we need to remind ourselves that marriage is a right, a responsibility and, in 5 states and the District of Columbia, a luxury. Perhaps this vote in New York is what we need to remind ourselves of just how sacred and precious marriage is.
How finding that one person you want to brush your teeth with at night can change your life forever.
So this is me, stepping onto a soap box. Who cares how the couple next door to you is comprised. What matters is that they love each other, care for each other and have the right to be with each other.
Support marriage equity now.