Posts Tagged ‘love’

The Relationship Vote

May 19, 2011
This piece was originally published in the Grand Rapids Herald-Review
I’ve always thought that our constitution was supposed to enshrine our rights as citizens of this state and this country. So when I heard that the Minnesota Legislature was attempting to pass a bill that would put marriage rights of gay and lesbian couples up to a vote during the 2012 election, effectively making a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage, I thought that was pretty strange. More specifically, I thought it was outrageous!

First of all, and I see this as something that is very difficult to argue with, it is an incredible waste of time. As it currently stands, same-sex marriage is not legal in the state of Minnesota. The legislative session ends before Memorial Day weekend, and there is still a $5 billion deficit that needs dealing with, but instead the Senate and House are wasting their time debating and having public hearings on whether or not something that is currently illegal should be REALLY illegal.

What’s more unfortunate is that, regardless of the precedent of 28 other states passing similar constitutional amendments, our governing bodies would actively pursue the wanton discrimination of a large percentage of the population of the state, not to mention a member of the State Senate itself.

During the Senate hearing on the bill, Senator Scott Dibble held up a picture of he and his husband on the floor of the Senate on the first day of session, and he asked “What’s so different about us? What’s so dangerous about us?”

Same-sex marriage is allowed in five states in this country. So the question has to be; how has this negatively impacted states such as Massachusetts and Iowa?

But above I disregarded the 28 states that have passed similar amendments, so let’s just never mind what other states are doing. With that in mind, I would ask; how will this bill help Minnesota families?

Will it help create jobs? Will it balance the budget? Will it curb bullying in schools? The answer to those first two questions is ‘no’. There is no data that suggests that making something that’s already against the law against the law forever will have any sort of change on matters it didn’t affect anyway. But how about bullying? Anyone who isn’t aware of the high number of gay and lesbian teens who have committed suicide because of the negative ways they’ve been treated simply because they are gay (and others who were simply perceived to be gay), is either in denial or has been hiding under a rock. So honestly, what do you think this amendment is going to say to the next generation?

Senator Warren Limmer, the author of this bill, has said that the people of Minnesota have a right to vote on this issue, and that with a year and a half between now and the election, they will have the opportunity to have a conversation about it. I personally think Senator Dibble responded to this best, so I’ll just quote him:

“We’re not going to have a conversation. We’re going to have an ugly, angry, divisive campaign… And you know what that campaign is going to look like? It’s going to be about creating disinformation, about half-truths and mis-truths, and complete outright lies about what my family is all about… It’s going to create conjecture, fear, and will divide Minnesotans during this critical time in our economy when we need to be pulling people together.”

The proponents of this bill are quick to say that the people have a right to vote on their definition of marriage. First of all, I call bologna on that. There’s no choice here. The percentage of Minnesotans who think that marriage should be inclusive to all consenting adults have no box to check. The options are simply the status quo or the status quo forever. And that is beside the point that this argument is discrimination disguised as liberty. Limmer and the other proponents of this bill talk about the rights of the people to decide, but they’re deciding on the rights of others. So what about the rights of those whose personal lives are infringed with this vote? If this isn’t making sense, imagine if your marriage or your relationship with your significant other was put up to a vote by those who don’t even know you?

Our country has a history of bigotry against various types of couples, whether they be Lutherans and Catholics marrying, or whites and blacks marrying. It wasn’t that long ago that it was illegal for a black man to marry a white woman in a large number of states in this country. And people were just as adamant about that concept as they are today about same-sex marriage. So what has changed? We’ve simply picked a new group to look down upon; a new group on which to attempt to deny rights.

The argument for same-sex marriage isn’t anything new or bizarre. It is simply asking that consenting adults, who would be allowed to marry someone of the opposite sex, be allowed to marry someone of the same sex, because they found a special person that they want to spend the rest of their lives with. No one is looking for extra rights. Just the same rights as anyone else who found that person who completes them, who will stick with them through good times and bad.

As of this writing, the House has yet to vote on the bill. By all speculations, it seems as if it is going to pass. I hope it doesn’t. I think it would be a shameful mark on the state’s history; a state that has a long history of compassion and inclusiveness. And the ensuing “conversation” will only create more hate and discrimination, because our government has decided that this particular group of Minnesotans aren’t deserving of equality.

Last Night

March 13, 2011

Where are the friends I’ve seen, drunkenly fucking

to the place we commonly

refer to as regret?

Are they staying up past an inflicted curfew,

only to fall asleep on neighbor’s couches

before they’re able to become

one with themselves?

 

It happened to me, watching art films,

forgetting to masturbate.

The next mornings always come.

Coffee, a simple breakfast, trying

hard to not spill on yesterday’s clothes.

I read a biography of someone I admire

who has seen worse than I have.

 

These are things that happen to me

when left alone, where I attempt to

part my thoughts with a comb so

I look good for pseudo-hipsters

aiming for a pure democracy.

It’s apparent I’ve been influenced.

How about you?

How about your parents?

What is the driver of your machine?

When you figure it out, process your databanks

with this in mind and cry, yes cry,

 

at how little of yours is yours, and

you’ll soon forget that it was you

who invented forgetting to masturbate.

There is no obscene trash;

it’s all been recycled.

 

And maybe, by the time you finish your coffee

in your clothes that smell of sleep

& missed opportunities & sleep,

you’ll remember that the night before

was never just yours,

and you’ll take solace in this notion.

Then forget any of this ever happened so

you can ask yourself again the next day,

perpetual novelty for the mind to boost

an intellectual ego gifted to make

the same mistake gloriously, just

to feel a little life every now & again.

Thoughts of a Sentimental Man

January 31, 2011

There’s a cat in the other room

scratching furiously at the door,

obviously looking for someone to

converse with.

If I were a sentimental man,

I’d use this locked-up cat

as an analogy for my heart,

trapped & desperate  to get out.

This melodramatic scene

at best would get me laid

if I told it to the right girl

in just the right situation,

waxing sentimental poetic

under a full moon.

This poor girl. Falling for

such cheap tricks from

a sexual predator.

The analogy could then

be used to describe her,

trapped in guilt

for allowing herself to

be so easily taken advantage of.

The cat in the other room

is quiet now. Obviously

at peace with the loneliness and guilt.

Wild-West Photo of My Wife and I: Apartment Items

February 24, 2010

At first it was exciting to get dressed up in a funny garb

that was actually too big for me, but you couldn’t notice as well

when I was sitting down. Here we were, newlyweds on the prowl

of Mackinac Island, touring the fudge shops on this destination

solely founded on shopping. This was our souvenir.

And a pound of fudge.

We waited our turn, dressed like gambler bandits

Jesse James would think were his type of people

and we tried a couple different poses, nothing to drastic,

to try and get it right. It was for our honeymoon, after all.

Finally, I sat, held a faux gun at profile uncomfortably up to chin level

while she put her leg up on my chair to look sassy along with her own gun

which we found out later that you could hardly tell she had her leg up,

but who knew? The photographers were just college students

happy to have a summer job in a place where everyday was a celebration

of something.

And a pound of fudge.

They clicked the camera a couple times while we altered ourselves a little

and boom! we were done. We

got dressed back in normal civilian clothes, picked the one we wanted,

came back after about an hour of fudge eating to grab our print,

paid the lady, and we were off. Off with our obviously digital, sepia-tinted,

crystal-crisp photo of two people who’ve obviously bathed recently

and I use this photo to remember all the aspects of our honeymoon,

good and bad, while it hangs on the wall opposite our bed.

It goes without saying that some nights I try not to look at it.

6-word poem IV

February 23, 2010

Making love is hard. Better practice.

6-word poem II

February 23, 2010

Wedding dress used once. Dusted off.

Letter to Congress

February 22, 2010

I’m a lifelong resident of Minnesota and very proud to be so.

But that’s not why I’m writing to you today.

The other night, I had a long conversation with a dear friend of mine, who, because he’s gay, is unable to be with the man he loves because of restrictive immigration laws. They met in Florida a few years back, but it all ended when a work visa expired and his partner had to return to Jamaica. It was a very emotional conversation, and whereas I knew of his predicament, it wasn’t until that night that I felt the full gravity of what he goes through.

I’ve heard many arguments on both sides regarding why gays and lesbians should or shouldn’t be able to marry. Seeing those arguments unceremoniously presented on paper says one thing, but it’s a different matter all together when you see how these decisions made at the government level affect real people trying to be happy in lives that are looked down upon because of who they are. I’m a strong proponent for GLBT rights, but that night I had a newfound disgust in the pit of my stomach for the plight of so many citizens of this country that we proclaim to be the freest nation on Earth.

As a straight man, who’s been married and is currently going through a divorce, I hadn’t realized exactly what it is I take for granted. Almost on a whim, my wife and I decided to get married. We never thought twice about our ability to do so. So when I saw my friend, finally presenting the agony he’s been feeling for so long, I felt truly ashamed to be able to have certain rights, and take them for granted, while he could only yearn for them.

I’ve decided that I am not going to remarry. If in the near or distant future I find myself with a woman who I love, I will be with her, but I will not reenter an institution that is biased against so many. Not until marriage is an institution that is inclusive to all consenting adults.

At minimum, I urge you to support the Uniting American Families Act that will allow my friend to sponsor his partner. But truly, I urge you to do all in your capacity as a representative from Minnesota to create equality for all citizens: straight or gay.

Thank you very much for your time.

(If you agree that there are unjust laws in this country, I ask each and every one of you to do at least the minimum you can, and write a letter yourself.)