Ah, love, sweet love. And look! It’s Valentine’s Week! That week of hearts, roses and cheesy Valentines. This is the week to sneak that little candy heart to that special person that says "Will U B Mine?"
This is also the week to get married. How romantic would that be! The Fresno Mayor has just declared this Celebrate Marriage Week. How perfect! A week to celebrate that union of love and togetherness; that sacrament called marriage.
You know, I’m not sure how much more snark I can pull off without my head exploding. Because today four same-sex couples went before the Fresno County Clerk and asked for marriage licenses and they were denied. So, this week? Not so much with the celebration. No, it was more of a "we can’t believe you people are still trying to make us sit in the back of the bus didn’t we resolve the civil rights issue forty years ago" kind of party. Except without the party part.
Today was Freedom to Marry Day. There were about two dozen of us there. Some of us were there to support. We had gay supporters and straight supporters. Straight Advocates for Equality (SAFE) had a table full of information about how straight supporters of gay rights can help out their fellow human beings in their quest for equality. We had clergy from reconciling and welcoming churches there. We had Pastor Vickie Armour-Healy from Wesley United Methodist Church and Reverend Bryan Jessup from the Unitarian Universalist Church. Both were thrilled to be there to show their support of gay marriage and sported buttons saying "Straight, but not narrow".
Click on images to enlarge…photos courtesy Chris Jarvis & Vickye Ashton…
However, some of us were there today to get marriage licenses. Four couples in all went in, one at a time and requested a marriage license. Each couple was asked if this was a same-sex couple and each time was given the very rehearsed sounding speech of "In the state of California, blah, blah, blah". Short version? "No, you can’t."
Wait a minute! Isn’t this Celebrate Marriage Week? Isn’t this the week that "we come together this week to reaffirm marriage as the foundation of healthy families and a healthy future for America"? I’m not making this up, folks. It’s the first line of the proclamation that the mayor sent to the city council on Tuesday. So, the city of Fresno says that marriage is the foundation of a healthy family and future for America. Does this mean that they support equal marriage? Because if they don’t, then based on this, one might infer that they don’t think that everyone should have a healthy family and future. I am sure, however, that is not what they mean and that the mayor and city council would never advocate inequality nor an unhealthy family or future. But, to be honest, I would love to hear it directly from one of them.
So, today we held up signs saying "All Men Are Created Equal" and "Liberty and Justice for All". Some held their Marriage Equality signs up proudly and everyone walked tall today. I think that "pride" is more than code for "LGBT". It’s what people have to be when others look down on them. It’s what you have to have when the world keeps slamming a door in your face. Today, we stood together; proudly giving voice to the stand that is equality. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, straight, questioning, queer, clergy and even one of the media. This is not about whether or not gay marriage is right. We KNOW it’s right. This is about when are people going to do the right thing and support it.
Next, year, it’s going to be "yes, you can." And I’m going to be there to see it. THEN we’ll have a party.