You know, I get that the mood of a candlelight vigil, complete with a moment of silence, is supposed to be a somber occasion. Especially when the next day equality and the slippery slope of mob rule are facing the microscope. So, I should feel the solemnity of the occasion, right? Then why do I feel so giddy?
Maybe it’s the 150 people that turned out that night. Maybe it was the lack of hatred pointed our way that night (no one protesting us). Maybe it was the look on the faces of these people, the look that said, “We can DO this!” That whether or not the State Supreme court votes with us or against us, this is not the end. And maybe, most of all, it was that absolutely invigorating feeling that comes with knowing, with 100% certainty, that you are on the right moral side.
Can’t help it. Moral conviction makes me giddy.
But, I should point out that I am not happy about the reason I was there. I’m not happy that thousands of same-sex couples across the state and the across the country are anxiously waiting to find out the status of their marriages. I’m certainly not pleased that millions more are watching and waiting to find out if they, too, will ever have the chance to marry the person they fall in love with. And, I must admit, I am as far away from happiness as a person can be that we even have to DISCUSS whether or not a protected class of people should have access to a right deemed a “basic civil right” (Loving v. Virginia 1967).
While I am perfectly willing to stand alone, no one can deny the power of camaraderie. No one can deny that standing side by side, arms linked together, makes a powerful force to be reckoned with. I believe that force is what the other side has going for it.
They don’t seem afraid to be seen. They aren’t afraid to yell out their views (even the twisted ones). Personally, I think part of the reason is they feel united. They don’t feel like they are out there all alone, chanting into the wind. They feel huge and powerful and pretty darn proud of themselves for passing a piece of legislation that will “protect” families.
Yeah, what they are never willing to talk about, however, are the families they left dangling out in the wind. The families that have fought for recognition, for respect. These aren’t just couples they tried to destroy on November 4th, they also tried to tear down their families by saying their moms or dads couldn’t have that institution that was SO important that we had to have a whole week dedicated to it here in Fresno. I would love to see them try to explain their actions to a six-year-old child. Then, I would pay money to see them get owned by that six year old, when the child says, with a puzzled look on his or her face, “But, isn’t marriage just about love?” Because love is what these children are taught. Jim Franklin, what are you teaching them?
Back to the Eve of Justice. What I’m trying to say is that at a time when it feels as though we, the supporters of marriage equality, are out here by ourselves, when it seems there are more of them than us, that it felt good to stand side by side, united for justice.
Both my anger at the system that has failed my LGBT brothers and sisters and my happiness with those who are pulling together to fight it, are useful. Anger alone will destroy a person, no matter how valid it is. Happiness alone will not push a person to the lengths they may need to go to win this battle. We need both of those emotions to fight against this injustice and not fight with each other.
After watching three hours of a depressing courtroom battle that didn’t look promising, I’m going to hang onto that feeling from Wednesday night. Something tells me I may need it to get me through, but I hope I’m wrong.