Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Time Is Now

I was walking through Broad Ripple Village on Friday afternoon, just after lunch. It was a nice day; things were already cranking up for the weekend. As I headed toward my car, I saw two young women—maybe college-age, maybe in their twenties—walking toward me holding hands.

I smiled at them, but maybe they didn’t notice because, as they got closer, one called out, “We’re sisters!”

I didn’t quite know how to respond. I was pretty sure they weren’t sisters, but girlfriends. So as I passed them, I smiled again and said, “Well, whatever you are, it’s lovely to see you so happy together.”

Moments later, one of them yelled, “I love you!”

I turned, we waved, and went on into our weekends.

Yesterday, I attended the wedding of a young woman I’ve known since she was a child. Claire was raised by her mom, Nancy, who’s a lesbian, and her mom’s partner, Ann, and nurtured along the way by her gay godfather, Michael—and if anybody still wants to argue that gay people aren’t fit to raise children, they really need to meet her. Not to mention Nancy, Ann, and Michael.

Claire is bright, compassionate, fun-loving, competent, with a dazzling smile.

I got to know her because Michael, who’s been a friend for nearly thirty years, used to bring her to our Thank-God-It’s-FINALLY-Over gatherings on Christmas evening—which involved eating leftovers, viewing “This Is Spinal Tap,” and played pool. Well, most people played pool. I sat, still mostly catatonic, unless Claire came up from playing pool to play with my dollhouse.

It was a very cool dollhouse: Victorian, painted lavender with white trim. It opened from the front, revealing the doll family at work and play. The mom had a study with a tiny typewriter, the kids had an attic playroom with a hobby horse and a miniature copy of The Cat in The Hat. There was no garage, alas, so the dad was stuck in the living room, on the couch. Nobody was in the kitchen, which is pretty much par for the course in our real house. It was, however, stocked with little cokes and teensy bags of chips.

Claire would climb up on a stool (until she got tall enough to reach the top) and move the dolls and furniture around, making up stories. Michael would come up from the basement to watch sometimes, and it was always so lovely to watch him watch her. He couldn’t have loved her more than he’d have loved his own daughter.

I thought of that yesterday when the groomsmen and bridesmaids had taken their places at the altar, Purcell’s “Trumpet Tune” pealed out, and the huge doors at the back of the chapel swung open to reveal Claire in her bridal gown, with Nancy and Michael on either side of her. Light poured into the chapel as they proceeded up the aisle.

All of which is to say that I am really, really tired of people, especially those who think of themselves as advocates of gay rights, continuing to avoid the issue with the argument that “…it’s going to take time.”

Come on, people! This has been a major issue since 1992 when Bill Clinton sold out the gay community with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

By my math, that’s seventeen years! What are we waiting for?

Gay people all over America are raising wonderful children just like Claire. Their families are just like ours—closer sometimes, it seems to me, for the fact that the world makes it so difficult for them to be who they are.

It’s time to give them the rights they deserve.

You know, that “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” thing we’re supposed to stand for?

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