Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How do I still go through with it?

So, now I am questioning whether or not I want to get married. One of the reasons I felt okay about this decision was that for a short time, gay marriage was allowed in California. Now that things have changed I may change my mind. I know, everyone keeps telling me, "Do what makes you happy," and "Don't let that ruin your happiness" but honestly, I am not putting all my happiness eggs in the marriage basket! I am perfectly happy without it. I wanted to get married for logistical issues and also for the fun of throwing the party for all of our friends and family. Well, I can throw the party anyway and maybe there are other ways around the logistical issues. Where do I go from here? This is the email I sent out announcing that Andrew & I decided to get married. I thought maybe reading it again would give me some answers. It didn't!
Hello Everyone, Let me start this email explaining a few things I have touched upon before with many of you but now I have taken the time to put into words that truly do explain my feelings in the best way that I can.

Andrew and I have been together for almost 8 years now and the question frequently pops up.... "When are the two of you getting married?" I often give a brief, sometimes slightly longer explanation about my feelings but I am often so frustrated at the judgmental tone and/or lack of open-mindedness that is (sometimes) present I am typically unable to get my message across the way that I want.

Andrew and I have chosen not to get married for so many reasons, none of which have anything to do with a lack of commitment to one another. Ralph Waldo Emerson describes it most eloquently in his poem, Celesital Love, "There need no vows to bind, whom not each other seek but find. They give and take no pledge or oath, nature is the bond of both." The longer excerpt I find the most suiting (and the easier read) is at the end of this [blog].

Marriage is a very exclusive institution, snubbing others with different religious beliefs or sexual orientation, not to mention the gender discrimination, restrictions, assumptions and definitions that I simply do not want imposed upon me. Considering the social, political and economic foundations marriage was built upon as well as the modern pressures, role assumptions and blind consumerism that stalks married couples, I have been completely content with our decision to express our beliefs by not getting married.

All that being said, both of us feel that the time has come to re-assess the current state of things and look ahead to our future together. This has been an exciting year for Andrew and me. It began early with the purchase of our first home at the end of 2007, then new jobs at the beginning of 2008 bringing some nice benefits, investment opportunities and a little financial security in this unstable economy. We have further plans under way right now, which we hope will bring us even closer to our goals.

In March, we had a discussion about what we have accomplished and where we would like to go from here. While I do still feel the same way about marriage, I feel more confident (maybe this comes with age) that I can do anything in life and with a little out-of-the-box thinking, make it entirely my own - and I mean 'anything', marriage included. So, needless to say, Andrew and I have decided to get married! We are both determined to do this in a way that will speak to who we are as individuals and as a couple. We're not sure when, but it will probably happen in the next year or two.

We are excited to do something 'official' to celebrate the fact that we want to spend the rest of our lives together. We will also have the peace-of-mind that comes from some of the benefits of marriage, ie. the 'in case something terrible happens' factor, as well as the needs that will arise with any children we may decide to have. Some people in our lives already know about this but I am still sending this email, just because it gives the full-picture about our thoughts and feelings.

Also, I wanted to share with everyone some official proof for those of you who just can't believe that we're actually going to do it. It's the ring that I picked out, along with Andrew. I love this ring for 2 reasons - I got to pick it out myself (I wanted something classic but unique that also reflects my own style and taste) and we used Andrew's Grandmother's diamond as the center stone. She is someone who meant a lot to him and his family and I am honored to wear the diamond. I am also relieved that I did not have to make the difficult decision of purchasing a diamond and supporting that violent industry. Andrew will pick out his own ring too and will use stones from his grandmother's ring (if he picks a ring that has stones in it).

I am excited to share this news with my amazing friends and family and I want to thank you in advance for all of your well-wishes. We will keep everyone posted as things develop and plans begin. Like I said, we're not sure about how or when we would like the ceremony and celebration to take place but we're going to take it slow in figuring it out. After all, we've waited this long!

An excerpt fromCelesital Love by Ralph Waldo Emerson

There need no vows to bind
Whom not each other seek but find.
They give and take no pledge or oath,
Nature is the bond of both.
No prayer persuades, no flattery fawns,
Their noble meanings are their pawns.
Plain and cold is their address,
Power have they for tenderness,
And so thoroughly is known
Each others' purpose by his own,
They can parley without meeting,
Need is none of forms of greeting,
They can well communicate
In their innermost estate;
When each the other shall avoid,
Shall each by each be most enjoyed.
Not with scarfs or perfumed gloves
Do these celebrate their loves,
Not by jewels, feasts, and savors,
Not by ribbons or by favors,
But by the sun-spark on the sea,
And the cloud-shadow on the lea,
The soothing lapse of morn to mirk,
And the cheerful round of work.
Their cords of love so public are,
They intertwine the farthest star.
The throbbing sea, the quaking earth,
Yield sympathy and signs of mirth;
Is none so high, so mean is none,
But feels and seals this union.
Even the tell Furies are appeased,
The good applaud, the lost are eased.

Gay is the New Black

A blog from my MySpace page...

Gay is the New Black - This is a phrase I have jokingly used for years now. Today however, it is no joke.

My joy over the milestone of electing our nation's first black president is diminished this morning over the unwelcoming news that this country has now officially chosen a new group to discriminate against… gay people.

Here in California we voted on proposition 8, an amendment to our constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman. As of this moment, it appears the proposition will pass (although not all of the precincts have reported) meaning gay marriage will NOT be allowed. I don't know how to respond to this. I would expect this in conservative states but not in California. This makes me not want to get married (I haven't made any decisions yet). After all, if I saw a restaurant with a sign out front that said "no blacks allowed" I would not go into that restaurant.

We are a nation that elected our first black president last night. Voters overwhelmingly turned out to support a man who stands up for the rights of ALL people. So, considering he earned the majority, this leads me to believe that some of these same people who voted for Obama ALSO voted to ban gay marriage. Who are you people and what are you thinking? I must place blame where blame is due… on the "Yes for Prop. 8" campaign for endorsing discrimination, exploiting religion, creating fear and misleading the public.

The campaign against gay marriage brought up children over and over again. There was the fear that gay marriage will be taught in schools. First of all, I have to say that idea is ridiculous! Who reading this was taught anything about marriage in school? Here's what my interpretation of this situation: it was brought up in a couple of classrooms because the kids started talking about it. Maybe there was a kid with gay parents or a book in the library about it and a student asked the teacher what this was all about, so the teacher explained it. That isn't "teaching gay marriage" in schools. However, this is a civil rights issue so I can see gay marriage being taught in that regard – about the history and evolution of civil rights in our society. But you know… so what??? Why does this matter? Why do we care if our children know about homosexuality (and all of them will) anyway? What will it harm? Will they all turn gay? Will their heads explode? Someone please provide me with an example of how a child was harmed by homosexuality (and don't even go there with child molestation because being turned on by sexual images of a child and being turned on by sexual images of an adult of the same sex are two completely different things)! Is it really that hard to tell our kids, "Most of us fall in love with someone of the opposite gender but some people fall in love with someone of the same gender… and that's okay if it's what makes them happy" < what is wrong with this explanation?

I must also address religion in this discussion. How on earth can people use religion (particularly Christianity) as an argument for this? Is it not widely known that marriage is not simply a religious institution? Has no one heard of a civil ceremony? Basically it is being expressed that a large group of people cannot get married because it doesn't follow the religion of another large group of people (though there are gay Christians… Hello? Love thy neighbor, right?). Is this fair? If you don't want to believe in gay marriage because it goes against your religion then fine… whatever floats your boat! But don't use your boat to drown others with your personal beliefs! I am an atheist. I don't think that love between two people has anything to do with God. I don't think that God should even be mentioned in a wedding ceremony because I think it should be about the two individuals who love each other. Yeah they may love God or Allah or Buddha or even Satan too but hey, I also love ice cream and I wouldn't mention that in my wedding either! So, these are my beliefs… do I think its right to start a movement to change all wedding ceremonies? HELL NO! NOT IN A MILLION YEARS WOULD I EVER EVEN DREAM OF THAT! And neither should the other side!

So, what do we do now? Can our State Supreme Court overturn this decision? Should they? It is clear discrimination, right? It goes against our national constitution & bill of rights, doesn't it? When does our government step in? Should our government save us from ourselves in cases like this? I want to say yes so that my side will win but I have to say no because that isn't how the world should be. Here is what needs to happen: this needs to go on the next ballot and the people need to be educated about how dangerous this is. We all need to be reminded about the plight of the Jewish people, black people, physically & mentally disabled people and see just how this fits in. We need to be reminded that marriage has constantly evolved… women used to be categorized as "property" in marriage and interracial marriage used to be illegal for cryin' out loud! Those of us who support gay marriage need to have real discussions with those who don't. Don't try to sway others' core values, but just point out that their beliefs shouldn't dictate another's rights.

We must stand up for one another and for what's right, even if the group we're standing for is nothing like us. We have learned this over and over throughout history. I'll end this post with a quote (like I always like to do). This one is on the wall at the holocaust museum in Washington DC. I know that these two issues are very different but the principle is the same:

"When they came for the gypsies, I did not speak, for I am not a gypsy.
When they came for the Jews, I did not speak, because I wasn't a Jew.
When they came for the Catholics, I did not speak, for I am not a Catholic.
And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak."

Ask yourself, what could society discriminate against you for? Wouldn't you want someone to stand up for you? Do what's right, people!

My Response to Some Obama Skeptics

Here is the background on this post - My friend Kymberli expressed that she may have been undecided about the 2008 election but she wanted to hear from Obama supporters because she received some forwards from McCain supporters about Obama not providing his proof of citizenship and that he is involved with terrorists, etc... I admire her for seeking out info from the other side and I do love hearing the sound of my own voice (even in my head while typing). It's hard for me to stiffle myself when NOT asked for my opinion... impossible to do so when asked for it. I typed this great, long post but I waited to long to click the send button and I was logged out of MySpace or the page timed out or something and it got deleted. I was so sad that my type-written passion was flushed but I sucked it up and instead I reponded to other posts.

Here is one post from my friend's page - someone responding to the Obama supporters:
the second comment, with reference to factcheck [about Obama's birth certificate being falsified] ......ummmm, that was addressed in the video and shown to be pretty sketchy. The day he releases his documents is the day I will believe he is not a total fraud. Not so tough? right? I will agree that I am not fully right or fully left winged, but the fact that Obama could win this election is terrifying to me and I think that too many people are willing to passively overlook his corruption and shady past just because of his "campaign promises." Now lets be honest.......people talk a big game to get elected, and how many of them bring the change they promise......VERY FEW IF ANY!
Any if we are really honest and look back in history, we will see very clearly that Bush is not completely to blame for America's troubles. It started back with Carter and each President since has had various issues. But to say that everything is Bush's fault, is ignorant and naive.

Posted by Mary on Oct 22, 2008 10:09 PM

My response (I changed her name just in case):
Hi Mary... you make an excellent point about "campaign promises" and both sides do this to us. We can't let tactics sway us! I also must admit that is ignorant to blame everything on Bush but I am pretty confident using the word "mostly" when it comes to blaming him. After all, the president does choose his cabinet... the secretary of education, defense, treasury, housing, energy, etc. An intelligent choice is crucial for those positions and many problems could have been prevented during his administration if he had made better decisions.

Here is where you lose me, though (and I'm sure many other Obama supporters as well) - in using words like "corruption" and "shady past." Are you referring to some contributors to his campaign? Are you referring to some people he has worked with? If so, is it really fair to judge him based on that? If so, we would have to use that criteria against EVERY politician... but we don't because it's just not right. Aren't there people you know who have done bad things? Would you want to be judged for that? Maybe you are referring directly to Obama's actions, so which ones? I just don't see how someone can be viewed as potentially sinister who has spent his life doing good. He has been a director for organizations that improved poverty & education, created tenants rights organizations, college-prep courses for at-risk youth & job training programs in neighborhoods that had no resources before. Not to mention he used his law degree to defend civil rights and even taught constitutional law... so he clearly has an exceptional grasp of the basis of our entire government.Do we really think these are the actions of a sinister man? Does he have some grand plan? Is this how a liar or potential terrorist behaves? Wouldn't he stay unnoticed if he had some shady scheme so he could carry it out without being caught?

When it comes to debunking rumors about things like his birth certificate, I would check www. snopes. com for that. They provide the source of the rumor and explain exactly why it isn't true. In Obama's case, I think it started because the seal wasn't completely visible on the copy posted online. The "big picture" issue with this (and the reason why it is in fact so tough to respond to) is that our world history and especially US History shows a trend here as to why Obama is being targeted like this. It's not because he is black, it's because of his name. Obama knows how Jews have always been treated because of last names, how we treated people with Japanese names during WWII and how we treat Muslim names today and he cannot show any respect to this way of thinking by giving in to it. www. politifact. com puts it best:

"And you can't help but ask: How do you prove something to people who come to the facts believing, out of fear or hatred or maybe just partisanship, that they're being tricked?

... I don't think there is an answer to that question. He can't exactly go door to door and show everyone his birth certificate. Even if he did, there are those that would say, "Well, that's fake." How far do we take this until we are satisfied?

Mary, I am 100% certain that your concerns come from a genuine place in your heart and in your mind but please, I beg you to consider that our ideas & opinions are not formed in a vaccum. They are shaped by the world around us, our friends, the media, our parents beliefs, etc. These political campaigns (on both sides) use vague, subjective and manipulative terminology like "corruption" to guide us toward particular conclusions. I implore you to take information from both sides, educate yourself from different sources and try not to listen to wannabe facts based on assumptions or fears. Many people may disagree with Obama's viewpoints but the idea that this man is anything but decent and genuine deserves a 2nd thought... and a 3rd and a 4th!

I'll end this with direct quotes FROM McCain ABOUT Obama at his rallies:

"I have to tell you, he is a decent person, and a person that you do not have to be scared as President of the United States"

"He's a decent family man...[a] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues. That's what this campaign is all about."

Posted by Christina on Oct 24, 2008 8:00 PM

I am sure many of these concerns are still relevent... scary, but true!

Um, here I go, I guess!

Okay, this is it! I have decided to blog some place other than MySpace & personal emails & commenting on others' blogs. I'm going to post some things I've already done that I would like to share. I hope you enjoy the read!