I’m usually behind the times as far as what is going on in the world. So to wake up this morning to hear that the Senate had passed the Respect for Marriage Act was wonderful news. Since the House voted to pass a similar bill earlier this year combined with the fact that President Biden has already said he will “promptly and proudly” sign it into law, I hope this good feeling doesn’t get trampled on.
I remember back in 1996 when Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law. Shawn and I had been on and off a couple of times since meeting in college. In 1996, we were on…not for much longer, but I didn’t know that at the time. He was my first long term relationship. Despite not being able to get married, we exchanged rings and said we were “as married as we could get”. I actually envisioned marrying him for real. There were such high hopes for President Clinton. With the Defense of Marriage Act, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and getting impeached for not being able to keep it in his pants and lying about it…HAD high hopes is definitely the right wording.
As I’ve said before, growing up gay in the South was no picnic, but having that law passed really hit home. It was the first time I truly felt that maybe it wasn’t just the South that didn’t want me. Maybe it was the entire country that was frozen in time unwilling to stray to far from the Puritan-like beliefs that caused so much persecution in the past.
A Good Day
Fast forward to 2013 when the Supreme Court struct down the law. That was a good day. Finally, someone with some sense was in charge. The Defense of Marriage Act was stupid and should have never existed. YAY!
I’ve never understood why people spend so much time trying to suppress, marginalize, and destroy other’s lives when no one is being harmed. You believe what you believe. I believe what I believe. Go on about your business and we won’t get in each other’s way. Alas, that’s not how ultra conservative people think. “Believe what I believe and act the way I tell you to, or I will destroy you.”, seems to be a more accurate description of ultra conservative thought processes.
But, no more Defense of Marriage Act. I was in my second long term relationship in 2013. We’d been together 3 years. While I refer to him as my second husband, we never proclaimed to be married. He wasn’t for the whole marriage ceremony. I didn’t push it. It wasn’t like anyone from my family would have come aside from my sister and maybe my mom. No one else was allowed to know by motherly decree. So, it wasn’t a big deal.
The Hits Keep Coming
Let’s just say it together. Life since Covid sucks ass, and I don’t mean that in a good sex act kind of way. “2021 has to get better.” It didn’t. “2022 has to get better.” There’s been some improvement, but we are far from better. Terrorist attacks conducted by Americans on other Americans have people scared. The Supreme Court struck down abortion rights and basically asked someone to bring them a case about gay marriage so they could reverse the 2013 decision that struck down Defense of Marriage. What the F?
Respect for Marriage
All of these things make this ray of light about the Senate vote welcome news. It isn’t a perfect solution, but it is so much better than the dread I’ve felt since the Supreme Court basically said, “bring gay marriage to us so we can strike that down too.” Fingers crossed that we have the Respect for Marriage Act passed before year end.
While I didn’t fail to notice that both senators from my state voted against the bill, I really liked the quote from Cynthia Lummis from Wyoming. Here’s what she had to say, “For the sake of our nation’s today and its survival, we do well by taking this step, not embracing or validating each other’s devoutly held views but by the simple act of tolerating them.”
That’s it folks. Respect. Tolerance of other’s views even when they differ from your own. This is wonderful. The United States needs more of this type of thinking in order to get back on track. I hope this is a trend and not just a one and done.
Want to read more about the Respect for Marriage Act announcement? Here’s a link to a news article discussing the Respect for Marriage Act.
If you haven’t read my back story about growing up in the South, you can find that here.