Here You Go:
Filed under Family + Motherhood, Politics + Social Issues | Comments (27)
Have you ever had occasion to cross a barbed wire fence? Sticky predicament. I’ve done it on Busy Bee farm through the years, tromping through a pasture, avoiding cow unmentionables. Many notable attempts have occurred in the pursuit of a Christmas tree that we were convinced was over in some greener cedar tree pasture. Sometimes crossing the fence just beats the long bumpy ride down the fence row to a just-as-bumpy gravel road, through a gate and back down the flip side of said bumpy fence row. Economy of movement is an essential concept in pasture tromping.
There’s an art to crossing a barbed wire fence. You have to judge whether there is enough slack in the line to allow you to pull the wire wide enough to go through the fence, or if you’re better served pushing down on the top and going over, although your inseam is clearly not tall enough to avoid the peril. After all, a barbed wire fence has barbs.
If you’ve been reading a while, you may have seen me refer to “the blog you didn’t know I was reading.” I say you didn’t know I was reading it because it’s not the sort of blog you might think I’d be interested in, not the sort I’d deem worthy of supporting. If you’ve read much of my blog, you also know a few things about me. I am a politically conservative, white, heterosexual, middle class evangelical Christian from Mississippi. And, I’m probably pretty close to who you think I am when I write those words. [Sans a few Mississippi stereotypes. For example: I have a college degree. I don't work in agriculture. I have wireless DSL in my home and office. I speak (and write to y'all) with a very thick Southern accent, but usually using correct subject-verb agreement. I have two full bathrooms complete with running water in my house. I wear shoes on a daily basis. I don't own a gun which would need to be pried from my cold, dead hands at some point, nor do I own any camoflage. I've never had a mint julep.]
So, the blog you didn’t know I was reading is LesbianDad.net. And since today is “Blogging for LGBT Families Day,“ I decided to elaborate–something I’ve been promising for a while. Plus, I’m always up for a good post on social justice.
Lesbian Dad is probably pretty close to who you imagine she is–one of those crazy, liberal Californians, Berkeley graduate, feminist, Buddhist, lesbian activist. She’s also a “Baba” of two children and an excellent writer and photographer. She and her wife have one of the 18,000 marriages that were upheld by the California Supreme Court last week when it also upheld Proposition 8.
Reading her blog has convinced me of a few things. So I guess it’s time to come out… and say it.
It’s likely to elicit the same “duh” response of outrage from both the LGBT and conservative reader-types, but I’m sitting squarely on the (barbed wire) fence on this whole gay marriage issue. And, I’m trying not to rip my jeans or anything else while I figure out the side upon which I’m landing. If you’ve had experience with barbed wire fences as described above, you know that when you’re sitting, it would behoove you to get off. It’s uncomfortable. It’s dangerous. The best thing is to pick a side and stand on it. And, that’s what I’m in the slow process of doing.
You see, I’m a practicing (I’m afraid to say devout) Christian. I believe the Bible is God’s inspired word, and is true for always. I believe God is alive, active and cares about the cosmic and much of the mundane. I also believe homosexuality is not pleasing to God. I believe He thinks its wrong, which is why I call it a sin–much like I call adultery, lying, stealing or berating others a sin
Here’s the thing.
In this country, people aren’t required by law to believe what I believe. And, other people don’t think it’s a sin. My faith is big enough to even like a few of those people, even if I don’t agree with the complete scope of how they’ve chosen to live their lives. How do we properly deal with that in society? I know our response to sin has changed in the years since Moses codified the laws of the Israelite’s theocracy. I know that noone was clamoring to stone my first husband after he had an affair. I know noone is running around plucking out eyes or teeth because they’re ticked off. I know God hasn’t changed, but Jesus Himself changed how some of those old laws were executed. When He was confronted with an adulterous woman, He changed not what was accepted by God, but what was permitted in society by the religious leaders. I’m too entangled in the barbs to write an intelligent and well-composed argument either way–hence the uncomfortable fence-sitting.
LesbianDad wrote on her blog (or maybe it was twitter or somewhere else), that “they” don’t know who they’re voting against. Reading her personal story on the gay marriage issue has convinced me that’s true. This issue is not about the flamboyant gay bar scene, secluded roadside parks, irrationally suspected pedophiles, indecisive Hollywood-types or drag queen lounge singers that would prompt a much easier fence jump. No, this issue is about a desire for lifelong commitment, about monogamy. In practicality, it’s about social security benefits, health insurance, school permission forms, powers of attorney, and who has to stand out in the waiting room when a child is born. Yes, it’s about children who go to preschool or elementary school and like PowerPuff Girls and Cars.
I see the joy LD derives from her family every day. I see the frustration she feels about their “legal” status. I see the faces of her children at museums and dance class and home. I read that she sits on their beds after they’re asleep to stare with joy and hope for their futures just like I do. But for time zones, we might be doing it at the exact same moment.
One of the most poignant posts I read recently from LD was after a neighboring school board meeting regarding an existing anti-bullying curriculum that included content about sensitivity toward children in LGBT families. In response to the statements she heard, she wrote that there was “no hope”–no hope that others of my ilk would “see” her children. And, I had already determined that I would see, that I would choose to look. That whatever side of the barbing I land on, I would do it with both eyes and ears open–not just to my side of the story, but to the side that might be uncomfortable. To look full on into the real “face” of the gay marriage debate.
I haven’t resolved it inside. There it is. But, I’ve learned this. The “fight” for equality is not what it seems to be, and it’s getting bigger. (Thanks, LD)
I encourage and welcome your disagreements, insights and thoughts.© Haley Montgomery