I have never felt so guilty for being fortunate.
Never in my life would I have thought a Chamber of Commerce meeting could make me cry.
It was a meet-your-legislator meeting, and I don’t think the Chamber had any clue so many of us would show up. I also don’t think most of us knew this was a Chamber meeting rather than something set up by legislators. In any event, three state representatives and two state senators from the area were on hand to state their agenda for the year and take questions. I asked one of the new Republican senator of exactly how relieving taxes for large corporations would guarantee jobs as they gut my child’s school budget. His answer was "Reganomics." That just irritated me. What made me sob, however, was as I looked across the room and saw my friends.
They were present because they wanted to talk to the legislators and give them their story. A letter and a picture of them with their children at their wedding. Because my friends are gay.
I was at this wedding. My daughter was in this wedding. J and S have been together as long, and slightly longer, than Dan and I, though Dan and I have been married for thirteen years because it was legal for us to do so whenever we liked. J and S were married last fall because only the Varnum decision by the Iowa Supreme Court gave them the right.
They were there because Iowa House Republicans, one of them present, have introduced HJR6, which would terminate their marriage.
I watched them hand out letters which, knowing them as I do, were carefully, painstakingly worded. Painstakingly. Their four adopted children had signed the letter as well, in rainbow colors of magic marker. They included wedding photos. They shook hands. J went up to the representative who wants to end her marriage and shook his hand.
I went home, leaned against the wall in my kitchen, and I sobbed.
I have no right to have a happy, healthy marriage no one wants to vote to take away. I did nothing to earn this fortune. I am not better than J or S. I am not braver nor worthier. The only reason that I was there as an ally, not handing over photos and letters and swallowing my pain as I shook the hand of the man who hates me without knowing me, the only reason it is not me going to bed now and going to work and walking around wondering when the state of Iowa will put their marriage up to a vote is because I am straight.
Never, never in my life has being lucky felt so devastatingly horrible.
J and S, I love you. I love you like my sisters. You have been through enough. Your family has been through enough. If I could trade places and bear this for you, I would. I am so very, very, very sorry.
I don’t know what power I have to help. But I will go to the ends of the earth to fight for you and defend you. Because you didn’t do anything to deserve this either.
Love always, always, always, you beautiful women.