Write to Marry
I’ve been listening to the podcast of the Writer’s Almanac on my way to and from work and today I heard that last Thursday was the 7th anniversary of the iPod. It made me gape, because they’ve become such a ubiquitous part of our lives that it seems unimaginable that they didn’t exist that recently.
Five years ago, the idea that same-sex marriages would be be legally recognized in the United States would have seemed unimaginable to me, such a far off possibility that it didn’t seem like a fight that was worth taking on. And then Massachusetts opened the doors, and San Francisco followed and I couldn’t stop looking at the pictures of all the happy couples. And the world shifted.
There’s been some bumps in the road since then. Four years ago, I was worrying about the referenda against same sex marriage and their impacts on the presidential election, and trying to remember that February warmth. Two years ago, I was knocking on doors trying (unsuccessfully) to stop a hateful amendment to Virginia’s constitution. This blog carnival is focused on stopping California’s Proposition 8 which would take away same-sex couples right to marry.
But I truly think the world has changed. People have seen the couples lining up to marry in California and Massachusetts. And they’ve seen that the sky hasn’t fallen down.
I’ve posted this poem before, but it seems appropriate again:
Why marry at all?
By Marge Piercy, from My Mother’s Body
Why mar what has grown up between the cracks
and flourished like a weed
that discovers itself to bear rugged
spikes of magneta blossoms in August,
ironweed sturdy and bold,
a perennial that endures winters to persist?
Why register with the state?
Why enlist in the legions of the respectable?
Why risk the whole apparatus of roles
and rules, of laws and liabilities?
Why license our bed at the foot
like our Datsun truck: will the mileage improve?
Why encumber our love with patriarchal
word stones, with the old armor
of husband and the corset stays
and the chains of wife? Marriage
meant buying a breeding womb
and sole claim to enforced sexual service.
Marriage has built boxes in which women
have burst their hearts sooner
than those walls; boxes of private
slow murder and the fading of the bloom
in the blood; boxes in which secret
bruises appear like toadstools in the morning.
But we cannot invent a language
of new grunts. We start where we find
ourselves, at this time and place.
Which is always the crossing of roads
that began beyond the earth’s curve
but whose destination we can now alter.
This is a public saying to all our friends
that we want to stay together. We want
to share our lives. We mean to pledge
ourselves through times of broken stone
and seasons of rose and ripe plum;
we have found out, we know, we want to continue.