Archive → March, 2012
One of the nice things about living in Manhattan is that all Manhattanites support marriage equality. Or at least that’s what I thought, until having breakfast this morning in my neighborhood at the Tanto Dulce Cafe.
I struck up a conversation with the couple (father and daughter, I later learned) at the table next to me. We were talking about the ubiquity of iPhones and Erik (the father) asked me what I did.
GREAT!! I thought. An opportunity to sell one more copy of my very funny, pro-equality novel, THE MARRYING KIND, coming out in June from Bold Strokes Books.
I gave the brief sixty second pitch–tricky for me. As anyone who follows me on twitter knows, I’m not really pithy. Still, Erika (the daughter) smiled. Erik’s expression, however, was harder to read.
Erik looked at me kindly but there was a somberness behind his eyes. ”I need to tell you something that I have never told anyone before,” he said.
Eric, no! Please don’t come out to me.
I mean, I really support everyone who is on a journey of self-acceptance to come out of the closet. But probably the first person you tell your gay should not be the guy at the next table who is just trying to finish his egg sandwich. And if it is the guy eating the egg sandwich that you must tell, do you really need to make this declaration while your daughter watches and listens?
I was quickly trying to decide whether Erik or Erika was going to need the most comforting when I heard Erik saying that he didn’t believe in Gay marriage.
We are talking about marriage not Santa Claus.
Over the years on Facebook many “Christians” have said incredibly mean and hurtful things to me. And while I don’t enjoy being harangued on my own fan page I could always dismiss those posters as wacko extremists. But Erik was funny and charming and most of all, a New Yorker!
Erika’s smile grew unnaturally wide. Her eyes seemed to be saying: Get me outta here.
It occurred to me that maybe it’s a generational thing. Younger people like Erika support marriage equality. Some older people like Erik do not. But I do not just want to wait for an older generation to die off. (Somehow I think that has got to be bad for my karma.)
So I engaged Erik. I was surprised at how charming I was being to the man who does not want me to be able to get married to my partner of nearly fifteen years.
“Is it the redefining marriage thing you object to?”
“You do realize that the fact that Erika can marry the man she chooses and you don’t get to sell her for three cows and a goat means we have already redefined marriage.”
Erika was loving me.
Erik conceded my point but didn’t want to budge. “You should have all the rights but not the word marriage.”
“Sort of like Separate but equal?” I asked.
We continued to talk. I didn’t win him over to my obviously right point of view. But I did make progress. I’m sure of that.
And maybe now Erika will finish the job. I heard Richard Carlbom of Minnesotans United for All Families speak the other evening. He made a point of stressing the importance of talking to everyone we meet about why marriage matters to us. And why none of us are equal until we all are.
Were it not for Richard’s speech I might not have talked to Erik this morning.
And I guess I better keep talking. Because even in New York not everyone supports equality.