Marriage equality has a pretty shitty record when it is put to a popular vote.
This fall, at least three states will be voting on marriage equality: Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington. In these states voters will decide whether LGBT citizens have the right to marry the person of their choice. Things are (hopefully) a little different this time. For the first time ever, there is popular support for marriage equality. President Obama voiced his support for marriage equality, and this is now part of the official Democratic platform. The NAACP has followed suit, as did famous people like rappers (BTW, you did watch Jane Lynch on the Maddow show, right?).
Of course, some folks don't agree. A delegate to the Maryland General Assembly, Emmett C. Burns, got a little miffed when Baltimore Raven's linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo voiced his support for marriage equality. Delegate Burns jumped into action, sending a letter to the Ravens organization asking them to "take the necessary action, as a National Football Franchise Owner, to inhibit such expressions from your employees". What followed is the best response ever, in the form of an open letter to Del. Burns from Vikings punter Chris Kluwe. The whole letter is awesome, and you should read it. And not just because he uses the phrases "lustful cockmonster", "narcissistic fromunda stain", and "mindfucking obscenely hypocritical". Seriously, go read it.
Do you wan to know why marriage matters? Imagine that a couple goes to the hospital because of complications in a pregnancy. The woman sits in a room, terrified, as she loses her child. Her partner is not allowed to be with her, because the hospital doesn't have the right papers. That is fucked up, right? Does it matter that the partner was another woman? In this situation, even the legal domestic partnership didn't sway the hospital to recognize her as "next of kin". Everything about this is just fucking wrong.
This is not an abstract scenario for me - it is personal. There are a multitude of rights that I am denied in my relationship because I have partnered up with another woman (1138 federal rights and protections). I have spent the time and money to make sure that I have a will, power of attorney, and the other legal documents that may be required in an emergency (an extra thing that I have to worry about if something horrible ever happens - where is the nearest copy of the legal paperwork?). I'm lucky that I can do those things - it's not cheap - but even so, there is no guarantee that the papers will be enough.
That I have to ask for permission to get married from my neighbors makes me sad and angry. I don't know what's the best way to make the case. I have no idea what talking points or arguments work. I LOVE that there has been people willing to go public with their support of marriage equality. Thank you Mr. Kluwe, Mr. Ayanbadejo, President Obama, 50 Cent, et al. But what matters now is that folks vote in favor of marriage equality when given the chance. I don't think that folks standing in line at Chik-Fil-A are going to change their mind. But I want to be hopeful that many of my fellow citizens can empathize. That everyone can think of how they would feel if they were in my situation. Because the odds are good that you know someone in my situation. Maybe, like Dr. Isis, you are related to someone in my situation.
Right now, I need your help. We need your help. Please don't stay out of the way, above the fray. If you can, give some money to organizations that support marriage equality (PBO, MD, MN, and WA). If you live in a state where this issue is on the ballot this fall, put a sign up in your yard. And when you go to vote, think of me and my family.
Cory Booker's excellent argument in support of marriage equality
UPDATE: There is now a version of the letter that Kluwe has edited so it does not have swear words. It is still full of win.