In light of the California court decision yesterday supporting marriage equality by declaring the state’s marriage law unconstitutional for discriminating against same sex partners, I want to share with you two pieces of writing by my long time friend Barbara. I’ve known her since she was 40 and I was 22, and we were involved in actions against the Vietnam War in the city of Milwaukee. She is now over 70, a minister, living with her partner in the state of Washington. The first excerpt is from an op ed piece she wrote for the local newspaper titled “God teaches us to accept others.” The poem is, according to Barbara, where “I let my full feelings out better than I could in the editorial.” I read an article last year that pointed out that marriage was seeming to be a dead institution until the gays and Mayor Newsom in SF made it glamorous again. The “traditionals” should be glad for the p.r. boost.
I’m sharing the poem and excerpt in celebration of love, and for couples of all persuasions; and to support the wonderful families that have two mommies or two daddies. As my friend writes: the more mommies the better!
Make love not war,
from an op ed piece in The Olympian, 2/19/05
“My wedding day started early on a fine June morning in 2001. Flowers were needed to decorate the plain white cake, so my friend, Jennie, walked into the garden to pick some. Other friends went t the church early to decorate the reception hall and to set out tea sandwiches and fruit plates… My partner and I promised to love and care for each other for better or for worse…We remember that every day, through thick and thin. This is marriage…”
How can it be that some people in this town
with its cloudy skies and soaring gulls
can tear themselves away from watching the sunset
over the Black Hills, to make an issue
of Carol and me and our lesbian marriage?
Don’t they ever stop–and praise–and weep?
How come instead of solving the problems
of poverty and war, they’ve taken up
trying to ban gay marriage
as their new religious duty?
They believe–they really believe–
that Carol and I are damned for eternity,
unless we give up on our wayward
sinful lives and take Jesus-Christ-as-our-personal-
lord-and-savior. Wait a minute! I’m more
of a Buddhist than a Christian, but
I actually love Jesus, the guy who hung out
with the “unclean,” those the Good People
shunned. The Jesus who said “love
your enemies” and who refused to be a king.
I find it hard to believe that this radical,
mystical preacher and teacher, who
was humble and cosmic at the same time
would judge Carol and me the way
these people who call themselves
Christians do. Of course we’re not
perfect. Like everyone we’re crabby at times
and selfish and we get distracted
by unimportant things like TV shows.
But these people!
They don’t want us to get married.
They don’t want us to kiss each other
or touch each other’s body in tenderness
and sleep in the same bed
and mix our breathing as we dream.
They don’t want people like us
to adopt abandoned and abused children,
or give birth to children, or raise
each other’s kids and make new families.
They say: “A child can’t have two mommies.”
I say: the more mommies the better.
The more love the better.
The more good marriages the better.
They say Carol and I can’t be married.
We are married! In the eyes of God
and my children and grandchildren
and Carol’s children and grandchildren
and our friends who came to church
on a warm June day to sing and dance
with us and listen to us say our vows.
We made promises to each other
in the presence of not one but two ministers!
Two serious and funny gray-haired women ministers!
Don’t tell me that the Spirit of Love
and Goodness wasn’t with us that day.
Don’t even suggest that Jesus
wouldn’t have joined us that day in June 2001,
with his sad Jewish face lit up with smiles
and his bare feet moving in the dance
and he would eat our white cake, too.
I know he would.
To these so-called Christians I say:
lighten up! Walk around the lake
and watch the bufflehead ducks and
mergansers. Go help out at the Food Bank.
Or stay home and read Winnie-the-Pooh stories
to your children, and then make love
with your own beloved spouse.
And drop the anti-gay obsession.
You don’t need it to be happy.
© 2005 Barbara Gibson