Tag Archives: gay marriage

The Sanctity of Marriage and the Sweetness of Justice

My third husband put the kids to bed tonight because I was baking cookies for a fundraiser in memory of my second husband, and with all that time in the kitchen, I got to thinking about my first husband.

Seriously. If you’re new to this site, here’s the quick guide:

  • Husband #1, aka “Fartbuster” (divorced after he got someone else pregnant)
  • Husband #2, Richard (died of leukemia at the age of 38)
  • Husband #3, aka “G” (still hangin’ in there)

So anywho. Everybody is talking this week about Kim Davis, the clerk of court in Kentucky who has been defying the federal law by refusing to grant marriage licenses to same sex couples. Tonight, she’s in jail for contempt of court. And rightly so–I agree 100% with that ruling. Either do your job or leave your job, but you are not allowed to define your job based on your convictions or beliefs. Nope. The law is the law. Imagine if a Quaker decided not to issue gun permits because her religion does not condone violence? Or a Muslim health inspector flunked all restaurants that didn’t serve halal meat? If you don’t want to allow citizens equal access to their legal rights, then you don’t get to be clerk of court. Go work at the Dress Barn.


Ms. Davis has been pilloried for the hypocrisy of being three times divorced, four times married, yet still braying about the sanctity of marriage. Well, I’m not going to mock anyone for taking multiple trips to the altar (see above). I was just exercising my right as a tax-paying, law-abiding citizen.

When Fartbuster and I went to the courthouse to get a marriage license, we joked about how the same counter handed out marriage licenses and gun permits. The woman who handed us that important piece of paper wished us luck.

When Richard and I decided to get a license, he was too sick to go downtown to the clerk of court office. They came to us–two court officials, a notary public even–came to the house to deliver our license and witness that everything was in proper order. I appreciated their kindness so much that I offered them a glass of champagne. They declined–still on duty, y’know. I wanted to thank them, so I pulled two long stemmed coral roses from a bouquet my writing friends had sent and paid them each with a flower. That’s what it should be like when you do the paperwork for marriage–met with kindness, touched by joy.

While I was baking for the Leukemia Society fundraiser and thinking about this woman who has taken it upon herself to deny American citizens their legal rights, I could have gotten all riled up. I could have gotten distracted by her sideshow. But there is too much living to be done. Too much sweetness to be shared. I dwelled instead on the kindness of the people who spend a few hours making something to share in the bake sale. We’ve raised well over $10,000 with these cookies and cakes and pies.

My neighbor rang the doorbell and delivered a pecan pie, still warm from the oven. We chatted for a minute then she went back up the street to the home she shares with her wife. They’ve been together since I was in high school.

Somewhere between the third and fourth batches of oatmeal cookies, Tommy posted a photo of the lemon cream cheese pound cake he’s donating to the bake sale. He’s still mourning the death of his husband a few months ago. He and Ed were together for almost twenty years. These days must be so strange for him, all this time on his hands that used to be spent taking care of his beloved.

Both of these couples had to go to other states to get married because they didn’t have the right here in Georgia. I always had the right to get married when I chose to. Now we ALL have that same right.

The law will take care of Kim Davis and her noise. I’m going to keep on baking, keep on fighting leukemia, keep on loving my friends. That law is settled. Now it’s time to get on with the sweetness of life.

davis bye

You Can Feel Safe Holding Hands

amsterdam-79417_640The first big overseas trip that my late husband Richard and I took together began in Amsterdam.  It’s a city that’s just as fun as you’ve heard–and that’s all I will say about THAT in this forum.  The second afternoon we were there, we were meandering around in the Red Light District.  Richard stepped into an exchange bureau to exchange some American money so we could buy more…souvenirs.  I waited for him outside on the narrow sidewalk by the canal.

When he stepped out of the tiny storefront, Richard took my hand and we continued on our walk.  Before we had gone 20 feet, a very stoned and twitchy man who looked alarmingly like Osama bin Laden approached Richard.  He stuck his hand out and muttered something about money.  Richard waved him off and said, “I don’t have any change.”  We kept walking with purpose, eyes forward.

Well.  That dude thought he had found an easy mark.  A short, slight American who had just stepped out of a currency exchange office and now had a lump in the pocket of his jacket?  The guy snarled, “I’m not interested in CHANGE!” and snatched as hard as he could at Richard’s pocket.  He was disappointed when only a pack of cigarettes fell to the cobblestones.  And when Richard gave him a sharp side elbow to the face.

It was on.  I expected the man to run away, but he was ready to fight.  The two of them circled each other.  The pickpocket kept waggling his hands at Richard in a “come at me bro” way and saying “Fucker mother!  Fucker mother!”  Richard kept his hands up and all his weight on the balls of his feet.  The thief took another dive at his pocket.  Richard feinted to the right and popped the guy in the head.  

Dude KEPT ON yelling “Fucker mother!  Fucker mother!” and swatting at Richard.  By that time, even in the sparse afternoon crowds, a few people had come over to see what was going on.  The pickpocket decided it was time to move on.

bicycle-2761_640I ran to Richard.  He was breathing heavy and shivered from adrenaline.  He knelt down and retrieved his Marlboros.  “Don’t mess with my cigarettes, right?”  We laughed in relief.  I turned and shouted at the pickpocket’s retreating back:  “It’s ‘MOTHER FUCKER!'”  

Richard took my hand and we ducked into the nearest bar.  I always felt safe after that when I was holding his hand, because he may have been small but I had proof he was fierce and wily.  Richard was 5’4″ of badassery if ever the need arose.

This story came back to me last night when Facebook displayed an ad in the sidebar for a trip to Amsterdam.  The trip is offered by Olivia Travel–the premiere lesbian travel company.  Sorry, Facebook ad algorithm. You misinterpreted all those Wesleyan posts where I talked about how much I love my sisters.  Still, I was intrigued by the concept of a lesbian travel company, so I clicked the ad to see what makes it different.  This line jumped out at me in the description of Amsterdam as a host city:  “You can feel very secure holding hands and being yourself while walking the streets of Amsterdam.”

homomo05052000lesbDang.  Going on vacation to a place where you can feel secure holding hands and being yourself.  That wasn’t in my Top 50 reasons to visit Amsterdam.  True, The Netherlands was the first country to legalize gay marriage.  It’s also the site of the Homomonument in Amsterdam–a series of pink granite triangles built in memory of those killed by the Nazis for being homosexual.  Jews wore the yellow star; homosexuals wore the pink triangle.  We went there on our way to the Anne Frank House.  But it never even crossed my mind.

The tagline on the Olivia ad was “feel free.”  They charter the entire ship, or rent out an entire resort, so that their clients can relax and be themselves.

My eyes were opened a little wider because of that ad and I’m glad for it.  I’ve never had to go somewhere other than my home just so I could be myself.  To do something as simple as holding hands as I walk down the street beside the person I love.  My experience of feeling safe holding hands in Amsterdam is very different from some of my sisters’.  I only had to worry about being robbed–not being judged and robbed.

I feel free to squeeze my partner’s hand, or give him a peck on the lips, or say goodbye with a hug wherever we are–PTO meeting, Kroger parking lot, cafeteria at work, airport curb.  Hell, I feel free to have a snarling fight with him in those places, too, because we’re just free.

Holding hands for a stroll down the beach, or for comfort after a robbery attempt, or during the prayer at church–that’s a simple thing so many of us take for granted.  And so many of us can’t.