Tag Archives: marriage equality

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

Boys Who Love Boys

SongAchilles-pb-c“I will never leave him. It will be this, always, for as long as he will let me.
If I had had words to speak such a thing, I would have. But there were none that seemed big enough for it, to hold that swelling truth.
As if he had heard me, he reached for my hand. I did not need to look; his fingers were etched into my memory, slender and petal-veined, strong and quick and never wrong.
“Patroclus,” he said. He was always better with words than I.”
― Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles

I just finished this mesmerizing book last week and I don’t even want to return it to the library.  I don’t want to download a copy on my Kindle–I will go buy a physical copy of this book so that I can touch it whenever I wish.  It’s THAT good.  There’s action, lyrical language, adventure, exquisite characters, classical mythology, and a heartbreaking love story.

I’m not sure how easy it would be to get swept up in the story if you weren’t already familiar with the characters and the twists of The Iliad (Homer’s epic poem of the war between the Trojans and the Greeks).  Part of the anguish for me was knowing what was going to happen in the end, but being completely absorbed in the inescapable trek towards the final fate of each character.  Well, that’s a lot of 50 cent words for this–I knew everyone was going to die in the end.  I remembered from lit classes who killed whom and why, so it wasn’t a suspenseful tale.  Madeline Miller spins a story so rich that it’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey.

My six-year-old daughter saw the book in my purse the other day when I picked her up from school and asked about that thing on the cover.  I told her that it was a soldier’s helmet from four thousand years ago.  She wanted to know who was fighting back then, so as we drove to get her brother, I explained the basic arc of the story like this:

Patroclus and Achilles become friends as kids.  They fall in love.  Achilles is a great fighter, the best ever.  He’s half god–his mother is a sea nymph who lives under the ocean.  Patroclus is more gentle and shy; he likes being a doctor.  A war starts because this queen, Helen, runs off to Troy with a prince who isn’t her husband and her husband gets mad and asks his brother to get all of the other kings to help him go steal her back.  Achilles decides to go along because he wants everyone to know how good he is at fighting.  Patroclus goes with Achilles because they don’t want to be apart.  Achilles and the Greeks fight the Trojans for years and years and years.  Then Achilles gets mad at the king because he insults him.  Achilles stops fighting.  The Greeks start to lose.  Patroclus doesn’t like seeing his friends get hurt, so he begs Achilles to go back and win the war.  Achilles won’t do it because he’s too proud.  The Greeks are about to get wiped out.  Patroclus comes up with a trick to get the Greeks fired up again–he dresses up in Achilles’ armor and helmet and leads the Greeks into battle.  It works!  The Greeks start beating the Trojans, but then the best Trojan of them all, Hector, throws a spear and kills Patroclus because he sees the armor and thinks that it’s Achilles…

…and this is the point where Vivi interrupts me and says, “Wait.  I thought Patroclius is Achilleseses’ wife?  Is he a boy?”

I parked in front of the day care and turned around to face her.  “Patroclus is a boy.  Well, a man by the time the war happens.  He and Achilles love each other–they’re boys who love boys.”

“Oh.  Can I see that book?”

“Sure.”  I handed it back to her in its crinkly plastic library book cover.  “I’m not sure you’re going to like it–there aren’t any pictures.”

She gave me a look.  “I don’t need pictures anymore.”

Oh yeah, right.  She opened the book to a page in the middle, stuck her finger in her mouth and set to reading.  By the time I got back to the car with her brother, she peppered me with questions:  Who is Apollo?  What’s a plague?  What’s a chariot?  Who kills Achilles?  Why?  Does Patroclius become a ghost?  Who wins the war?  Are these people real?  Where is this?

I answered her questions, every one.  She was stumped by things like goddesses who live under the sea and prophecies that come true, but not the least bit surprised that Achilleses and Patroclius were boys who love boys.  I am so overwhelmed with gladness that she is growing up in THIS world.  “If I had had words to speak such a thing, I would have. But there were none that seemed big enough for it, to hold that swelling truth.”