Why DOMA Matters




I may be preaching to the choir here. But in case I’m not, in case I have any readers out there who are opposed to allowing gay people to marry, or even on the fence about it, I hope you’ll listen.

You all know I’m gay. If you don’t, you haven’t been reading very carefully here. Anyhow, you also know I’m a regular person with regular hopes and fears and dreams for my future. I write about those hopes and dreams and fears a lot on this blog. Some other things about me you may or may not know: I am 45 years old. I get up every day at 6:30 am and I work until 6:00. Some days I go back to work after dinner. I take a break on most days to swim laps at lunch. My partner’s name is Clay. We’ve been together for almost five years. She gets up at 6 am and works till 5. Sometimes she works after dinner too. I come from a family of five. My parents have been married for almost 50 years. I have an older brother and a younger sister. I am an aunt to three beautiful kids. We all love each other a lot. Before I became a full time artist, I worked in education. I taught elementary school for seven years and then worked for two different non profit organizations that served high poverty public schools. I have a dog and two cats. I love animals. I live in a small house with a big backyard. I shouldn’t eat gluten because it makes me feel terrible, but I love bread so I eat it anyway. Clay and I drive a 2006 Scion. I don’t keep up with the latest music. I spend too much time on Facebook. I want to travel the world. Every Sunday Clay and I plan our meals, make a list and go to the grocery store. That is generally my favorite activity of the week.

Being gay is all I’ve known since as long as I can remember, even when I dated guys in high school and college. Being gay is as regular to me as being straight is to other people. It’s not something I chose, but it’s also not something I would change. I wouldn’t change it because I cannot imagine anything else, or loving another gender. It’s not how I’m wired. I have memories of knowing I was gay as early as 13. I came out when I was 23. That 10 year period was tough. But now, most days, I don’t think about being gay. I just am.

In February of 2012, my partner Clay proposed to me. She took me away for the weekend to the wine country and asked me to marry her. She gave me a ring. It was amazing and romantic. I wrote about it here. We will be married June 1.

Sharing my regular life with Clay is the single greatest joy of my life. I want to be with her forever. I use the word “regular” here because I think it’s important. Gay people are just regular people. I know, news flash!!! Some gay people are exceptional or eccentric or weird, just like some straight people are. But mostly we are just regular. We are also, like the rest of humanity, mostly kind-hearted and well-intentioned. We work, take care of our families, and contribute to our communities. We have the same hopes and dreams and food allergies as everyone else.

DOMA matters because it discriminates against regular people. People like you. People like me. Not criminals, just regular people. The religious right will try to tell you we are not regular people. But we are. It’s a fact. If you knew more than 1 or 2 of us, you would know that already.

I am crossing my fingers tightly that the Supreme Court does the right thing. Not just for me, but for couples who have been waiting for 20 years to legally marry, for future gay children, for kids of gay couples, for kids in general, for all hopers and dreamers, for humanity.

On that note, I must go get my laundry out of the dryer.