I’ve spent the last four days referring to myself as the Gay Marriage Fairy. Despite the obvious pun (I’m totally not married. Get it?), the name is accurate because I’m pretty sure that I’m the only person (ever) to have lived in both Massachusetts and California for their respective gay marriageifications. And in both places, I was at the forefront of the historic judicial decisions. In Boston, I stood on the steps of the State House with my then boyfriend Dave, taunting the swarm of queer-frightened elderly that were reboarding their god-bus headed back to irrelevancy. And in California, I was at the forefront of the battle for relief from my wicked hangover, which reared its ugly head again as my co-worker yelled, “Hey! I think they just legalized gay marriage in California! Congratulations!”
Congratulations. Don’t get me wrong, it was a nice sentiment. And I was touched that he was indeed more excited about the ruling than I was. But isn’t congratulating a 26-year-old, whose longest relationship topped out at six months, akin to congratulating Abigail Breslin on ten years of sobriety? I felt a little bit like someone handed me an inscribed Mitch Albom book as a congratulatory token for graduating high school 2000 years later than the rest of the kids, even though I wasn’t yet enrolled. I sort of felt like an “I’m sorry you missed getting to be married during the ’80s” would have been a bit more appropriate.
I guess there’s something to be said about one state being an anomaly, and two states being a trend, but I can’t help but to feel as though it’s much less real and meaningful coming in second on the biggest thing to happen to gay rights since, well, Guerilla Gay Bar. When gay marriage came to Massachusetts, it gave every gay person in the country a bizarre sensation of anxiety that comes with the option to be “normal.” Most gays spend a great chuck of their lives coming to terms with the fact that they’ll have to live “modified” lives. For so many, the thought of not being able to achieve the ideal of a white picket fence, gray-faced golden retriever, and collection of cable-knit sweaters is what keeps them peering through the closet keyhole for so long. Having that option suddenly set on the table was like being a well-rehearsed understudy called in to play the leading role for the first time.
And now having that in California kind of just means you can do all of that with a tan, right?
I don’t mean to downplay the significance of Thursday’s ruling. It was surely an incredible thing. I guess I’m actually just amazed that it’s starting to feel kind of normal being included in the land of normalcy. My generation is likely the last to know what it’s like the be legislatively marginalized for being gay. It’s intriguing to think of how that will that change us as a community. And more importantly, who will we gays get to repress in order to make ourselves feel better about our own marriages?
From the moment the ruling was read in Boston, I immediately fast-forwarded to the endgame. There was no turning back. Gay marriage was here to stay, and before long, it would be everywhere. Like Shia Labeouf. So now I have to remind myself that until that last state gives in (you know it’s going to be Florida), there’s going to be a lot of significant battles that will need our focus. And to do my part, I’m dusting off my Gay Marriage Fairy wings and movin’ to Idaho.