If you have looked at my site, you know my story. I am the proud mother of a gay son who has been in a committed relationship for over 15 years. And for all those years I have been frustrated when looking for a greeting card for my son and son-in-law. Guess what? They didn’t exist.
Oh sure, I could find cards that were blank inside and had 2 turtles looking at each other on the front, or 2 giraffes, or whatever. And then there are always the ones with the cartoon images on the front, but I am not a “cutesy” kind of mom. There are also the cards you can find on the web with more – um – suggestive images on the front as well. But then, I am not so much a “gutsy” kind of mom either.
I am just a middle-class, middle-aged mom who loves her son and who wants to be able to send him and my son-in-law a nice greeting card once in a while for their anniversaries, or the holidays, or (as was the case last September), their wedding.
So, I decided to just go for it and started my own greeting card business called A Little to the Left. I call it that because my intent is that everything I do will be considered to be a “little to the left” of that which is considered to be “normal”. My first line of cards is my Gay Friendly cards wherein I offer Wedding/Commitment Ceremony cards and AnniversaryChristmas cards, then Valentine’s Day cards and now I have Mother’s Day cards available to for the LGBT community as well as their friends and family.
Realizing that I could not possible be the only mother out there who had this problem, I joined PFLAG (Parents and Families of Lesbians and Gays) so that I could interact with others like me. It was not so much that I was looking for support for myself. It finally occurred to me that I might be able to offer support to others. Joining this organization has been a real eye-opener for me. It is so interesting to me to hear the stories of the other moms and dads and know so clearly what they are saying and feeling. I find it amazingly comforting to belong to a group of like-minded people who are all seeking to reach out to each other. The cool part of it all is that all of us there love our gay son, daughter, sister, brother, etc.
We are now involved in a number of debates about marriage equality in several states. Massachusetts has legalized same-sex marriages for some time now. Here in California, it was legalized for a short time last year. Connecticut came next. Then Iowa legalized same sex marriages and soon after was followed by Vermont. Maine joined in shortly after that. Now New Hampshire is considering the issue. And of course New York, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. at least recognize those marriages. But none of this comes easily for the LGBT communities in those states. Last year California gave the civil right to same-sex couples and in the same year took it away. And then last week the state further added insult to injury when the state supreme court upheld Prop 8 denying same sex couples the right to be legally married. The folks in Iowa are now very concerned that the same thing will happen there.
For all you people out there who are so opposed to giving our gay and lesbian family members and friends the same civil right as any other American citizen, I have to ask – Why? What does it cost you to have 2 people of the same sex who love each other and are committed to each other be legally married to each other? Does it so threaten the strength of your own marriage that you fear it will fall apart altogether? Do you love your husband or wife less now that same-sex couples are married? Does it cost you money out of your pocket for them to have this civil right? What exactly does it take away from you?
I constantly hear people argue that it’s because that is the way it has always been. Marriage is between a man and a woman. But it hasn’t always been just that way. There was a time in our country when it could only between a man and a woman of the same race or religion. But our society has evolved and those things changed. And we all know that certain religious organizations condoned polygamy involving 1 man and many women. If you want to talk about the history of marriage and its impact on society, I recommend you get a hold of the documentary called Tying the Knot to get some real perspective.
So what is the issue? Some people say that marriage is designed for purposes of procreation. OK. So does that mean that if a straight couple gets married but cannot have children their marriage should be invalidated? But if it is a physical problem as to why they cannot procreate, doesn’t that put them in the same category as a same-sex couple? What about a senior citizen couple? Are you telling me that two 70-year olds who want to get married have to be able to procreate in order for their marriage to be sanctioned by the state? What if a couple wants to get married but just don’t want to have children? How do we condone that kind of behavior?
Some people say they are concerned about the concept of redefining marriage. Excuse me, but every time a couple gets divorced, they have by definition redefined marriage. If marriage is to be defined as being between one man and one woman, should that mean that you get only one chance? And if you get divorced and marry another, doesn’t that add up to one man – two women, or one woman – two men? My ex-husband got married four times and divorced three. He fathered and left behind one child with each of his first three marriages. But he was not gay, so I guess that’s OK.
I was talking with a neighbor of mine recently about the whole same-sex marriage thing and he said. “Well, you know what those people aren’t considering is that if they get legally married, when they split up they have to get legally divorced!” My response was, “Yes! Just like everybody else!”
Of course, there are also the more ridiculous arguments. I have heard people say that if we allow same sex couples to marry, then fathers will be able to marry their daughters and people will be able to marry farm animals and trees. Trees? Goats? Well, I say if you can get a goat or a tree to sign the marriage certificate – then go for it. And as for father’s marrying their daughters, I hate to tell you this but that kind of thing is already going on in many parts of this country. And if you only define marriage to be between one unmarried man and one unmarried woman, then a divorced father can marry his unmarried daughter, or niece or cousin, heck maybe even his goat depending on the family lineage.
Then there is the infamous Defense of Marriage Act approved by President Clinton. Bill Clinton? Defending marriage? Wasn’t he the guy who so notoriously violated the vows of his marriage all over the place including the White House? So what are we defending marriage from? Infidelity? No. Abandonment? No. Spousal abuse? No. Divorce? No. Gays and lesbians? Yup!
I am sorry but I take this all very personally. My son is gay. I love him. He is a great guy and so is his husband. They are a wonderful couple. They are kind, loving, generous, intelligent, hard-working, law-abiding, fun-loving and socially conscious. They love and support each other. They understand each other. They share their goals and values. They have been together for over 15 years and counting. They have done a much better job of it than his father or I have done. I was married only the one time – to the above mentioned serial marrying ex-husband who married four times. As a matter of fact, when my and son-in-law celebrated their 14th anniversary, I called him to congratulate him mentioning that he had done a better job than his father or I had. His response was, “Cumulatively!”
So I want someone to explain to me why they think my son should not have the same civil rights as any other American citizen. I want you to explain to me why my son (or anyone else’s son, daughter, sister, brother, father, mother, aunt, uncle, grandmother, grandfather or friend) should not have the same civil rights as anyone else just because they are gay or lesbian.
To put some perspective on this issue, let us consider that in the state of California Scott Peterson – a man who cheated on his pregnant wife, who murdered his wife and unborn child, who is sitting on death row right now – can be married, as long as he is not gay. Charles Manson can be married in this state as well, as long as he is not gay. On this issue alone, these two monsters have more civil rights than most gay and lesbian couples in California.
In my own small way I am trying to make a political statement with my Gay Friendly Greeting cards. I am creating cards that a mother would be happy to buy, or a grandmother or any member of the straight community that wants to share in celebrating a significant event with their LGBT friend or family member. My goal is to create a product that does not separate the LGBT community from the straight community, but rather to draw us together into one community of just PEOPLE. We are all just people. Our sexual preferences should have nothing whatsoever to do with it!