I have a blog, I might as well use it

May 9, 2012 § 9 Comments

I am not fool enough to believe that my opinion really matters. I express it because not to do so feels painful, not because I expect to change minds or win hearts. I have long since come to the conclusion that humans are not rational beings, that we rationalize what we want to do rather than reason what we should do, and I know that I am a human and just as likely to do so. I am not writing this because I believe there is an argument here to be won.

I simply don’t believe in the state stealing hope directly from people. I cannot understand the majority of citizens in a state, any state, getting together to deliberately take something or the possibility of same away from people. From their neighbors, their friends, their fellow citizens. What happened in North Carolina yesterday was the majority proving John Stewart Mill necessary.

I said elsewhere that those that voted to take marriage away from their fellow citizens were thieves of happiness. They are worse. They are misers, who believe that things they hold which are precious to them are diminished if others experience that precious thing in their turn. They wish to hoard, to hold away. It is not enough that they have a good thing. Others must not have it in order for it to maintain good. They are like children, already having eaten their fill, who then knock the ice cream from another child’s hands merely to prevent that child from knowing how it tastes.

I love my wife, Julian. I love her in the way you come to love someone after years together, that particular kind of love that comes from watching them sleep, from arguing over trivalities, from tickling each other in bed and bickering over money and sometimes becoming so angry with each other that you don’t speak to each other for an entire day. Love is built by experiences shared and mortared by the commitment you make to undergo those experiences together. Nothing in any of this is restricted by gender, because it is all human, and based in the common need to not endure our brief moment alive alone. We are trapped inside our selves, forever unable to do more than reach out to others. It is beyond cruel to try and deny that to anyone. It is beyond avaricious to try and steal the warmth from someone else’s life so that your own will seem warmer by contrast.

I have a message I would like to impart to those of you who voted to steal from your fellow women and men.

If you attempted to steal my wife, my marriage from me, you would fail. And you have failed today. Those people who you stole from are still there, still holding hands, still asking if anyone has seen their keys. Still laughing. Still loving, still fucking, still bitching about farts smelling awful, still complaining about where the hygiene products got stored, still walking their dogs and hating each others taste in clothing. Still living their lives. All they have lost is a little bit of shared belief in the goodness of their fellows, and the security that marriage grants them in a cold and hostile world. You have only added a hurdle, you have not destroyed them. You will not, because you cannot.

Your attempt to define marriage, to ‘preserve its sanctity’ by acting as if sanctity exists in a narrow ledger and can be parceled out will fail because it has already failed. Those people are already married. There is nothing you can do to unhallow, to shrive the sanctity from, to unmake those unions. There is nothing you can do to steal being awake at 3 am because of snoring, nothing you can do to stop the showers taken together, to pilfer sitting in a movie theatre with hands joined over the cup holder. Nothing you can do to prevent the whispers into ears in the dark, or standing on the sidewalk in that long, long moment when you know you’re going to kiss someone but you haven’t… quite… worked up the nerve. You cannot defile this to make your own marriage more holy. You cannot prevent it.

There is nothing you can do. Pass your amendments, if they comfort you. They are doomed, as doomed as the miscegenation laws and amendments that passed in the 19th and 20th centuries. They are as doomed as hoarding gold. The elderly miser dies as poor as anyone. You cannot steal memories, cannot steal experiences, cannot steal commitment. You can make their lives harder, but you cannot force them to be what you are, or what you want them to be.

Love forces its way through cracks. It undermines, it erodes all resistance. It is vines twining their way along stony surfaces, it is water pushing itself to the surface. It will outlast you.

To those of you that voted against this amendment, thank you. I know it is disheartening to stand up against hate, against those who believe that precious things are only precious in their own hands and no one else’s, and see them seemingly come to a victory. But this is no victory. This is the last shrill scream of a doddering mentality. In the end, this will not stand. It is an injustice. Injustices may endure for decades, even centuries, but they are edifices built on sand, and they crumble and sink. This one will too.

Marriage is already sacred, already sanctified. You can neither preserve nor degrade that state, because it is not you who makes it so, nor your laws and proclamations. It is the work of those in it, to love, to support, to shelter and in turn be sheltered, the thousand great and tiny acts of devotion in the face of the world and our own fragility and mistakes that make marriage sacred. You can do nothing to it.

§ 9 Responses to I have a blog, I might as well use it

  • Nikki Alicki says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. I have been feeling disheartened and I have lost faith in people. My husband and I both voted against the amendment, and I can’t believe so many people are still motivated by hate to this extent.

  • Christopher says:

    As a NC resident who voted against the amendment yesterday, thank you. Thank you for saying this so well, and so passionately. There are a host of other, more practical things that are abhorrent about the amendment (it did nothing substantial about gay rights really, same sex marriage already wasn’t legal) but it was also a statement about who the proponents of the bill are are as human beings and what the humanity of our neighbors means to them.

    Thank you for expressing what so many here in NC who tried to fight this bill felt yesterday, and what we hope and believe for the future.

  • Phil says:

    I have spent a half hour trying to put something witty and intelligent here as a response. I am apparently not either of those things. I agree with you Mr. Rossi. It is a shame that this is still so emotional and devisive. If you could take the emotion out of it I think it would be solved, but how do you take emotion from humans. In so many ways it is really all we are.

  • This sort of thing really makes me sad. I find it hard to tell people I’m a Christian when stuff like this rears it’s ugly head because I don’t want to be associated with people who think it’s okay to trample over the rights of others. Since when has forcing anything on anyone ever worked? Let people be people and use that as an example in how the religion works.

    I also don’t understand how people being married hurts the sanctity of marriage in any way. It’s certainly not going to do anything to the religion. If Christianity managed to survive through lions’ dens and hiding-in-back-rooms persecution, other people living their lives is not going to kill it off. In fact, it will do more for Christians and the religion as a whole to show that we love and accept people no matter who they are and what they believe.

    Arg, sorry, I didn’t mean to go on a rant. It really just makes me angry.

  • David Harrington says:

    Matthew, I am humbled by your ability to express my sentiments so eloquently.
    Thank you very much. David Harrington

  • toriauru says:

    This is getting passed around on Facebook, and I’ve shared it on G+ as well. Thank you for saying it so well. Yes, love will find a way. It found its way here in Canada, where I live. If only people could come to my home, here in Quebec, and share with me my two lovely neighbours. Two guys, married, living in peace. The nicest guys around. *sighs* No, the “sanctity” of my marriage isn’t the least bit disturbed by them or by any other gay couple. Governments should just allow civil marriages between any two people who wish it. You don’t have to allow it in a church. Just let two people who love each other marry each other. End of story. The society will not fall apart!! Our Canadian society hasn’t fallen apart has it? Of course not. So many things that Americans are afraid of are so widely done in other places. Your country would be wise to adopt these, but is too behind the times. In so many ways.

  • Andrew Hickey says:

    I’ll go further and say that those people *are* damaging *straight* marriages. I got married in Minnesota, and in order to get a marriage license I had to sign a bit of paper saying I was “born a man”, which not only is both homophobic and transphobic, it’s also not true — I was born a baby (luckily for my mum).

    Having to do that (and I had to get married in order for my wife to live in the same country as me) — having to choose between signing a piece of institutional bigotry or not be with the woman I love — did put a real blot on my wedding, if not (of course) the relationship it was celebrating. Had I had any other option open, I would have refused to sign…

  • […] Matthew Rossi on the result of the North Carolina plebiscite against equal marriage […]

  • Sebastien says:

    You give me hope, Rossi. You give me hope.

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