Today the Respect For Marriage Act passed the House, and it's not perfect, but given that DOMA wasn't so long ago, it does mean things have changed. The "defense" of marriage then meant defending straight marriages--which never had been threatened by same-sex marriage at all. The weird hue and cry against marriage equality was that by some evil voodoo, queer people gaining some measure of security and happiness would take it away from straight people.
This was always dumb. How? How would it do that? Why would anyone argue something so irrelevant?
But let's dwell for a minute on the tears of Frau Hartzler.
As I presided over the debate for the Respect for Marriage Act, I had to remind Republicans like Vicky Hartzler their time for debate expired.— Ritchie Torres (@RitchieTorres) December 8, 2022
For too long, Republicans have tried to stop a full vision of marriage equality in America.
Their time has expired. pic.twitter.com/gDNgsbWWXj
This woman had the nerve to be verklempt that other people would have their right to pursue happiness protected because it made her feel less safe to be a bigot, and she shed real tears begging others to show the courage of their bigotry, too. She felt like her religion and worldview were damaged by others' acceptance of queer relationships in defiance of whatever she thinks "the true meaning of marriage" is. The thought of it cramps her privilege--to be married according to whatever her biblical view says and also to deny that security to others.
I know what a privilege marriage is--it's the privilege to love and be loved. It's the joy of waking up next to someone, and the suffering of watching over them when they are sick or in pain. It's building a life together and knowing them deeply and frustratingly and wanting to be with them because you have made yourselves family. When someone says "the true meaning of marriage" and boils it down to an audit of chromosomes or private parts as sanctioned by a bronze age book of just so stories, I just don't know how not to scoff at the forced limitation of it.
She is indignant to the point of baby tears because other people, different in experience to herself, deserve respect. It affronts her sense that surely, loving differently must be sinful, or at least, LGBTQ folx being a minority, their marriages must be treated as second-class and denied protection, the sanctity of the law. And it's no shock that this probably also carries over to the provisions for interracial marriage. The sense that some violation of the social code will bring the whole edifice of family and faith and whatever down.
There is no edifice. There are human beings loving one another enough to get their shit together and make a life. Even families. Families are real, love is real, marriages are real--and the rot of theological interference is just a goddamn mess. The Bible doesn't decide who marries who. People decide to marry one another. And maybe don't even believe in that book--it doesn't need to have relevance for them. Their human life on earth does.
I look at her tears in the context of shot up substations and death threats against childrens' hospitals and cancelled drag brunches and reading displays at libraries, and the violence of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and the tampering with queer kids' suicide hotlines and sneer at her cry for the courage to be a bigot.
YOUR COURAGE? In the face of people whose love triumphs over the fear of death?
I could call it a lot of things, but not courage. It's the absence of faith in others, understanding of others, a denial that love is real.
I am glad most people do not see things her way, and I hope those who do come to think better of it.