Straights Read This

I hope you're paying attention to this. Yes, you.

We may lose this particular battle (if my and others' reading of the California Supreme Court justices' questions is correct) and we will have to deal fully with the fact that our fellow citizens believe we are less worthy than they of the rights and responsibilities of marriage. We will also have to confront the new reality that the legal system supports and codifies this belief. But, more than that, we will be faced with seemingly final, stark terms that we, the queer citizens of California, deserve less, mean less, are less than our neighbors, friends, and colleagues. And it will be painful. And there will be tears.

But there will also be a rage. It will explode at first, and you should be afraid and take cover. I cannot be sure what the reaction of millions will be when they are told their constitution does not protect them. What will they have to lose? In time, however, this rage will diminish and will transform into a dull pain; then, it will metamorphose into something greater. Because, you see, ultimately, it will grow. And we will keep taking to the streets and to the voting booths, and this lost battle will be both a Pyrrhic victory for our opponents and a rallying cry to propel us to victory in this war against equal rights for all. Because we do not merely fight for ourselves but for all who would be mistreated by the majority, who would be downtrodden, cast aside, refused entrance. Today or very soon, we will probably be the ones who are told there is no room at this particular inn, but tomorrow it may be another group.

So, we fight. We fight and march and write and sing and shout and vote so that WE are treated fairly--and time is on our side. But I want you to know that we do this also so that YOU will be treated fairly, even if you hate us today. Even if you wish us pain or imprisonment or death, we still march for you. And for your children and your children's children. For they may be one of us or one of "them" or one of another group whom we have not yet learned to despise. And, although you do not know it yet, they need our help today. This work and our sacrifices will be made so that they will be freer than we.

With this in mind, I hope you will join us. Be brave, if not for us, then for them.


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