Saturday, February 19, 2005

My Phone Face-Off with a Texas Republican

I have not blogged in awhile because I've been getting ready for a long trip to Seattle, Canada, and then Boston (with a short stop back in Indy for two days along the way).

I'm in Vancouver now, an international city, good restaurants and well worth a visit. Mountains and a coastline, now that's topographical interest. The international part is very positive I imagine, but I didn't think so when I had to stand in line for two hours at the airport's Immigration Center behind a recently deplaned (and large) group of Japanese exchange students. The students were all so polite though that I couldn't bring myself to express my impatience as I might normally--through the annoyed huffs and eye rolls that I inherited from my father.

Oh, and for those who read the entry about my passport application, it indeed arrived at the very last minute. I had to pick it up at the post office (back door) at 5:00 p.m. the night before my flight left (at 8:00 a.m. the next morning). All I can say is that God is faithful.

Canadians in British Columbia seem to be so nice. The concierge at my hotel, Doug, has a perpetual smile on his face and always asks how my day has been when he sees me in the elevator. The woman who cleans the rooms on my floor rang my doorbell yesterday afternoon to ask me how I liked my room and if I needed anything.

It is strange being in a country where it is legal for me to be married. Funny story though, the battle for equal marriage rights followed me right up here. After breakfast yesterday, Glenda, one of the consultants I'm working alongside, and I were talking about what our spouses did for a living. I've known Glenda for awhile, and I love working with her. Our conversation went something like this.

"Troy, please don't hate me when I tell you what Scott does."

"Glenda, I would never hate anyone for what their husband does, but I am awfully curious."

"He works for the Republican Party in Texas."

"You are kidding me. How does he sleep at night?"

"I don'ty know but it gets worse. He helped create the redistricting maps that gave the Republican party more power in Texas a few years back. He works very closely with Tom Delay."

"Good heavens! That's awful. Well, I'm sure he must have some good qualities if you love him. When you see him, ask him why he wants to deny my family civil rights. "

She said she would and that was the end of the conversation until her husband called her while we were in a car driving to our first stop.

As she talked to him a new conversation began.

"Hey, my friend Troy wants to know why you want to deny his family civil rights. Here talk to him." She handed me the phone. Not knowing what to do, I asked him.

"Hi Scott. Why do you want to deny my family their civil rights?"

"What?" I could tell he was surprised. I repeated the question.

"Well, your relationship will never result in procreation and that is the foundation of marriage."

"But I know older couples who marry who can't have children, and also those who are infertile. But they can all still get married." I even mentioned Joni Erickson, a Christian singer/writer who is paralyzed from the waste down, married without children.

"Why would you want all the hassles of marriage we have?" he asked.

"Because I have same-sex couple friends who have adopted children and I want their families to have the same rights that your family does. And John and I are trying to adopt and we will want them, too. The hassles of marriage are nothing compared to the hassles of not having the rights that go along with them, especially when it comes to inheritence taxes."

"Well, it's like Prohibition. If the majority of the country thinks its a good idea we have to do what they say, even if 14 years later we decide that it is the dumbest idea we ever heard."

"Scott, I don't care what the majority of Americans think. I care about what you think."

"If you care what I think, please make sure my wife it taken care of up there." An understandable attempt to change the subject, which I allowed.

"I will. It was good to talk to you. Here's Glenda."

Glenda and I laughed about it when she hung up. "I try to tell him," she said. I was actually grateful to tell a far right-wing conservative what I think even if it probably did not change his mind. At least his arguments will have to be less abstract in the future. I'm in Texas at least once a year. I plan to make a point of meeting him on my next trip.

Well, I'm going shopping with my friend Colleen now. I miss John. Shopping and good food are my only consolation.


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