Thursday, April 06, 2006

America's Reverse Immigration Problem

I’m done with Indiana. I got a letter from Indiana Senator Michael Young this week in response to a note I’d sent that asked him not to support Senate Joint Resolution 7, the “marriage amendment.”

He wrote back that there was no common ground on this issue. He said Indiana is beautiful and full of possibility. He would be sorry if we felt like we needed to leave the state, but he wished us well if we did. Polite, probably sincere, dismissive.

I wrote him back to say that I thought our mutual interest in making sure that minority families were not disadvantaged was surely common ground. But as I put the letter in the mail something hit me.

The most I could realistically hope for from Senator Young, most Americans, and even a few of my own friends and extended family, is that they not write discrimination into our country's and states’ constitutions.

That’s right. I’m not fighting for my family’s rights. Sadly, I’m fighting this hard just to slow the progressive creep of government-sanctioned discrimination. That makes about as much sense as an abused wife staying with her husband because there’s a chance he might not beat her as hard tomorrow. Not to go all barefoot Arkansas, but when it comes to my family, I do not play.

Within minutes my outlook changed. Yes, it was a sad revelation and surprisingly slow in coming, but it was still important. I will never set the bar that low again. John and I contribute positively to our country. We pay our taxes. We keep our property up and support our neighborhood and church. We volunteer in our community and are constantly looking for ways to create positive change in our city. This state and this country can’t seem to figure out a way to say, “This family is good and we should figure out a way to protect it like we do others so they can continue doing more.” Well, that is only my family's problem if we let it be.

Many people came to our country to escape persecution and to pursue the currently out of fashion ideal of liberty. Sad to say it may soon be time for John and I to do the same.

Happily, there are countries out there with welcome mats waiting for us. I'm reading Richard Florida's, The Flight of the Creative Class and according to him these countries are scratching their heads wondering what is taking us so long. They value our education, our ingenuity, and who we are as people. Unlike the U.S., they realize that people with our values and resources have a lot to offer their communities. So they invite us.

Cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Dublin (Ireland is set to pass civil union laws), London, and small towns in New Zealand. Countries like Spain, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands, and even South Africa (yes, South Africa is fast-tracking marriage rights for us). These are not places that “tolerate” us. They value us!

Should I pay tax dollars to support a government and a country that is working overtime to keep a minority of families blowing in the wind? I love the U. S., but I’m not about to sit by and have my family treated as second-class citizens because some people get squirmy about whom I love. I refuse to live in a neighborhood with people who kindly smile while simultaneously hoping John and I split so we can both be “cured” of our homosexuality. Nope, I’m done. I’ll fight our state’s and country’s marriage amendments as hard as I can while we are here. But if the jury comes back with the wrong answer, we are gone.


Blogger Mike Mather said...

There's probably nothing that should be said to this - except perhaps 'Amen.' So...what I have to say I don't argue is "right" -- it is only what is in my heart. I don't want you to go. I don't want you and John to go -- specifically. I don't want to see you miserable and unhappy either. I simply love you both. I'm proud to know you. I'm proud and blessed to be your friend. And our family, our community, our church, our city, our state and our country are poorer without you and John around. Palm Sunday is coming. And then Easter. But not without Good Friday stuck in there too. And Maundy Thursday. And betrayal and violence and love and a meal and a towel and a basin and a cross and a tomb. I wish all this stuff wasn't wrapped up together. I wish to God it wasn't. It isn't.
And also this (like I have anything to say on this at all) -- I hope (and it seems obscene to even say it) that the injustice, the ugliness, and hypocrisy, the meanness, the homophobia, the racism truly doesn't have the last word. though it sure seems to be in control. but it wasn't. it isn't. the thing i love best about you troy (and there is much to love in both you and john, seperately and together) is that like jesus himself, you refuse (even kicking and screaming) to stop loving. others. yourself. and at moments and in ways that have confounded me -- even in your enemies. i love you. mike

3:32 PM  

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