Until It Hits Home

When news exploded about the decision of the SCOTUS to lift the ban on same-sex marriage across 50 states, I watched my newsfeed explode in the same manner--of rainbows and hashtags, and of dissent and outcry on the attack on traditional marriage and the breaking down of the moral fabric of the world. I read both sides of the argument of the judges who voted for and against the lifting of the ban and I marveled at the beauty of their arguments, the rhetoric and impassioned plea to a nation as divided as the judges themselves.


I was happy--of course I was happy. After all, the most powerful country in the world (it's not China yet, is it?) just declared that couples of the same sex can marry anywhere in the US and accorded with the same rights as any other married couple. It sets a strong voice to the world for equality.

But I never changed my profile picture to the colors of a rainbow, nor did I post anything about my opinions on the matter. The order of SCOTUS has little effect to me--at least in the near future. So I read and observed as the battle raged on in social media, sometimes piqued, oftentimes amused.

Earlier today I read about a college friend's post about the threat to the sanctity of marriage. While he didn't explicitly say what it was, anyone who read his post would know what he was pointing at. I laughed, not because I found it funny, but because I was tempted to reply to his post. I wanted to write: Do you know that your brother is gay? But of course I didn't. No need to destroy the sanctity of his family.

I do not know if he knows or not (most probably not because of the holier-than-thou tone of his post), but I wondered how that must have felt for his older brother. Whether or not he is out to his family, that post must have made him feel unworthy and ostracized.

One of the so-called compassionate arguments of the conservatives is that they love gays (I saw several attestations of those who oppose the lifting of the ban saying how they love gays. In fact several posts I've read started with that statement: I love gays! They made it sound like we're stuff toys, like (teddy) bears to be cuddled.) but they cannot accept homosexual marriage. They go on by saying that they do not judge us or hate us or condemn us, they just do not want us to get married.

This is such a bullshit rhetoric. It's like a one-percenter saying "I love my maids and servants, but they must never use the front door and use only the service elevators and they must only eat yaya meals." It's like the views of men in centuries past, before the Suffragist came to be, to love women, but not allow them to vote. Such argument cloak in compassion is the worst, because that's the heart of discrimination: to say that you love someone and yet treat them with less than the dignity you would accord for yourself.

What did the lifting allow same-sex couples to have who decide to get married? The law did not force churches to marry same-sex couples against their wishes--there was none of that. It allowed same-sex couples to have the same rights as heterosexual couples. It means a couple can enroll each other for health benefits, can have the same visitation rights as a family when one gets hospitalized, can file joint income taxes together, can buy and own property together, can inherit each other's property, and all those other things that heterosexual married couples enjoy. That's why it's called marriage equality. Because it gives all human beings the same rights.

Last week, I had an officemate who filed for an emergency leave because her hubby was sick. I thought to myself, I cannot do that, because it's not in the law. Last year, I got offered for a life insurance. There was an option there for a same-sex partner as a beneficiary, so I checked it. When I submitted it, the agent told me, "Are you sure you want to put that? They don't usually approve that eh."

Then why even put it there? My head was screaming, but calmly I told her, "Can we just try, please?"

"How about your parents or siblings?" she said.

"My brother is dead; my parents are in the US and are richer than me," I said.

She said she would try. Two weeks later, she came back to me and told me they cannot accept same-sex partner as a beneficiary.

I could go one with the inequities I've encountered, read, and considered, because marriage is not possible for people like us. So where is the love they're talking about? It's all rhetoric, high above the clouds abstraction of what it means to love and care for someone. Because when reality strikes and hit shits the fan, they do not want gay couples to have the same rights as everyone else. What can their chained love do when a gay person cannot enroll his unemployed partner for health benefits? Or cannot file a simple emergency leave when the other is sick?

Their words are meaningless. They claim to be benevolent and full of grace, but their denial of equal rights is vicious.

They wouldn't know the life of a gay man, from birth to confusion, to staying in the closet or coming out, unless they walk in our shoes, feel with our hearts, or in the case of my college friend, until it hits home and the disenfranchised is their beloved.

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