Sunday, July 31, 2011
I was going to post another, ordinary, Weekend Diversion, and then I found this video. Plans changed. I cannot turn away from a story about the triumph of love.
When I think about the struggle for marriage equality, I think about people like the couple in this video. Ralph Goneau, 79, and Richard Wilhelm, 87, were together for 41 years before politicians allowed them to marry. You’d have to have a heart of stone to not be cheered by their story.
I would also gladly put up such relationships as superior to those of so many in the anti-gay industry, couples who have been together a fraction of that time, and who have endured nothing by comparison, yet who have the audacity to dare to presume to lecture us all on what makes for a “real” marriage. Maybe this is why most folks on the far right seldom talk about love and commitment—they know we’re better at it than they are.
The bigots of the anti-gay industry have never—ever—had to worry about being barred from their partner’s hospital bed because they’re not “real” family. They’ve never had to worry about relatives swooping in and taking away a lifetime’s worth of possessions because the surviving spouse isn’t “real” family. They’ve never had to worry that marrying the person they love could result in the deportation of their foreign-national spouse.
So don’t even try to suggest that heterosexuals have some sort of unique and special claim on what makes a real relationship, because from where I sit, they don’t. Moreover, the leaders of the anti-gay industry don’t know anything about what real commitment means, what real triumph over adversity looks like. Quite frankly, I think most of those bigots are far too weak and cowardly to survive what gay couples in most of the US face every single day.
So, I look at couples like Ralph and Richard and I think that just maybe one day this nightmare will be over and gay people will be truly equal. Love doesn’t need approval, it doesn’t need tolerance, it doesn’t need acceptance: It just needs people to get out of the way. Love will find it’s own way regardless—but why must we make it harder?
Ralph and Richard have survived and triumphed. Their story makes me very happy. But I hope that equality comes to all 50 US states well before I’m their age. Still, love will triumph, regardless. We should all be cheered by that.