On Love & Politics

I’d like to step out of my usual genres to simply say how sad I was, while listening to the vice presidential debate, to be reminded of one thing the candidates agree on: I should not have the right to marry whom I choose, were I to be so lucky to have a partner. All I could think about was my daughter, who was watching as well, who would be reminded all over again that her mother belongs to a group that is not granted basic marriage rights. After all the patriotic pride I’ve felt for my country during this remarkable election, and all of the talking to my kid about it, and her budding political soul breathing this air, this revolution, to see such a stark blow to my civil rights with my daughter watching—I was ashamed for my county, not “of” but “for” my homeland. Land of the free. Standing where I stand, as a woman bound by a civil union that is invisible in the state where I live, a marriage-rights activist that ironically suffered the loss of my own eight-year “marriage,” a single mom looking through the lens of a fresh divorce though I can’t even legally divorce, I can tell you that the central thing that robbed me of my marriage is something many Americans face regardless of sexual orientation—the devastating, long-term effects of incest, a crime that can cripple a child’s ability to ever have a family of her own. And in the end, my heart is just as human as the heart that can legally marry—or tragically, legally divorce—in his or her homeland. And my daughter’s heart is just as tender as the heart of a child born to parents who can legally marry—or lose—the love of their lives.

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