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[personal profile] tim
A few days ago I was listening to some Vienna Teng albums on Spotify, and her song "City Hall" came up. I realized that this post -- from my LiveJournal on February 16, 2004 -- was almost nine years old. So here it is, nine years today.

If I try to think back, I don't think I thought then that we'd still be fighting for basic dignity and respect nine years later, at least not with respect to the particular issue of whether marriage should be for everyone.

We went to City Hall, in San Francisco, and helped same-sex couples get married! And I met [livejournal.com profile] ubiquity, who I hadn't expected to see at all despite having read her post where she said she was coming here this weekend, since at that point I didn't know I was also going! ([livejournal.com profile] karenbynight and [livejournal.com profile] yakkette apparently got turned away due to an excess of volunteers, and [livejournal.com profile] wkfauna -- wisely given the former -- decided not to make the trek up. And I must thank [livejournal.com profile] wintersweet, who was there on Saturday to perform ceremonies, for passing along the information so that I could be there in the first place!)

We'll display our Assessor-Record Volunteer nametags proudly in the house, though neither of us did much assessing or recording. We handed out donuts for the first few minutes -- if there's anything happier than handing out Krispy Kremes to people taking advantage of their first chance to get married, I don't know what. For the rest of the day we stationed ourselves along the line of people waiting and checked their license application forms for validity. This was surprisingly important, since many people don't understand the concept that when they say "the name on your ID has to match the name you put on the form *exactly*", they mean "don't put down 'John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith' when your license says 'John J. Smith'."

We also had to check that they'd received the booklet on "Your Future Together" that the state is legally required to hand out, and which mostly consists of information on pregnancy (not particularly relevant, since although same-sex couples might have kids, they probably wouldn't do it accidentally) and STDs (which unmarried same-sex couples presumably know more about than married different-sex couples). As one guy commented, "We've been together 24 years." And then there was the couple both of whom were named Kenneth and both of whom were over 60, of whom the older one couldn't remember what his occupation was (he'd put down "Retired" but they wanted the previous job in those cases), and the couple whose members had the same birthdays as David and I (not the same years), and the guy who had to ask his partner what his own occupation was because he forgot...

If I were ever inclined to believe that marriage was love, today would have been that moment. And it's somehow inconceivable to think of the people who will presumably be suing tomorrow in order to protect marriage by stripping 2500+ people of their marriage licenses. I wonder how many of them are just parroting lines they've been told and have never actually met a gay person and can therefore believe that they're all purple-furred monsters with horns, and how many of them actually could have stepped inside City Hall today, watched and listened to what was going on for five minutes, and still believe that letting (mostly) normal-looking people with kids and jobs and dogs get married was a threat to Western civilization. In the first case, I can understand how it's easy to unthinkingly absorb stereotypes. I just can't possibly imagine what it's like to be inside the mind of the second kind of person, any more than I can imagine what it's like to be a jellyfish or a doorknob.

But at least for five days, love won out over hate in San Francisco, and I'm glad to have been there to see part of it.

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tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
Tim Chevalier

October 2017

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