We all knew it was coming, yet U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb’s ruling against Wisconsin’s same-sex marriage ban sent many of us into a flutter of activity that bordered on chaos — blissful chaos, but chaos nonetheless.
Quick! Leave work early! Get down to the courthouse! Bring your ID, some money for the license! Do you have the rings? Pick up the kids! Call mom and dad! Oh my God, it’s really happening! Hurry!
What a delight that the ruling came down on the day PrideFest opened in Milwaukee. For years, PrideFest has been hosting mass commitment ceremonies for devoted same-sex couples. If the ruling stands, it looks like it will be able to host the “real thing” from now on.
Kudos to the many couples whose joy and surprise were captured by TV news teams across the state and seen in millions of homes. Some couples managed to make lucid statements about what marriage meant to them and their families. Others just dissolved into tears. Either way, it was perfect. The genuine emotion was contagious. Only those with frozen hearts could fail to be moved.
Mainstream news coverage was positive, despite the obligatory sound bites from fundamentalist types who predicted the country’s moral demise. Some reporters seemed stirred by the emotions and conveyed that vividly through their coverage.
How about the men and women who spontaneously came forward to serve as witnesses? Some of them were as thrilled as the married couples to be a part of history in the making. Thanks too to those, especially the kids, who showed up with supportive signs bearing the slogan of the day, “Love Wins.” As a lefty, I’ve been a part of way too many demos with unwieldy chants and slogans. “Love Wins” is definitely a winner.
There weren’t too many anti-gay protesters waving banners, and those who showed up were outnumbered and outshone by the happy couples and family members. It was mostly online, where posters can remain anonymous, that the nastiest comments appeared. Anti-gay zealots sure have a creepy obsession with “disgusting sex acts.” The posts almost all used this same phrase, as if they were parroting a particular preacher.
I didn’t post this because I’m sure it would perplex their itty-bitty brains, but I found a great line from Shakespeare’s King Lear to answer their hate: “Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile; filths savor but themselves.”
I had to dash to the drugstore to find some wedding cards for my friends and, boy, was that an adventure. No offense to straight readers, but the selection of wedding cards, mostly aimed at heterosexual couples, seriously sucks. They were either solemn and religious or snickering and suggestive of wild wedding nights, nothing with the wit or flair most queers would expect. A little Googling for LGBT-themed greeting cards ensued, so I should be good to go for the future.
Amid all the excitement, my ex, a radical feminist anarcho-pagan, called and asked if I would marry her. “Are you insane?” I parried. “We spent 12 years together, the last two very rocky, and have since become good pals. Why ruin a good friendship?”
That a radical dyke could be dazzled by marriage fever speaks to the inspiration — or the temporary insanity — of the moment. We must still await the final court ruling, but what a wild ride!
Jamakaya has been an award-winning writer, historian and feminist activist in Milwaukee for 40 years. Her writing has appeared in dozens of local and national publications. See more about her at http://www.Jamakaya.com.