The American People Aren’t Furious!

By Kit-Bacon Gressitt

It all started with our wedding: the be-medaled uniforms on one side, the prochoice buttons on the other. … Nope, nope, it started with the intervention, the dinner at which my feminist friends planned to confront the self-delusional rationalization that I, the leftwing columnist, had contrived for accepting the proposal of a Marine. A Marine colonel, no less.

Problem was, it turned out they liked him. And he met my political litmus tests: He’s prochoice, figures sexual orientation is irrelevant in battle, and actually gives thought to California’s unbridled ballot measures. Our marriage proceeded, and we’ve been playing house ever since, despite cancelling out each other’s votes a bit too frequently.

Then, in 2008, Prop. 8 passed 52 to 48 percent, resulting in a state constitutional amendment that restricted marriage to opposite-sex couples, effectively prohibiting any new same-sex marriages in California and denying recognition of those from other states and nations.

My response was to staple a sign to our front gate — “I DO Support the Freedom to Marry” — with heavy-duty staples, every other inch. Having lost a car window to someone peeved with the gay-rights bumper sticker in it, I was determined that my next opponent would have to work a lot harder to remove my message.

My husband came home, and the conversation went something like this:

“See the sign?”


“I’m keeping it up until same-sex marriage is secured for California.”


“Maybe all fifty states.”

“Yep. Want to go for sushi?”

As our collective social circle says, he’s not bad for a Marine and I’m not bad for a liberal. We’re both pretty tolerant. Oh, he might wince when he brings Marines home to dinner, but he’d never ask me to take down the sign, and I always discretely seat our conservative guests with their backs to the liberal artwork on the dining room wall. Wouldn’t want to give them agita.

Eventually, California Judge Vaughn Walker struck down Prop. 8 as unconstitutional, and announced that his temporary stay on the decision would be lifted, barring any action by the Appeals Court.[1]

I contemplated what my new gate message might be, vacillating between saving the Fourteenth Amendment right to citizenship for children of immigrants and challenging the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, claiming U.S. corporations are citizens. I thought I might have a little fun, advocating for corporate citizens’ right to marry the offspring of undocumented immigrants, but an email from Brian Brown of National Organization for Marriage hit my inbox and squelched my playful ruminations.

He claimed “the American people are furious” — furious! — with Walker, that his decisions have “ignited a firestorm.”

I did a quick check outside, because I live in Southern California and fires are not to be taken lightly here. Turns out Brown was misstating the situation. There wasn’t even a whiff of smoke in the air. However, his message had also reiterated NOM’s dogma that the purpose of marriage is procreation.

Now, this made me wonder, because my husband and I had both been to the Yankee Clipper prior to our marriage, which means we don’t meet NOM’s procreation criteria.

I mentioned this to my husband, and the conversation went something like this:

“Honey, according to NOM, you and I should not have been allowed to marry in California because we can’t procreate.”

“According to who?”

Whom, Honey. According to the National Organization for Marriage, NOM. They say the primary purpose of marriage is procreation.”

“They some kind of commies or something?”

“I love you, Honey.”


In the end, I figure it’s like this: A republican Marine and a democratic feminist can agree that marriage is a civil right, to be enjoyed by everyone, and we’re just not that unusual. Remove the angry rhetoric from the debate, the fearful propaganda, and most folks will eventually join us.

Love, K-B

[1] Prop. 8 proponents appealed Walker’s decision, so it was stayed pending further appeals. Thankfully, Prop. 8 has lost every case and might (or might not) be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Crossposted at the Progressive Post and  Soulforce.