Six and a half years into my relationship with my would-be wife, (we cancelled our wedding no thanks to the passing of Prop 8), we were at my brother’s wedding in the Bay Area. When it came time for family photos, my girl was not invited to be in them. Mind you, everyone in my family really prides themselves on being smart, liberal, forward thinking, conservation oriented, Rachel Maddow fans. I looked behind me at my brother’s fiance’s brother and his wife smiling away one tier up in the bleachers. They had met a few months prior while he was traveling in her native country, and they’d gotten married so she could come back to the states to be with him – a green card wedding. Because they were married, she was in the photos and in the wedding. Because my partner and I were not married, my partner was not invited to be in family photos, and she got to walk my brother’s dog, with the ring attached to his collar, down the aisle. This was supposed to be a gesture of acceptance.
My brother’s wedding was one of the most dehumanizing days I’ve lived, though I chose not to kick up a stink then and there. I did, however, promise myself that I would dedicate myself and my work as a writer/filmmaker to preventing things like this from happening to other people.
To this day, nearly 2 years later, nobody in my family has said, “I’m sorry.” When my mother explained to me that the decision about my partner not belonging in the photos was based on us not being married, I had to remind her, “Mom! There is a LAW prohibiting us from getting married. In our hearts, we are very much forever!”
Acceptance must not just be a gesture of political correctness. It must be written into our sub-conciouses. As I know too well, equality still is not second nature to too many people, good people, and we must change that. It must become a way of life.