A sign hangs outside an attorney’s office in East Memphis. For $300, folks can get out of those sacred marriages that mean so much to them, the marriages that set them apart as privileged and pure people among us.
Only 300 hundred smackers and people can run free from their squeaky clean spouses and home–schooled children where never a cross word has been spoken and never has the dog pooped on the carpet. Even the mosquitoes don’t bite when the marriage is blessed and set apart by God. Three hundred dollars and it will all go away.
North Carolina’s people recently went to the polls when they might have been spending quality time with their families. They could have been walking in the park and enjoying God’s natural order while shielding the children’s faces from the homosexual activity among the animals at the zoo. Instead, they took their children to the polls for a civics lesson.
Children in a democratic society watched as their parents voted to add an amendment to North Carolina’s constitution that denies rights to friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in that state.
Those voting to add the discriminatory amendment sincerely believe that God was touching the screen with them. But God never insisted that Adam and Eve (or Adam and Steve) be legally married by the state of North Carolina or any legal body. There was no wedding chapel in the Garden of Eden, yet they had children — Cain and Abel, who were obviously allowed to mate with their sisters.
How else did the rest of us arrive on the scene? Maybe God kept secret another garden and another family who came over for barbecue fests with the original family of Eden. But we all know God would never keep secrets from us. Otherwise, we might be ignorant of some particular Truth we could use to feel righteous and superior.
While John Edwards, a nice North Carolina boy, sits in court awaiting the outcome of his dilly-dallies with the holy state of matrimony, my partner and I are enjoying our 13th year together. We are women. We met in church. We are a family. We read the Bible and pray. We are no more saint or sinner than our neighbors.
We do our best to contribute to the good in our city. We buy our groceries, mow the lawn, keep the house repaired and take the dog for walks. We have never been able to figure out what part of getting the oil changed in our car makes ours a “gay lifestyle.” Our lives are ordinary; we are neither rich nor poor. Yet we would be happy to pay $300 if it would purchase our equal right to be married in Tennessee.
Elaine Blanchard is a minister in the Progressive Christian Alliance, a writer and storyteller.