Thursday, December 13, 2012

Droppings from the catholic Birdcage: "Never Thought of It That Way"

This is not really a Catholic dropping.  And so I've lowercased the "catholic" in the title of this posting, to indicate it's a comment by someone in the wide-open catholic spaces of the internets, about whose religious leanings (or non-religious leanings) I have no clue at all.

In a recent New York Times discussion, Steven Petrow follows up on a question by a reader who lives in North Carolina and is not permitted to marry his same-sex partner, and who wonders if he should decline an invitation to his niece's straight wedding.  He says he has "had enough" of attending weddings at which he's asked to celebrate the joy of other (i.e., always straight) couples as they marry, when he and his partner cannot legally marry.

Petrow's advice: go to the wedding.  Family trumps politics.  Make nice.

But here's what catches my eye in particular in Petrow's article.  He says that he posted the reader's question on his Facebook page before writing his Times article, and someone (his sister-in-law? this part of the article is ambiguous to me) who is opposed to same-sex marriage and voted for Romney chimed in with the following comment:

Never thought of it that way. I can see why you don’t want to go. If I were banned from marrying B., I wouldn’t want to go either. For what it’s worth, I respect and understand your position and decision.

And I have to say that this response surprises me.  On the one hand, I'm happy that this Romney supporter opposed to marriage equality has had a breakthrough insight about what it might mean for those of us who are gay to go repeatedly to the weddings of straight family members and friends and grin our way through celebrations that exclude us at the most fundamental level possible.

But on the other hand, Never thought of it?

Really?  In this day and age?  In America C.E. 2012?

Never thought of what it might be like to walk through life in gay skin in a culture in which you happen to use your left hand, while every door and every device imaginable is configured only for the right hand?

Never thought of it?!  I have to say, I don't get it.  And I also wonder if some people's political choices depend on willful ignorance, on a deliberate not-thinking that allows us to pretend we are in no way connected to many others who are affected at a very significant level by our political decisions.

And having gotten that off my chest (and no doubt having appalled some readers as I've done so), I wonder what the rest of you think about the question this North Carolina gay man asks re: his niece's wedding . . . .

As some readers may know, I myself have vented about this topic in the past.

No comments: