As much as it means to me, there is more to me than this work (we are all multifaceted). Given the Supreme Court’s hearing of two crucial cases last week, I want to share a different side of me with The Daily Love community. I followed last week’s civil rights cases with great interest because I am a lesbian.
As a gay woman, I cannot get married in my home state, California. As a gay woman, even if my state recognized my marriage, I would not get federal benefits. My wife for life and I do not have the same rights as a man and a woman who are married. While it is true that we do not get things like social security benefits, the thing that really hurts is that in many parts of the world, and certainly many parts of our country, our relationship is condemned and considered a sin.
And yet, I am no different from all the straight women who are eager to find “the one” and settle down. Just because there will not be a man walking down the aisle with me doesn’t mean I don’t have all the same thrills: a beautiful dress, a party for the ones I love, a lifetime with my soul mate.
In fact, my partner Kathleen and I have been married – twice. First in 2004 when the mayor of San Francisco legalized gay marriage (a decision later struck down), and then in 2008, when California, briefly, legalized gay marriage for the whole state. We ran, not walked, to the courthouse in 2008 because we were concerned about Proposition 8, which was looming on the ballot for that fall. I’ll remember that bittersweet 2008 election night forever. It was the night we elected our first black President, and the night Prop 8 passed, nullifying our marriage.
Valid in the eyes of the law or not, my partnership of 15 years is the greatest blessing of my life. Every day when I look into Kathleen’s eyes, I say to her, “I am the luckiest person on the planet to have found you!” Luck does not seem to be the right word – it feels that we were “meant to be” – but it’s the best I can do to describe an indescribable feeling. I tell people all the time that finding her was my greatest accomplishment in life. And it is.
And despite these government hurdles, the LOVE I feel from others, even people I’ve just met, reassures me that our time will come. I have met countless Americans who are in favor of my rights as a lesbian. According to the latest poll, 58% of Americans believe gay marriage should be allowed. Whenever I get discouraged by anti-gay media or legal setbacks, I remember the encouragement of friends and even total strangers, and am heartened again.
To counter the fear of those who see me as a threat, I write, I speak, I come out and I celebrate the steps, no matter how small, we are making. And I jump for joy with gratitude for people like my brother-in-arms Mastin (Why Jesus Loves LGBT People and Gay Marriage Doesn’t Exist), who is not afraid to say, “I love Jesus and support gay marriage.” I, like Mastin, consider Jesus my greatest teacher because he embodied love, and I know he loves me as I am.
Every day I pinch myself for the life I have.
I get to wake up every morning with gratitude.
I love my wife.
I love my life.
My two daily mantras.
I have faith that I will see the day that I can write “wife” and mean it legally as well as spiritually and emotionally. Until that day, I will continue to speak out, to educate, and most importantly, love.
Weight Release & Body Image Coach Laura Fenamore is on a mission to guide women around the world to love what they see in the mirror, one pinky at a time, so they can unlock the secrets to a healthy weight and start loving their lives as soon as possible. Learn more about her programs, invite her to speak or contribute to your program or conference, or place pre-orders for her book today at OnePinky.com.