Ed’s note: If you read this blog’s comments, you’re likely to see some commentary from The Comeback Girl. She’s one of my favorite bloggers, and she wrote this intriguing open letter last week about gay marriage that she’s letting us re-post. It’s worth the read.
To My Dearest Aunt Mattie,
I don’t think I’ve ever written you a letter. Nor ever attempted to “out you”, including in this very public forum, otherwise known as my blog. The one you will most likely never read. Aunt Edna thinks this is where I come to babble. I do a lot more than babble here, that’s a secret that my cousin Mia and I keep.
Is it possible for me to come out to you (in reverse); in a way that acknowledges that I know you’re gay. What a interesting life I had as a kid spending weekends with you and Aunt Evie, your then “friend” of more than 25 years. The only person who really made a big ta-do was Aunt Barbara. She’s nuts though, so maybe she doesn’t count. But for the record, my mother always defended you. Her favorite phrase when Aunt B was going off on self-righteous biblical tangents was: “Mind your business” only second to, “Live and Let Live.” Ma misses you, I suppose raising kids “in the closet” perhaps isn’t the best parental practice. And who knows maybe your daughter’s life would have turned out differently, if you were honest at least to her. But your daughter certainly has a long time to think about it in the federal prison system. Your homose!xuality certainly didn’t put her there, but I think your silence about it helped. Perhaps on the case of Nikki, I’ll take my own mother’s advice.
I really do “love the gays”, as Miss Patty always says. How can one not. Everybody has an Aunt Mattie, a straight laced Uncle Doogie Howser, or a flamboyant Uncle Ru Paul. Differences make the world go around.
I’m rambling. But I said all that to say, I’m not sure about this Proposition 8 thing. You were never a by the book woman yourself. Somewhere I imagine you not really giving a dayum about government deciding upon your right to marry, cause as the baby you did whatever the he!l you wanted to. But if you care, I think there’s a real reason that black people voted “Yes” to Proposition 8 (denying marriage be opened for same sex partners) in overwhelming numbers (70%)-essentially causing you to lose the vote. The country looked to California to set the legislative tone on gay marriage. Perhaps its too late with the CA. Supreme Court’s latest decision.
But if there is some kind of gay treehouse meeting that you attend, please let them know that gay rights being defined as civil rights is off putting to conservative black folks. I betcha if a white person read this they’d be blown away, BLACK PEOPLE ARE INHERENTLY CONSERVATIVE. Please write that down Newt. Take a memo Cheney. Gay marriage might just be one of the sticking points to galvinize black folks around your dying party.
I digress. (I hate that phrase by the way.) Let it be known that I am all the way down for gay unions. I am all the way down for gay adoption. I am all the way down for domestic partners being added to health, life etc. work related benefits. I am all the way down for gays to be willed assets when one partner dies.
Sign me up for everything.
But give me a raincheck on gay marriage.
I have a slight problem with gays defining what marriage looks like and then screaming civil rights. And then using Selma Alabama as a reference. Ya’ll are not going to be able to make gay marriage a “civil rights issue and then cite Selma.
I know I’m probably stepping on rainbow territory here. And I’m not trying to tell gay people how to change black folks minds. But I really suggest yall come up with other social parallels that exclude the right to riding on the front of buses and equal protection under the law.
Your “Favorite Niece” Always,