The Fifty Shades readers are probably familiar with my best friend H-Town, but in case anyone is not, let me tell you about her. H-Town and I have known each other more than 16 years since we started college together at Ohio University. We were pretty much instant friends because we are both ridiculous, and also because once you've met her it is almost impossible to not be friends with her. She is intelligent, hysterically funny, loving, loyal, creative, talented, spontaneous, thoughtful - really everything you could possibly ever want in a friend. These days, H-Town is a journalist living in Maryland. She works for a company that does work she truly believes in, and when she's not doing that, she's usually volunteering or doing stuff with the church she recently helped found, or on stage doing improv and killing audiences with her incredible gift for both general humor and physical comedy. She is a devoted wife and a brilliant mother to her two year old daughter. She is also a lesbian.
When H-Town and her (also amazing) wife A-Town got married ten years ago, the government was not in the business of high-fiving gay people on their life choices (a line I've stolen from another awesome lesbian I know). They only got to do it legally a few years ago when it became possible in DC. They did it just before their daughter was born and got to have both their names on her birth certificate. Today they could do it in the state where they live.
It's a subject that is hard for me to discuss with people. It's important to be a good advocate for what is right, but every time someone tries to explain to me why my best friend and one of the best people I've ever known should be treated as a second class citizen in this country using "facts", the first thing that pops into my head to say is "Are you high? What the fuck is wrong with you?" which is neither helpful nor a cogent argument. But I really and truly can't wrap my head around the idea that this is a political issue or even that it should be open for discussion. To me it's very simple: does Citizen A have exactly the same rights and protections under the law as Citizen B? No? THEN FIX IT BECAUSE THAT IS BULLSHIT. Either that or go back and cross out that part where it says "All men are created equal" because clearly you don't actually mean it and it's not particularly funny when it's being used as a punchline.
Don't get me wrong, I advocate when I can. But I feel like I start way too many sentences "Well, my best friend is a lesbian" and it would be great if I didn't need to step in and try to change people's minds every time I mention her to strangers and I got to say "My best friend is a journalist" or "My best friend is a mom" just as often because I don't have to keep explaining to people what "civil rights" means. We're getting there.
Yesterday, the people of Maryland got it right.
The people of Maine got it right.
The people of Washington State got it right.
I have never been happier or more proud. Look how happy they have made my best friend: