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A couple of summers ago, I witnessed the most meaningful ceremony I've ever seen. My friend G married her longtime love. And before I go on... a word about their love.

It's something you can feel when you walk into their house. It emanates... not just from them, but from the house itself... the furniture... the animals... the garden... the bric a brac. Entering that house is like walking into some big yellow-warm sunshine embrace; it is nothing short of palpable. And seeing them together is even more powerful.

These are two people who just so clearly delight in each other's company. Like all of us, they have their share of less than stellar days, but they're strong for each other, they support one another, they complement each other... and, like I said, when you see them together, you can't help but share a little hiccup in your heart... a skip-step of giddiness. In short, if ever two people should be married, G and her love were those two people. And they're both from backgrounds that value marriage; that see it as the highest expression of togetherness.

But there was one more factor at play that made their wedding the specialest occasion. Until that year, they had not had the legal right to marry. Why? Because G and her One True Love are women. To which I say... So fucking what??

Marriage, as I understand it, is all about love and commitment. And no two people were ever more in love or more committed.

And to those who argue same-sex marriage somehow undermines the so-called sanctity of the so-called institution of marriage... I say heterosexual couples... with their soaring divorce rates, and rampant infidelity, and vicious child-custody disputes... are doing that themselves.

Besides. Why should anyone's choice of who to love... or who to marry... be anyone else's business? As long as no one's being victimized, what's the problem?

One of the arguments advanced here in Canada, where same-sex marriage is legal (for the time being, anyway)... is that, if THIS is okay, then what's next? Polygamy?

To which I say... what's the hairy issue with polygamy? If three people (or four or five or whatever) choose to form a legal bond and raise their family collectively... again, as long as no one's being victimized... what is the problem?

Oh, say the critics, but polygamy's tied to child abuse. Uh, right. That's the same thing they say about same-sex unions... based on their ludicrous assumption that all homosexuals are somehow pedophiles, or sex fiends. Ridiculous.

I've heard otherwise rational men say... I'd never go to a gay male doctor.

To which I say.... don't flatter yourself. Just because a man may be in a love with another man, that doesn't mean he's uncontrollably flinging himself at every damned man who walks through the door. I mean... I have a straight male doctor. That means... oooooohhhh.... gasp.... he has sex with women!!!! But that has absolutely nothing to do with him examining me in his professional capacity.

We have a polygamist sect here in British Columbia, and it's under near-constant scrutiny for child abuse. The allegation is that very young girls are married off to men, against their will.

To which I say... if that's the case, it's child abuse, for sure. But it's an entirely separate issue from the marital status of the parents involved.

Sorry if I'm ranting here, but this whole issue gets my knickers in a major twist. I think it's because... as one of those kids who was teased and taunted for simply being who I was... I sort of understand what it must be like to face such senseless discrimination.

We have today, in too many parts of North America, a culture that says... while most other forms of organized hate and discrimination are frowned upon... it's okay to ostracize and mistreat people... solely on the basis of who they love.

It's insane. I mean... I remember when I first encountered boys. There was an instant ZING! From that time on, I pretty much always had a crush on some boy or other and... lucky me... I was part of a majority, so having those feelings was a-okay.

The gay and lesbian people I've talked to had similar experiences somewhere in their lives.... where they felt that overwhelming sense of attraction and excitement and curiosity. But... unlucky them, they were part of a minority, and made to think that what they felt was somehow bad or wrong.

I'm on this topic today because our federal government (recently elected and right wing) is threatening to undo the same-sex marriage law. This is just the latest in a string of reversals that's included:

- killing the nearly-enacted bill that would've decriminalized marijuana
- killing an agreement with aboriginal people that would've finally begun addressing the deplorable conditions many of them live in
- reversing the country's commitment to do its part to address climate change, and
- killing a multi-year agreement with the provinces that would've made child care somewhat more affordable and accessible.

In the government's eyes, child care is bad. I mean, everyone knows mommies should stay home with their babies while daddies work. Climate change is just a bunch of made-up garbage; after all, those scientists are all a bunch of liberals. Aboriginal people... notwithstanding the fact that white people stole their land, stuck them on reserves, legislated away their rights and tore a whole generation of children away from their families and communities... Notwithstanding that, "those people" are just lazy; they just need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. As for marijuana... well, we all know it's FAR more harmful than booze, which government not only endorses but shamelessly profits from. I mean... just look at all the domestic strife, and public brawls, and armed standoffs, and traffic carnage caused by those crazed, violent potheads. And those humsexuals... well. We can't deport them 'cause they're from here (darnit anyway). But we sure as hell owe it to the citizenry to make sure they're denied the most fundamental of human rights... the right to freely love.

I'm sorry if this is a downer but I'm sick at heart for my country today. I fear where we're going and I feel so helpless... watching our common sense progress slip away.

I guess I should just be glad that G and her One True Love are already married... and no one... not even right wing governments... can take what they have away from them.
Date: 2006-06-05 00:11:08

love rights marriage dog puppy GSD German shepherd cat mask me self-portrait politics e

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He looks a tad perplexed!! This is fantastic!
artofgold 2006-06-05 00:29:36
Excellent :)
hasfurrychildren 2006-06-05 00:36:24
Brava! If you think things are bad there, head south... :-(
jimheid 2006-06-05 01:18:47
I'm still wondering what your dog thinks about being raised by a giant cat. If he becomes uncomfortable with the situation I will gladly adopt him.
As for your story, I too am confused by the "Who do you love" controversy. I am a straight man with a long time lady love, but I frequently choose the company of lesbians and gay men. Why? Because I think they are often times more interesting, compassionate, creative, and generally more fun to be around.
Why anyone really cares what other people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms is beyond me.
As for polygamy, I can see the attraction for men, but I have a hard time believing that there are women who truly want to be a part of that arrangement. I am curious about their motivation.
And finally, yes, it is disheartening to hear that Canadians may be following a course similar to Americans politcally. I have always thought of your country as a bastion of common sense and libertarian thought. Where will I escape to now if things become worse (if that's possible) in the United States. It makes me long for the times of old when persecuted people could just sail off to an unknown continent and start off on a new course.
Keep the faith, Mary-Anne
david haggard 2006-06-05 01:38:00
I LOVE the cathead pics - I wonder when I see them what the hell my dogs would do if I came to them with something like that on...they would likely run away!

Your dog has such great expression.

Honestly I think it is worse down here, the zero tolerance on so much is beyond ridiculous.
txteri 2006-06-05 01:38:25
a little hiccup in your heart... that is the coolest line ever.

My daughter is lesbian and she is happier with her sig other than she had ever been with her ex husband. And isn't that the bottom line. Being happy… not who or what you are.

Nice post and very touching.
Zen Cat 2006-06-05 01:48:56
a big hug to you from the bottom of my little queer heart. xo
...kranich 2006-06-05 01:52:27
Well said. Thank you.
campviola 2006-06-05 02:15:09
Thanks everyone!

David, yes... when I was a kid, we had a prime minister who famously said "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." I couldn't agree more. As for polygamy... why assume it's always gonna be one man and many women? Why not the opposite? As for why any woman would want to share a man with other women... I have no clue either. But if that's their choice, I respect it.

Jimheid, txteri... oh, yes, I know. But it IS good to be reminded that there ARE many sane, intelligent Americans. Thank you.

Zen Cat... your daughter is lucky to have you. I hesitate to say it, but the sad part of G's wedding was that NONE of her biological family would attend.

Kate crane... big hug back!!!

Campviola - you're very welcome (and thank you, too).
McNeney 2006-06-05 03:18:33
McNeney, I could not agree with you more on all fronts (because I already agree with you completely).

The good news is that the vast majority of my friends and aquaintances in their early to mid 20s, are far more fiscally and socially liberal than their parents. Maybe I'm too much of an optometrist (haha) but I think that because of this, fairness, social responsibility and the respect of personal freedom will, in the end, prevail.

That is, the liberal version of "fairness, social responsibility and the respect of personal freedom" will prevail. Which is of course different than the conservative "fairness, social responsibility and the respect of personal freedom".

Funny how it's all a matter of perspective.

Note: When I say "liberal" and "conservative" I'm not referring to any political parties; I'm just referring to the socio-economic world-views.
tmod 2006-06-05 04:17:35
In principle there's nothing wrong with polygamy, just as there's nothing wrong with communisim in theory. The problems pop up when it gets put into practice.

In places like Utah, Nevada and Arizona, there are lots of reported cases of girls (not women) being coerced into marrying men who are in with the people who run the church.

These men marry all these women, have scores of children and then can't support them so they go on wellfare. The good taxpayers end up having to pay for these children, some of whom are the victims of child molestation.

By recognizing polygamist marriage, you imply that the government now has the responsibility to support these additional spouses and the accompanying children in terms of medical insurance. You can't just say that insurence will be provided for the first spouse and not for the others.

In the military the government responsibility for spouses and children is even stronger. There is already rampant fraud where folks get married. The person in the service gets more pay, the civilian gets access to health care, housing and miscellenious benefits. Allowing polygamy would simply cause this type of fraud to grow exponentially.

This also applies to immigration. US citizens are allowed to apply for residency for their spouses. Allowing polygamy would open up a loophole that would allow people to marry nearly entire villiages. That is unless you want to put a number on how many spouses a person is allowed. Investigation of fraud would become more difficult and people would charge for the service. Perhaps even less pleasant arrangements would be made that more resembled indentured servitude.

Gay marriage and Polygamy aren't equal. Gay marriage fits far more neatly into our set of existing laws and customs than polygamy.
Alan Jordan 2006-06-05 06:37:25
i'm afraid for this country, too. we're going to be driven back into the dark ages with harper at the wheel.
helpful juice 2006-06-05 07:38:20
I moved to Canada from San Francisco two years ago, at a time when San Francisco was increasingly feeling more like a ghetto than an oasis, and it felt good to know that I was settling my family in a vast nation which had adopted similar attiudes to those that define my favourite American city. Things are changing, it now feels good to know that there are Canadians who have noticed these changes and who care.

Also this is a wonderful image.
Mary Jane 2040 2006-06-05 10:17:59
Thank you so much for your heartfelt words on same-sex marriage. Hopefully, someday soon, we will all look back on the time when same-sex couples were told they are "less than" everyone else, relegated to the "back of the societal bus", and discriminated against as second-class citizens. Love is love is love. It's not love that's destroying our world. It's love that makes life worth living.
Laurie York 2006-06-05 11:45:15
While Stephen Harper is sure to destroy many things that the liberals set out to create I don't think he will ever be successful in abolishing gay marriage, thank god. It is very easy to grant people the freedoms they have fought hard to achieve but it is another thing altogether to try and take those freedoms away. The struggle of homosexuals over the past 20 or 30 years has born fruit, at least in Canada, and no right wing leader with a very slim majority government in this fair country can dismiss that struggle so readily.

As for the decriminilzation of Marijuana we don't need it. The laws are already barely enforced and any steps to legalize the drug further will only allow more criminals into the "game". Every summer I grow my own small crop that I care for, love and bring to fruit. I don't like growing flowers and I'm not much for vegetable gardens but I do like gardening so this is my summer pastime. I don't sell it, I just use it and share it with my friends so that I'm not paying for gang wars, or murders, or slave farms in mexico. I have never had a problem with the law and I'm confident that if I did the judge would throw it out of court. But those laws are in place to protect our children from using it, dealers from selling it, gangsters from distributing it. Why make it easier for people to prey on innocence for a profit. Whether or not it's more innocuous than alcohol is not up for debate, it is far less addictive and much less harmful, but it is still a narcotic and it can still be abused by people who do not know how do things in moderation.

The child care issue is a hot one for me, I'm a socialist, I believe that everyone has the right to fair and equitable treatment, but if the parents can't take care of them maybe they shouldn't have had them. I know I won't, not till I can provide for them. A child first years of life are very formative. They will affect the way they will think and act, at least on a very fundamental level, for the rest of their lives. Putting kids in institutional situations like national child care will more than likely lead to lower parental care and supervision, less individual attention and many more children not receiving the unconditional love the need and deserve. There are many example of socialized child care in nature, but humans are not one of them. We are not all cut from the same mold like an ant or a bee, we are individuals with individual needs and desires, even at a very young age. A better solution, in my mind, is to have proper funding so that at least one of the parents, or maybe both, can take a sebatical from work to raise their own children as they see fit on a salary that is on par with a national standard of living. I'm not a traditionalist, I make no claims that a woman's place is in the house but the responsibility falls on the parents (a man and a woman, two women, or two men) to care for and provide for their children just like every parent in history who came before. To love them and be there to share with them the very personal experience of growing up in this crazy world.

The aboriginal people in this country deserve more than we could ever give them but at some point they really are going to have to pick themselves up by their bootsraps. Of course I'm generalizing here because there many aborignals who have fully integrated themsleves into our new culture while still maintaining their sense of culture and their sense of self. But at some point you have to take a look around and adapt to your surroundings. There are many people, cultures, and religions that are having a rough time adapting to the new global socio-economic climate but the best that anyone of us can do is try to find where we fit. I am sorry that we stole their land, that we treated them like third, or maybe it was fourth, class citizens. I truly feel for their plight but at some point you have to stop sitting on your ass and take what is rightfully yours. We should not be providing for them as a people, we should be helping them to learn and to create a world for themselves. Teaching them to provide for themselves what we cannot give them, a life with purpose in this time of chaos and disillusionment.

I don't even want to get started on climate change, I could go on for hours, and since it is way past my bedtime I bid you a good night. Here's to hoping that Canada will never move backwards, only forwards, to a time when we all live in peace, happiness, harmony, and most importantly freedom.
Ian David Blüm 2006-06-05 12:27:34
Thanks everyone.

Alan... Blumsy... wish I had time to respond to your very thoughtful comments in more detail.

Alan.. you make some great points but you are also mixing issues. E.g., the men who "marry all these women, have scores of children and then can't support them so they go on welfare." There are all kinds of men out there now who have scores of children and can't (or choose not to) support them... leaving them and their moms to rely on welfare (or to get by in whatever way they can). The issue there is responsibility... not polygamy.

Blumsy... I agree with much of what you say but... on child care... I think you're overlooking some key points. Many parents... good, hardworking, dedicated parents who love their children... also need to get the heck away from them now and then. Most parents I know say that... much as they adore their kids... staying home with them 24/7/365 is just too much. Plus... there's ample empirical evidence that good, quality child care can actually compensate for less-than-perfect parenting and greatly support a child's healthy development... in every sense of the word. There are also many studies (not to mention anecdoctal evidence) showing that... when moms (and dads) have jobs and their own adult sense of accomplishment they tend to be happier... and therefore better... parents to their children. But hey... what do I know? I just stay home all day with a puppy and a tabby cat!!!
McNeney 2006-06-05 22:26:08
Wow thank you. I can't come close to writing enough prose to commicate all the things this post and the comments say to me. But suffice it to say, there is nothing about love that comes in fixed, set quantities that only apply to (just) two people of opposite sex. And thank you for helping keep the dissenters honest.
AustinTX 2006-06-05 23:04:09
Wow. Fabulous writing Mary-Anne. A wonderfully feel-good story, even though the present/future is a little unclear and slightly dark atm (in the broader, global sense).

Alan brings up some interesting points I wouldn't have thought of regarding polygamy. I hear what MA's saying about responsibility, but the reality of what could happen still seems the same... I suppose there aren't any easy answers on that one.

I've been living with a newly-married (5 yrs) couple for a year now. Their baby boy just hit 1 year. They're very lucky--the mother wanted to and has been able to stay at home for virtually the entire time. Her husband has a very flexible schedule though and so they're still able to split up the time quite a bit (maybe 2/3 : 1/3). She would be a much less happy person if she never got a break. I can guarantee that. Being able to get out every once in a while is definitely key to her staying sane, from what I've seen. Then of course there are the times when they're with the baby together...
Point is, I can't imagine what it's like for a single parent.
ryran 2006-06-06 00:20:12
Marriage is a contract which for several reasons is endorsed by a country. Entire government policies are based on this. But I agree easily, if you say that you start from the rights of an individual and therefor people should be able to choose what THEY want and not what the government wants. Having said that a society needs rules and values otherwise you get anarchy. Rules and values shift throughout history, like a pendulum.
The fundamental thing however and you state that too, is that people love each other, have a relationship, be happy... As long as people are in a relationship voluntarily, I tend to respect that, with or without a contract. (I remark that marriage based on romantic love, is a value that has become important since a few centuries in the Western world. This seems evident nowadays)
What should society do for you and what can you do for society ? I have opinions, but I don't have the answer.
johanbl 2006-06-06 04:51:11
What a look of adoration in his eyes!
Anna Solitaire Miles 2006-06-06 11:26:27
Hi there,,,
I found this page on:

I love so much the dogs face!!

Nice one!
Marcelo Cerri Rodini 2006-06-07 03:15:56
One of the issues is the complex definition of marriage. For many people marriage isn't simply a contract that affords them certain rights etc by the government. For many it goes far deeper and historical, and for whatever reason they don't want that redefined. It might not necessarily mean that they want to halt progression or restrict the rights of people that are in love that happen to be of the same gender. I know it's more complicated than that, but understanding how certain people define marriage might help everyone understand the issue better. I don't think that everyone understands the issue the same way.

I also thought that Harper simply wanted to put it up to vote (apparently he thought that the people that he represents wanted or deserved a say). That actually sounded fairly democratic to me, but I don't get involved heavily with politics, so I could be way off base.
dooda 2006-06-07 11:30:47
dooda: It's up to the courts to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. If civil rights issues were left up to the voters, we'd still have slavery (which, by the way, is condoned in the Bible). GWB is using "gay marriage" as a way to "rally his troops". Jay Leno remarked: "Gay marriage is approved of by 50% of the voters while 70% of the voters disapprove of Bush!"
Laurie York 2006-06-07 12:33:14
Laurie, I don't think it's that simple. You could come up with plenty of examples that support either way. You could also site many examples in the Bible that are against slavery. In fact, you could make a case for and against about anything using the Bible. It's simply a compilation of historical records, prophetic scripts, and scripts by their followers (translated and shuffled of course). I'm actually not sure what The Bible has to do with any of it anyway. I suppose Jay Leno may have some kind of point, but I don't think a quote from him holds much creedence.
dooda 2006-06-07 14:05:52
Love it!
Not in the mood for politics right now; but I agree with you.
susurrus_sparks 2006-06-08 05:04:41
thank you for sharing your thoughts on the subject--i was thrilled to see that my country's politics of discrimination and bias were shot down yesterday--the proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage was killed in congress. take that g-dubya! excellent image to represent a "marriage" that may look non-traditional, but is based on love and understanding all the same :)
gillianleigh 2006-06-08 21:24:00
Thank you, M-A.

For many things.

This is beautiful, in so many ways.

You rock.
MarGumby 2006-06-11 11:39:19
Another great shot!
Please feel free to join my new group - Man Ray
Paul Grand 2006-06-14 16:24:40
Well, the bandwagon came and left on this rant, but I'd like to flip my soapbox over here and share a mini rant that I wrote a couple years ago just after my state, Massachusetts, actually made same sex marriage legal (holy crap!) and the balance of the country said,'oh no we can't have that.'

Blog entry follows...
Okay, I have a question. How exactly can and will gay marriage hurt you? This sorry excuse for a modern day witch hunt, an attempt to quash something you do not understand and are afraid of, is as pathetic and closed minded as inquisitions and ethnic genocides.

Some say that there is no equivocation of this circumstance to the others I listed. I disagree. All of them started off with progress in one direction only to be countered by small and closed minded bigots with big discriminations, things that seemed reasonable to the masses at the time.

People are taught to fear and loathe that which they do not understand. It is easy to be a follower, to go along with what others tell you, especially when the leader is someone you respect.

Just as in the past, leaders are telling their followers what to think. And the mindless masses follow.
end blog

Sanctity, bullshit. Marriage is a word that carries a bunch of religous baggage and a whole lot of legal ramifications, good and bad. I believe that goverment, all governments, should allow unions with every right that marriage brings with it to anyone that wants to agree to spend a life together. Unions should only be considered 'marriage' if it had some religous pretense and therefore should be up to the church that issues the 'marriage' in which case, some churches CAN allow same sex marriage. This is separation of church and state, plain and simple (in my mind). The state has ABSOLUTELY no right to interfere in church affairs just as the church has ABSOLUTELY no right to deal in government. I wish it were so simple. At this point, 2 years later, in my life/learning, I would be all for getting a state sanctioned union, that anyone could have and telling the church (Catholic marriage in my case) to kiss my ass.
Buggs Moran 2006-08-11 08:01:17
I wish I could enter two separate fave ratings - one for the photo, and one for your words.

Marriage should simply not be a state institution, for any gender. And dogs and cats should get along together - and will, if raised right.
Da Nator 2006-10-06 06:13:22

This is worthy of the Master Sword of Greatness!

You must add your picture to the Master Sword of Greatness grou!
Tarky7 2007-03-10 21:21:59
pictureclub_2000 2007-04-04 03:08:21
wow i really like this shot.
enbiiii 2007-09-18 18:19:21
Hi, I'm an admin for a group called PLASTERED Portraits, and we'd love to have your photo added to the group.
Henry M. Diaz 2007-12-29 12:37:37
awww what a cute couple!
torilarson95 2008-02-02 12:05:47
LOL. funniest ever
☼ Helder 2008-05-23 19:35:46
I just used this photo on my blog. I have attributed it to this page. Here's the URL.

Thanks a lot.
Rohini Lakshané 2009-02-18 00:25:21
Hi, I'm an admin for a group called i take a good picture (self portraits), and we'd love to have this added to the group!
Leanne Surfleet 2009-05-01 20:53:39
Hi, I'm an admin for a group called PupStylish Photos, and we'd love to have this added to the group!
pupstyle 2010-01-04 08:25:58

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