Several hours ago, I was scrolling through Facebook when I saw that one of my friends had posted "Governor Pence is a piece of shit." I didn't even need to read the rest; I already knew what had happened. Several weeks ago, a judge in southern Indiana struck down the ban on gay marriage in Indiana, calling it unconstitutional. Within the next three days, several hundreds of gay and lesbian couples rushed to the courthouse and got married. Immediately, the attorney general's office issued an appeal. Today, Governor Pence released an order regarding these same-sex marriages stating that the ban "is in full force and effect and executive branch agencies are to execute their functions as though the U.S. District Court Order of June 25 had not been issued." Meaning, my marriage, and several hundred others, are null and void.
Imagine driving through Starbucks to get your coffee while you're running errands for the day and sitting in line behind a mini-van with cartoon pictures of a five member family, and while reading your news feed on Facebook you find out you are no longer married. Imagine the excitement of planning a wedding only to realize it will never happen. Do you resend the invitations? Do you cancel the honeymoon? Imagine making dinner tonight and realizing that your "family" is a fraud, a joke to everyone around you, because the Governor of the state you lived in decided to send out a memo stating that your marriage was no longer valid. What would you do?
Even worse, imagine reading it on Facebook.
Honestly, most of my friends are married, heterosexual couples. I've never once questioned the authenticity of their marriage, but I'm starting to wonder if maybe I should. I was raised by two parents who were liberal minded and didn't believe in retaliation, rather suggested peaceful demonstration. I'm not suggesting a revolution but something has to change. At the beginning of the year when the House of Representatives was hearing the case of the ban on gay marriage, I posted an article called "Dear Annie, This Is How Indiana's Ban on Gay Marriage Will Affect Me." The article went viral and I received hundreds of letters of support. The House removed the bill's controversial language(obviously not because of my letter), making it one step forward towards same-sex marriage in Indiana. On June 25th, when the judge struck down the ban as unconstitutional, I really thought we were moving forward. What happened?
Governor Mike Pence happened.
He has stated that he believes in "traditional marriage." What exactly is a "traditional marriage" other than being between a man and a woman? I just don't get it. We're about as traditional as you can get. We work, pay taxes, eat dinner, play with our dogs, sleep, hang out with friends, work on communication issues and try to be good contributing people to our society. What's wrong with that? What do you want from us?
I'm extremely supportive of my gay friends who are married in other states, but the emotional turmoil, yes turmoil, I have gone through by not being married legally, getting married legally and then it just being taken away, is unbelievable. I just don't think most people understand what it feels like to not have any choice in the matter.
STD rates in Indiana are at an all time high. Crime and violence are astronomical and are devoted police force are overwhelmed with work. Several police officers have even lost their lives. Our inner city school system is overpopulated and no one wants their children in the Indianapolis Public School system due to the lack of attention, the amount of violence and the underachievement of the students. How is it that gay men and lesbians who want to be in monogamous, committed relationships are contributing to the lack of "traditional values" in Indiana. If anything, we're contributing to them.
Someday, we will get legally married. Today is a very serious day in my history. It has made me start to think about what I want from my life, who I want in it and where I want to be. And the truth is, I don't want to live in a state that can not and will not support the human rights of all people, especially as a social worker who has dedicated my life to the betterment of a city and state who doesn't even recognize my marriage.
As far as Governor Mike Pence, I believe his decision was political suicide. Maybe not today or next year or even next term, but the issue of marriage rights in this country will be a deciding factor in the history of this 100 years and those opposed will not be remembered, they will be forgotten.
People are referring to him as a "bigot," so I decided to look it up in the dictionary and see if it fits:
Bigot: : a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance
You be the judge. As for me, I've already made my decision. I hope for the rest of you reading this, you don't find yourself scrolling through Facebook while shopping for shoes, filing papers at work, cooking dinner for your family or sitting in line at Starbucks, like me, that you find out that your marriage means...nothing.