News Alert: I’m Normal

“The highest court in the land just told them there’s nothing wrong with them!”

Clueless reporter after the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage

On June 26,  2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that same-sex couples had the right to be — as many of my straight married friends would say to me that day — “as miserable as the rest of us.”

“The court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied,” said Justice Anthony Kennedy.

It was a far cry from the high court saying “there’s nothing wrong with gay people,” as the reporter quoted at the top of this article put it.  But semantics aside, the court’s recognition and support of the right of same-sex couples to marry was a pretty big deal.

After hearing the ruling, I sat at my desk in the middle of a newsroom and found it hard to keep my composure.  I did what any self-respecting journalist would do … I took to Twitter and Facebook to share and retweet while the social world’s faces turned to rainbow colors.

What my partner of 17 years had said would likely never happen in our lifetime had just happened.

And while I celebrated the victory for all advocates of same-sex marriage, I was offended by reporters like the one quoted above, who had no concept of what the fight for same sex marriage was all about — and no concept of how perfectly normal those of us who are blessed to share our lives with same sex partners have been, long before a panel of judges gave us the all clear vote to marry.

In the 13 days since the Supreme Court’s decision, my life has changed … well, not at all.

Oh wait, that’s not entirely true.  The night of the ruling, my partner and I did something scandalous.  We opened a bottle of champagne and drank half of it before falling asleep in front of the television watching House Hunters International. Because one day — crazy gay women that we are — we’d love to own a place in Europe and travel like it was 1999. And now that the Supreme Court says there’s nothing wrong with us, we can do things like that — you know, things that normal straight people do all the time.

“Do you want to go to Wilton Manors to celebrate?” my partner asked me after I had just changed from work attire to Batman pajama pants and matching T-shirt.  (Yes, it’s true.  Gay people have a high sense of fashion.)

I gave her a pathetic look, complete with puppy dog eyes that said …

“We have a fully stocked bar, a refrigerator full of food, every restaurant that delivers’ phone number programmed in our favorites, and each other.”

Everything I wanted was within inches of where my flip-flopped feet were standing.

“Please don’t make me get out of my jammies to go to some loud bar where I can’t hear myself think to celebrate something that I already have,” I responded.

I’m such a party pooping gay person, I thought. I pray they don’t take away my lesbian license.

Then came the flood of Facebook comments, texts and emails from friends volunteering to be in our bridal party.

The assumption being … now that you can get married, you will!

When we told them there were no wedding plans in the works, some insisted we at least have the common decency to hold a reception.

You gays are now normal enough to get married.  Please do us the favor of throwing  an epic party complete with open bar, gourmet meals, drag queens, buff boys, lipstick lesbians and Abba’s Dancing Queen playing every 20 minutes or so.

Don’t get me wrong.  I applaud the fact that legally I now have the right to marry the person I love if we choose to do so.  But just because we can, doesn’t mean we will.

There are thousands of straight couples who can get married but choose not to.  Why should it be different for anyone else?

What surprised me most was how quickly the story fizzled out in the news.  Perhaps because normal isn’t newsworthy.

As I watched the celebrations surrounding the court’s decision, I took pride knowing that I now had the same freedom to marry that millions of straight people have taken for granted.  But marriage has nothing to do with what a court says.  Legally, yes.  But not in the deepest sense of the word.

If the  court’s decision had gone the other way, my life today would be as normal as it was 13 days ago.  And that, my friends, is a real cause for celebration.

Author: Barb Besteni

I've been in a writer long enough to know that change is not only inevitable, it's what keeps us going. Don't fight it, don't fear it. Embrace it and have fun.

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