Monday, April 23, 2007

The Reluctant Activist

This next post is on a topic that makes me slightly hysterical, which is why I have hesitated to write about it. Massequality is the coalition group that is working to keep same sex marriage legal in Massachusetts. Getting involved with Massequality has meant doing a lot of things that I am not really comfortable with. I am a very shy person, and I stood outside the polling places during the Presidential election and asked people to sign petitions in support of us. And they didn’t send me to a friendly poll place in gay JP either. I have also been asked to talk to friends, families and co-workers about this issue. I have called, emailed and discussed this with just about everyone. (My current employer excluded. People don’t really “talk” here). I worry that my friends are getting a little tired of hearing from me about this issue.

But I want to direct everyone’s attention the blog, Pieces of Gray. This story breaks my heart. It involves love gone wrong, a child, late breaking conversions to Christianity, and the courts.

Cheryl Barlow and Keri Jones who lived in Utah, traveled to Vermont to enter into a civil union and traveled back to live in Utah. Please note that the rights and responsibilities of civil unions do not “travel” outside of Vermont. They had a little girl together. Cheryl Barlow was the bio mom. The relationship later ended, and Barlow converted to Christianity and renounced homosexuality. She refused joint custody with Jones. Keri Jones then embarked on an incredibly expensive and emotional journey through the Utah courts to try and gain visitation rights. In the end, the Utah courts declared her a legal stranger, and she has no contact with her daughter.

I do not know this family, but to say that I feel for Keri Jones doesn’t cover it. I ache for her. I can’t imagine anything worse than losing your child. And I have seen this very situation before. Life is difficult. People let each other down. But because of bigotry, gay families do not have the same access to the courts that straight families have.

So I continue to harass my friends, and my legislators. Because I want the abuse to stop. Because we are citizens, and we deserve the same rights as everyone else. Because I can imagine a different life for gay families.

BTW – I had asked a friend of mine who is a member of the clergy to call her state reps. I was a little embarrassed, and said, I hope I am not being annoying. And she said, “If you want to change things, you are going to have to be annoying.” So buck up baby! She didn’t say that last part, I added it in, but she was right.


Housewife said...

I have chills.

That poor woman.

Good for you, I'm proud of you. I think that married homes are the best kind of homes no matter how many ovaries are there.

michelle said...

you should never worry about your friends getting tired of hearing about it, that's why their your friends and the people that don't care or don't want to know are the one's that need to be tied to a chair and lectured.
the fact that you can put yourself into uncomfortable situations makes me want to shout and cheer for you.
there are too many keri jones' for all of us not to stand up and make noise.

congrats on your well deserved award nomination.
super congrats on cancelled work trip (i got a little teary eyed for you when i read it was cancelled!) i hope your technics for conflict resolution include banging heads together.

Rosie said...

This is really heartbreaking. There has to be some sense and compassion sometime, doesn't there. I mean, people have to come to their senses eventually, don't they? It is just so obvious that the playing field needs leveling and the easiest way to wipe the shame of all this injustice is to legalize our marriage rights.

You keep talking about it. I will too. It's freaking obscene, that's what it is.