Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Love & Marriage

(Originally posted on MySpace on Sunday, May 25, 2008)

A lot happened this week and I want to try to comment on all of it.

First of all, let me break with my new format and get this out of the way immediately. A few weeks ago, I listed my top ten fine dining restaurants in Los Angeles. One of the restaurants I thought about, but left out, was Iron Chef Mario Batalli's new place in Hollywood, Osteria Mozza ( I had eaten there once when it first opened and thought it was very good, but unremarkable and extremely expensive, with a few service problems. This week, a friend from San Francisco, Meredith, was visiting and she wanted to go there. So we talked ourselves in with an early reservation. (The place is hot and it's sometimes hard to get a reservation without making one weeks in advance.) How things change in just a few months. This time the meal was fantastic. Our party of five tried at least 20 dishes and they were all amazing. Service was great as well. It was also a lot more reasonably priced than I remember. In fact, I thought it was damned cheap ($111 each) for all the food and wine we consumed. Now I want to go back and try the "Chef's Pasta Tasting Menu". Needless to say, it's now on my list of top restaurants in Los Angeles. I told you when I made that list that it would change constantly.

I also managed to see the new movie, "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull". This movie had a lot to live up to, and I think it did. It dragged a small bit in the middle, but as far as Skip and I are concerned, it is a worthy follow-up to the original trilogy. It was exciting and fun. They don't try to hide the fact that Indy is now an older man, bringing a bit more realism and humor to the over-the-top situation you would expect from the storyline. I think it's an extremely likeable film to jumpstart the next batch of "Indy" movies. It may not be quite as good as the first movie in the original trilogy, but it easily stands up to the other two. (I won't discuss anything else in the movie now due to spoilers. Everything in this movie is a surprise that leads to the next series.)

We also spent two days down at the Anaheim Disneyland Resort. We spend a lot of time down there, so I normally wouldn't even mention it unless some special event was going on down there. But this time, Rick and Rose from the Poster Children came here on vacation with their four-year-old son, Gram, to expose him to this American institution for the very first time. We were along as tour guides and friends. It was a pleasure to meet Gram, who is highly intelligent and well behaved. He spent two full 10-hour days without a stroller, running back and forth across the two parks and never had a melt down or misbehaved at all. He was a bit scared by the experience at first, but after half a day or so, he began to figure out the concept of an amusement park and then flew fully into it. His favorite rides seemed to be "Peter Pan", "Soaring Over California" and Monsters Inc". (He also liked to ride on my shoulders.) He didn't go on any of the big-people rides, like "Space Mountain" or "Indiana Jones", but we did get him on the white-water "Grizzly Rapids" raft ride. It terrified him and I was feeling rather bad about it, but once the ride ended, he was so proud of himself that he went on the ride and emerged alive, that it sort of made the whole trip. It was two days of pure pleasure and seeing Rick and Rose again was great. It's been way too long.


And now that that's all out of the way, it's time to get on with the real important subject of the week.

This week the California Supreme Court finally reached their decision in a suit brought against the State claiming that denying gays and lesbians the right to marry is unconstitutional. To the surprise of many, the Republican dominated court ruled that it was unconstitutional to deny marriage rights to all. As of June 16th, it will be legal for all gays and lesbians to marry in the State of California, making this the second state in the Union to allow that. Massachusetts was the first.

As to be expected, the religious conservatives started foaming at the mouth, and started claiming that it was the end of civilization, or at the very least, a giant threat to the institution of heterosexual marriages. Of course, when it comes down to it, they can't come up with a rational argument for denying marriage to homosexuals, but that's not about to stop them. In truth, the only rational reason for their objection is bigotry, but they will never admit that. (The next person who tells me that they "love the sinner, but hate the sin" will get smacked in the face.) It was the same statements and the same tired arguments back in the 1948 when the Court struck down the ban on interracial marriage. These people never learn and because of that, they never change. It's all so dull and boring. You'd think with the world in the state it's in, mostly due to the President that these people elected into office, they'd have better things to concentrate on then what I do with Skip behind closed doors. Alas, they have no life and they want to make sure the rest of the world has none either. It makes them feel better about their sad, piss ant selves.

So, already several conservative Christian groups, most of them from out of state, are planning to put an initiative on the California ballot in November to amend the State Constitution to read that marriage will only be recognized as one man and one woman. Everyone expects that they have enough legal signatures to get it on the ballot. But not everyone expects that it will actually pass, putting discrimination into the Constitution for the very first time. I don't trust the proud ignorance of the American voter, so I have no idea what will happen. But I'm holding out hope that the forces of evil will be defeated and marriage will be legal for all after the first week of November.

Skip and I got married once before. That was in 2004. The powers that be had stopped the marriages that were happening in San Francisco, so we drove to Portland, Oregon and tied the knot. Our marriage lasted for almost a complete year before the bigots won out and the marriage was annulled.

So when the Court announced their decision here in California, we were happy, but reserved. We had decided months before that we were going to wait to get married again until after the November election. We just couldn't face going through it all a second time, only to have the bigots ruin it for us once again. But now that the decision has come down, we've had a change of heart. Starting June 16th, thousands of gay couples are expected to get married. What happens to those marriages if this bigoted initiative passes? No one seems to know. It's in a legal black hole and there will probably have to be numerous court cases to decide that question. After all, in November it might not be legal for gays to get married any more, but when they got married in July, it was legal. No one knows how the courts will tackle this one.

We feel that it's important to up the number of same-sex married couples before November, so Skip and I will be getting married as soon as we can in June or July. We're just not going to make a big deal of it. No fancy ceremony. No big celebration. Then, if the bigots lose their hate campaign, we will celebrate big time in November. We will have a real ceremony to exchange vows and throw a big party that all of you will be invited to. I feel good about it, but you never know. It's going to be a long wait to find out if the majority of people in this state feel that we are second class citizens, or if they agree that we are all equal human beings.

It's funny to me, the hypocrisy of these religious conservatives. For years, they criticized the homosexual community for being too promiscuous. Now that we want to settle down, get serious and form families of our own, they're criticizing us for that. It's claimed by these people that our families aren't real. That our love isn't real. We are now a threat to heterosexual marriage. I think these people should be worrying about why the divorce rate for heterosexual couples is above 50%. Skip and I have been together 28 years. Neither of us left others to start this relationship. This is our first serious relationship and it continues on because we truly love each other. When these so-called moral defenders can make the same claim, and I don't believe many of them can, then I'll take their bigoted bleating a bit more seriously. I really don't believe that these people understand love at all. If they did, they wouldn't be so subjective about it.

On this subject, I'm seriously disappointed in the current group of Presidential candidates. John McCain was always a rational conservative. He was one of a few that I respected. So to see him backslide and pander to the Conservative Christian base is disgusting and shameful. He has sold himself out and lost any respect I (and many others) once had for him. He has no conviction and despite his years in a Vietnamese prison camp, he has turned into a cowardly candidate. At this point in time, he is no better than Bush.

I'm not much happier with the two Democrats either. Both Hillary Clinton, whose husband sold out gays and lesbians during his Presidential term despite the excuses of bleeding-heart liberals, and Barack Obama, have denied support for same-sex marriage, preferring to back the separate and unequal idea of civil unions. Do any of our candidates actually believe in what America is supposed to stand for any more? I'm not sure I believe either of them wouldn't actually support same-sex marriage in truth if they had a backbone, but then, if they had a backbone, they probably wouldn't be able to run for President. So we'll see. I know I don't like Clinton for many reasons, none of them having to do with her being woman, despite her recent claims of sexism, and I will not vote for her if she happens to screw Obama out of the nomination. I will vote for one of the third party candidates if she's running against McCain, probably Ralph Nader, who really should be taken more serious by the ignorant, media controlled electorate. Obama, on the other hand, will get my vote. Although I still have some serious reservations about him, none of them having to do with him being black despite media claims, I think he holds the best chance of fairness and must-needed change that any of the candidates still left can offer. I also think that once he gets in, he'll be the most gay friendly of them all. Hopefully, under his Presidency, equal rights for all can once again progress without the laughable and hysterical charges of activist judges (who happen to be Republican) and the end of civilization as we know it.

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