Ben and Jerry's, my favorite ice cream maker sold a new flavor to encourage passage of Vermont's "Freedom to Marry" law. They called it "Hubby Hubby" and featured a gay couple atop a wedding cake on the containers.
Earlier this year when the United Kingdom debated legalizing gay marriage, Ben and Jerry's stepped up again with a gay couple atop a wedding cake on the containers of a new ice cream flavor. They named the new flavor "Apple-y Ever After."
Ben and Jerry...we need a new flavor for North Carolina. Please. And soon.
In May, citizens of our State will vote for or against an amendment to the North Carolina Constitution. For the record, it will be Amendment One. It is commonly called (and it makes me sick to my stomach to even write it) "The Marriage Protection Amendment."
Essentially the ammendment states that MARRIAGE BETWEEN ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN IS THE ONLY DOMESTIC LEGAL UNION THAT IS VALID OR RECOGNIZED in our fair State. (The all-caps shouting is my own.) It is important for you to know that NC law already prohibits same sex marriage in North Carolina. It might also be of interest to note that for the first time in over a century, both the State House and State Senate are controlled by Republicans. I won't go into detail about how expansive and far-reaching this ornerous ammendment could be.
The House Majority Leader (Rep. Paul Stam) likens gay marriage to polygamy and even incest!!! County Commisioners and City Councils, particularly in the conservative mountain areas have issued proclaimations in support of the ammendment. Leaders of the Catholic Church are in favor of the ammendment and have written extensively in letters to Catholic Churches around the State. The most recent one is a four-page "FAQ" (frequently asked questions) with such explanations as the "fact" that the ammendent is needed for the children. "Marriage between a man and a woman protects and promotes the well-being of children by allowing the children to benefit from being raised by both their father and their mother," says the publication distributed in all Catholic Churches last weekend. Oh, and the publication denies that the amendment promotes any discrimination against the way same-sex couples choose to live. PULEEZ!!!
A well-dressed gentleman approached me in the grocery store yesterday and asked if he could give me a card. The laminated card urged a "Yes" vote for the ammendment. I gave the card back to him and stated that in fact, I planned to vote a resounding "NO." He then asked, "Are you married?" At this point I might otherwise have simply walked away, but I responded, "Yes, I have been married to the same man for forty years and same-sex marriage in no way threatens that." He said, "It might not affect yours, but what about your grandchildren?" I responded in an overly-polite tone of voice, "What I hope for my grandchildren is that they will have full and equal rights to marry whomever they wish whether that is a person of the same sex or a person of the opposite sex. And I hope they will live in a more open-minded society than the prejudiced bigots I see before me."
And I turned and walked away.
Much to my chagrin, as I drove home I wondered if I had been too harsh on the gentleman. But that was only for a brief moment. After all, he was the one who approached me. And I did use a polite voice.