77. Look that number. Double-digits. Almost like a "crying snake eyes" roll at the craps table.
I will remember 77 percent for quite some time to come.
This is the percentage of the estimated Mormon-based contribution, according to sources with a personal stake involved in the outcome of the Prop 8 ruling, unlike those that were rallying in support of it passing. If the knife in my back plunged six inches on Election Day of 2008, I have four and a half inches to thank Mormons for. Bitter much? I still haven't healed, and I recall it as a scar. A war wound from the culture war.
Yesterday, I was filled with a sense of profound wonder when Judge Vaughn of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco made history. This is not the first federal court decision handed down in favor of same sex marriage, but it is perhaps even more significant than the recent Massachusettes victory for marriage equality. I am in the middle of history, at the intersection of faith, hope, and treachery.
On June 12, 2010, I was married to Owen. "Married" is perhaps a strong word, marginally pre-emptive, as we who live in Oregon are not given the option to marry life partners if they are of the same gender. Not yet.
My family, all devout TBM Mormons, all with missionary stories, or temple marriages as partial excuses, were present in full attendance on the 12th of June in Portland, Oregon. "Where's Doug's family?" you could have asked on that day. "I believe it is the cluster of nervous people not wearing black."
My family went above and beyond, considering the psychological and spiritual obstacles set before them. I have not asked if any of them directly funded the Prop 8 campaign, as they were no doubt encouraged to do so. I do not have to know, because I asked them to attend, and they did, in full and complete attendance. It was the first reunion of my family since my own parents' troublesome and legendarily unpopular divorce the year prior. My parents stood at opposite ends of family photos, sandwiching all seven of their children. Everyone was there.
Everyone. Not often do I count myself in that same category. I cannot! I am too strange for that term, like a foot too large for an army boot. Today I may feel bold again, and I say it, and I start crying. "Everyone has the right to marriage." Not 90%, not 52% and not according to 77% of paying customers. Everyone.
I cannot begrudge my family, for they have done what they felt was appropriate. My youngest brother was ring-bearer, and my mother gave me away (!!!). They have done so well for me in recent years.
Not all of my family is so kind. I know that amongst the 77%, many distant relatives lost money on their bet. I feel self-assured, as if I should rebuke them for gambling. I wll not forget the dangers that Mormonism does pose, but neither should I forget these clear lessons:
Thou shalt not steal. Especially legal rights granted to individuals.
The legal system is absolutely horrible, except for when it almost accidentally works for you.
If someone with more money and more power is trying to take something away from you, FIGHT LIKE HELL. It is up to YOU to determine YOURSELF, not subject to majority vote, and not up to 77% either.
Last, but not least: in all ways, look for love before you look for hate. You'll find what you're searching for.