Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Proposition Hate

Thomas (not his real name) came to live with us on October 13, 2007. Developmentally disabled since birth, Thomas had been essentially abandoned by his father years ago. He’d been living with his mother for the last 15 years in a personal hell he still doesn’t have the skills or even the understanding to describe. From what he’s been able to tell us, she was grotesquely abusive. Instead of merely beating him, she’d make him bring her whatever she was going to beat him with to prolong his terror and humiliation. When she beat him until he bled, she wouldn’t let him clean up the bloodstains on the walls and floor … so he couldn’t escape the reminders of his beatings anywhere he went in the house. When he didn’t make his bed the way she wanted, she made him sleep on the floor next to it. For five years. When a man she was having an affair with committed suicide, she told Thomas she wished he had been the one to kill himself. She clearly had never taken him to a dentist. Or even taught him how to brush his teeth. And while she was constantly dressed in sequins and hats, she dressed him like a retarded, homeless stereotype: pants that were too short, used underwear that was 12 sizes too big and cracked plastic shoes that made him walk with a limp.

Once the domestic partner and I realized what was going on and rescued him (his mother had left him alone for a week while she went on a cruise, telling him he couldn’t go outside or even watch TV while she was gone … and that she’d call the cable company when she got back and beat him severely if they told her he had turned on the TV in her absence) we brought him to live with us. The poor guy was a shell of a man, afraid to talk, assert himself on any level or even make eye contact. And he was clearly terrified that he was going to be punished for causing so much fuss on his behalf. In those first few days in our house, he even apologized to me when I “caught” him using one of our glasses to get a drink of water.

Over the last 13 months in our home, he’s learned to smile and talk to strangers and make terrible jokes and hold a part-time job and be responsible for the simple chores we’ve assigned him and feel safe functioning in a world where he knows his caretakers won’t repeatedly, relentlessly abuse him. In our house, he’s free to watch the shows he loves (which, to our chagrin, involves heavy rotations of WWE), socialize with our friends, sleep in a big comfy bed, and live a life free of the fear of beatings and psychological cruelty. In short, we’ve been the first to give him the responsible, loving parenting that gay-hostile “Christian” conservatives arrogantly declare can come only from straight people. And Thomas’ very existence blows massive holes in the meaningless “every child deserves a mother and father” inanity that these cretins parrot endlessly in their emotionally violent crusades against marriage equality. NO child deserves Thomas’ mother and father, so what these moral charlatans are saying is a grotesque oversimplification of the truth. Rational people call it a lie. Legitimate Christians and their autocratic, jealous god call it “bearing false witness.”

Now consider the fact that Thomas is my domestic partner’s brother.

If the domestic partner dies, their parents have legal access to all our shared property, including our house. The mother who told her other son that Thomas “made her” beat him could share ownership of our home and have every legal right to move in and resume abusing him. The father who has NEVER ONCE contacted us to see how Thomas is doing after surviving 15 years of abuse and then living for more than a year with me, a complete stranger, could assume half ownership of our house and try to sell it, leaving Thomas and me struggling to find a place we could afford to live. And I’d have no legal recourse. Because legally I’m little more than a roommate.

And the blame for all of this falls squarely on the shoulders of “Christian” hatred junkies who are so consumed by their unholy loathing for me and my domestic partner and gay people everywhere that they’ve spent billions of dollars convincing voters across our country to deny us equal access to the legal and financial protection of marriage.

In addition to “every child deserves a mother and a father,” these self-professed “Christians” use meaningless, grotesquely misleading catchphrases like “sacred institution” and “threat” and “protect” and “redefine” and, when they don’t get their way, “activist judges” to further their loathsome agenda to vilify gay people and teach the nation to hate and fear us. The fact remains that nobody—“Christian” or otherwise—has yet to articulate a plausible or even fact-based justification for denying us marriage equality. “Sacred institution,” “threat,” “redefine” and their ilk are nothing but a lazy, artless code for “religious extremists are consumed by a pathological loathing for gay people.” And whether or not they choose to own up to it, they know in their cold, black hearts that it’s the truth.

And while these cretins spent a staggering $73 million in California alone to scare voters into passing Proposition Hate, the domestic partner and I struggle to pay exorbitant dental bills to undo decades of damage wrought by Thomas’ parents’ neglect. And after 13 months, we’re still searching to find someone who will provide him basic health insurance and a social services caseworker who isn’t too overwhelmed to return our calls and help us understand how to care for him and help him build a network of peers beyond the adult gay men who come to our house for the occasional movie or game night.

This grotesque juxtaposition of robustly funded propaganda vs. cash-strapped social services is the perverse, inexcusable legacy of Proposition Hate and the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” and every related money-wasting act of gay-hostile social, political and emotional terrorism wrought by the American Taliban.

If you have ever used words like “sacred institution” or “redefine marriage” or “threat to family values” without irony or—worse yet—harbored thoughts or cast votes against marriage equality, you are not my friend. You are not welcome in my life. I honestly see you as intellectually compromised. And I don’t care what you think your god tells you to believe. Your mythology does not trump my reality. And if you try to defend your indefensible thoughts or words or actions to me, be prepared to have your vile, repellant opinions reduced to the vile, repellant garbage that they are.

And when I’m done with you, the domestic partner and I will calmly go back to caring for Thomas and working to repair the decades of damage caused by the celebrated heterosexuals who are apparently free to marry and divorce and have affairs and abuse and ignore their own children without generating interest a single constitutional amendment, television ad, campaign platform or even a godfuckingdamned T-shirt by the godfuckingdamned American Taliban.

I'm amazed and humbled that my little post from my little blog has gone so exponentially viral. The original point of this post was mostly to rant about the staggering retardedness (and I use that word on purpose and with more than a little authority on the subject) of Proposition Hate and the vapid arguments against marriage equality. Since this post was getting so long, I left out a lot of the more boring details. If you want more information about the wills, insurance and legal protections we've tried to put in place, you can read probably way more than you want to know here.

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