Gay Marriage 101

Teach Your Children Well

When Prop 8 was passed this November in California, my kids were stunned.  They knew about the proposition, but they assumed it would easily be voted down–after all, why would anyone have a problem with two people in love wanting to get married?  It didn’t make sense to them.

I couldn’t explain it to them.  I don’t get it either.

Years ago, my nephew did this really cool thing.  He and my sister were playing the Game of Life together and when it was his turn to “get married,” he plucked out a blue peg and put it next to the blue driver peg in his little plastic car.  He was pretty young–maybe five or six–and just wanted to change things around a bit.  And he didn’t see any reason NOT to.

I LOVED that idea when my sister told me.  The next time I played the Game of Life with my kids, I casually said, “I’m going to marry a woman this time,” and put a pink peg next to mine.   The kids paused.  “Really?” they said.  Then they shrugged.  And then one of them decided also to marry a “same sex” peg.
From then on, whenever we played, we’d mix it up.  Most often it was still a blue and a pink peg in the front of the car, but a lot of the time two blues would marry and have a family, or two pinks.   It didn’t change the way we played the game.  It just changed the look of the little plastic cars.  But in its own quiet, mellow way, it gently altered my kids’ assumptions about how things are “supposed” to be.
Is this really so terrifying?

Is this really so terrifying?

So the Prop 8 thing upset my family.  I mean, at the risk of getting way too serious for a blog–there are people TORTURING people in this world.   And someone has a problem with the idea that two people who love each other want to have a longterm, committed relationship (with tax benefits)?   People, get your priorities straight.  Hurting bad.  Love good.  Duh.

Maybe what we should do is invite everyone who voted for Prop 8 to a big ole Game of Life tournament.  The first time we put a blue peg next to a blue peg, they’ll probably object, say that’s not how the game is played, maybe even threaten to leave.  But if we just point out it doesn’t change anything for them, that we’re not forcing THEM to have two blue or pink pegs in their front seats, that their odds of spinning a 10 aren’t altered by what color pegs anyone is using–maybe they’ll calm down and keep playing.

And maybe after a while, they’ll stop even noticing the colors of the pegs, just let us drive our plastic cars through our career choices and baby births and lay-offs and tax return days and into our golden retirement years with our little peg families made out of any colors we want.  Maybe it will gradually sink in that, whatever the color of your peg companion, we’re all dealing with the same stuff–taking care of our kids, dealing with aging and dying parents, trying to make ends meet while still saving for the future, caring for our friends, balancing professional ambition with family life, and so on. 

You know, all that life stuff, with a lowercase “l.”



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3 responses to “Gay Marriage 101

  1. Oh, Claire. This is said so beautifully. Thanks for sharing this with us!

  2. I just read this at Lee’s blog. Kudos to you and your family. Love is love, no matter what color the pegs.

  3. Claire

    Thanks. Couldn’t agree with you more.

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