As a kid, I saw marriage as something my fellow small town residents did when they had no other option for their future or were knocked up.
The queerer I got, the less I found myself wanting to marry. Marriage seemed like something for other people, something I wasn’t even allowed to do.
One of the reasons I went to law school was to understand what all the fuss was about gay marriage. I wanted to know if it was just a campaign for assimilation or if it really was the turning point in equality.
So, this summer, I took an internship with a major LGBT rights organization in San Francisco to find out just that.
What I learned is that marriage equality actually, truly and sincerely does matter.
I am currently in a promiscuous commitment-phobic phase of my life, but it wasn’t too long ago that I was in love with The Wind and thinking about what it would mean to live my life as her partner.
She was from Oklahoma, a state where it is not illegal to fire someone for being gay and young trans kids still get killed in front of school officials’ eyes. When we visited Oklahoma City a few summers ago, someone threw a beer bottle at us from a passing car as we entered a gay bar holding hands.
In a state where LGBT folk face such overwhelming discrimination, the right to define a relationship with the word marriage seems miniscule in comparison.
But over and over again this summer, I saw how much marriage equality is vital. To a mother losing her child or a man unable to visit his dying partner in the hospital, relationship recognition is a right as important as any other freedom given in the Constitution.
As a young, queer, single, educated, U.S. born woman, it’s easy for me to speak of changing the establishment of marriage instead of buying into it. But changing any establishment takes lots of time and money and the people I worked with this summer were out of both. Until something else exists to replace the system of marriage that grants more fundamental rights to citizens than I could possibly list here, I want to be able to choose whether to access those rights.
Organizations like the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights made it possible for me to gallivant around town having gay sex and not worry about cops arresting me. These same organizations are now working towards my right to stop being a slut and settle down to have a family.
That may not be where I am right now, but one day I’m going to be grateful for their hard work, and I’m honored to say that this summer, it was also my hard work.
Blogger Bio: Queerie Bradshaw loves shoes, social justice and sex. Born a farmer's daughter, she believes everyone deserves a good roll in the hay, and feels empowered by her feminine sexuality. She frequently travels both domestically and abroad, exploring women and wine from all regions. Now a law student who dances burlesque on the side, she fights for international rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of good porn. You can visit her website at QueerieBradshaw.com, follow her on Twitter (twitter.com/QueerieBradshaw) and friend her on Facebook.