Michelle Marzullo

H8 Vigils and the Pacific Altar

Filed By Michelle Marzullo | March 11, 2009 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, Politics

Proposition 8 was heard by the California Supreme Court on March 5. My partner and I participated in a candle light vigil at the San Diego City Hall the night before. It was one of many such vigils held around the nation dubbed "The Eve of Justice." The vigil was usual---candles burning, signs waving, horns beeping, songs singing, and a kind of solidarity that feels rare in most major cities, San Diego included.

It felt good to be around those who feel the same. Not the least because I just moved here from New York. The evening nourished my soul even if I am weary of this fight, which was the point of holding the vigil before we understood where the court would lean on this issue. I spoke with a lesbian couple last week who said they were married in four different places scattered across North America over two years in an attempt to protect their family. I am not alone in being tired of this injustice.

My new home in San Diego is near to one of the largest Mormon temples in California. Indeed, our surrounding neighbors are those same Mormons who bussed their kin folk in from Utah to be sure that my partner and I are denied important benefits, double taxed and double burdened with healthcare costs in order to keep a definition of marriage that never was.

On the run up to Prop. 8, I saw mothers with their young children standing at the corners of the shopping centers in my neighborhood with "Vote YES on Prop. 8 signs" and our neighbors' minivans with bumper stickers accusing my partner and I of being similar to child molesters IF we were to get married--in total contravention to the ideology of married people being some how charmed or lucky.

Now, I don't think the problem here is that people who think differently actually don't exist. The research actually shows that the majority of Americans don't really care about the topic of marriage for gays and lesbians--and there is the rub. We witness the squeaky wheel getting the grease.

In the late-October days of 2008, the air around here was so clotted with lies about gay, lesbian, and bisexual people that it blocked out the gentle SoCal sun and sullied the air with H8. The Mormons would come to my door occasionally. They are there to proselytize, but their ilk call us recruiters when we attempt to begin conversations about lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans lives being worthy and equal. These are blasphemous lies.

The vigil and opening arguments did renew the urge I have to knock on the doors of the 52% of Californian voters to ask them why they attempted to vote me into silence, into purgatory? Like most, my interest in marriage is actually peripheral but I would still like an answer. And not a pitiful one that marks me as scourge, as recruiter--as they are to me and my family.

The day after the vigil, my partner said that we should go to the family vigil at the beach. She was being silly and just needed us to recharge at the altar of the Pacific but for a moment I thought she was serious. From these vigils, I have decided that we will create a family vigil at the beach for families like ours, for our allies--out of the darkness comes the light.

We'll be starting conversations with other families in our neighborhood and in San Diego who believe in us, who support us, who are like us--not necessarily in terms of sexual orientation, but politically and philosophically.

Yes, there will be Pacific Altar meetings in the open, for anyone to join. These meetings will be for all of us who take the determination of the US to be a protection for the minority from the tyranny of the majority--those who understand that we are all misfits and outcasts from various lands and faiths and that this is okay.

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