Sara Whitman

Down but Not Defeated

Filed By Sara Whitman | November 08, 2009 5:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: gay marriage, gay rights, knocked down, Maine, marriage equality, not defeated, same-sex marriage

It's hard to think of what to say. My heart is broken. I am exhausted and sick (literally and figuratively). I kept checking the Bangor News site to see the last of the numbers trickle in, hoping it got closer.

It didn't.

I'm proud of being involved with the campaign in Maine. I still love Maine. As I sit here and type, I can hear the buoys clanging in Perkins Cove. The leaves are mostly gone, and the sun is out.

It is still beautiful to me.

As devastating as this loss is, I am beyond grateful we won marriage in Massachusetts. We narrowly evaded having marriage go to a popular vote- and I believe we would have lost that vote if it had taken place. Even today, I have to wonder if we'd win, so many years later.

The rights of a minority should never be voted on by a popular vote. In the MA state constitution, that notion is very clear. Unfortunately, not every state has the same rules.

Today, I have to make dentist appointments for my kids. Zachary runs in a cross country meet today. Jake has to finish up a project for class and Ben will come home, eager to chat with his friends online. My life hasn't changed. No one can take my family away from me.

In the coming days, the campaign will be sliced and diced. I do think it's important to learn from it, but it makes me sick to see us turn on each other, as we did after California.

I am reminded that ten years ago, I never thought we'd see the day that marriage equality would even be considered in my lifetime. A day when I would be a part of 100 plus LGBT activists being welcomed to the White House, to watch a President sign the first ever LGBT positive bill.

And while we continue to be denied, in so many states, the very basic protections from job loss, housing discrimination, health care disparities, we have come far. Openly gay candidates were elected across the country yesterday. Each election is a few steps forward, a few steps back.

We cannot win every fight. We continue to learn, every time, more about how to move forward.

For me, I know the most powerful thing I can do is to continue to raise my family. To be out, every step of the way, proud and willing to have any conversation to help people understand better what it means to be a lesbian in this country.

What it means to be a second class citizen.

Because deep down, I believe people will do the right thing when they have direct contact with what they fear is so different. That it's not about sex but humanity. It's about love and respect. It's about valuing human beings, all human beings, equally.

We are all God's children, to quote a friend of mine. I don't think you have to believe in God to believe in the sentiment. Someday, this nation will understand that.

Someday soon.

But not today.

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