Yesterday, I spent more than 4 hours pounding down I-5, on my way home from a visit to my parents. I had my two kids in the backseat, groggy from 3 days of spoiling at the hands of their grandparents. We’d had a great few days of family time together.
For about the last two hours of the trip, I listened to NPR’s stories on the marriage equality cases the Supreme Court is currently hearing. Some of what I heard made me sad and some of it made me angry and all of it made me thoughtful. Because it seems that I am almost always, whatever I’m doing, thinking about connections to this blog, I thought about what marriage equality might have to do with the subject we write about here, which is making a home.
It might seem that the political topic of marriage equity has little relevance to a home blog. But the more I thought about it, the more I became convinced that it does. In the whole big scheme of making home, things such as furnishings and paint colors and home renovations are the frosting. Who we do them with and for–that’s the cake. We’ve probably all learned from hard experience that eating nothing but frosting doesn’t do much but make us feel sick. (No? That’s just me? Well, if you are a little more prudent in your general approach to life–or just cake–take it from me: Frosting without cake is a bad idea.)
Now, we love frosting–both actual and metaphorical–but we don’t like reading home blogs with nothing but frosting, and we really don’t want to serve the same to you. That’s why we’re publishing a post about marriage equality today.
With three failed marriage and some seriously serious marriage mistakes between us, Cane and I are likely not an authoritative source on the subject of marriage. But our experience (and behavior) does explain why we generally snort at the idea that allowing gay couples to marry will somehow compromise the institution. We think it would be hard to compromise it more than we heteros have–and yet, we’re still free to get married (again and again and again) if we so desire.
We are so, so thankful that we have such an option–because marriage matters. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t have such heated debate about it. Marriage is a social contract with deep, symbolic, and practical meaning in our society, and it seems to us that telling some people they should be satisfied with a civil union is sort of like telling some people they should be satisfied with separate but equal schools. As a different set of Supreme Court justices knew, there’s no such thing as separate but equal.
If, perhaps, you’re thinking right about now that we’re not just off-topic but totally off-base and should never write about a political issue again, we’d like to (gently) suggest that you reconsider. The more we talk and think and write about how we’re making a home, the more we realize that every choice we make is a political one. When we choose to buy things from a thrift store rather than Wal-mart, that’s political. When we choose to preserve our home as it is rather than update to what is fashionable, that’s political. When we renovate with salvaged materials rather than newly manufactured ones, that’s political.
Every choice each of us makes about our homes is both personal and political because, as I learned in my formative years, the personal is political. Nothing gets much more personal that who we marry (or don’t marry or can’t marry)–and nothing has more to do with making a home than who we make our home with and how we define the relationships that are its foundation.
We’ve written before about our belief that how we live in our homes is how we live in our world–and so, we believe that when we do not let everyone love who and how they want to in their homes, when our policies foster fear, silence, shame, or isolation in our neighbors’ homes, it diminishes the amount of love out there in the world–and that hurts all of us.
See, the thing about home/world flow (of whatever) is that it doesn’t go just one way: It’s not just about what we send out into the world from our homes. It’s also about what the world sends into them. We can’t help but be affected by what’s out in the world. Although we like to think of our homes as a refuge from the world, safe places apart from all that is hurtful outside of them, the truth is that they aren’t, not really. Our doors are not impermeable barriers. And that’s why we think it’s not only appropriate, but necessary, to write about marriage equality on this home blog.
Personally, we want to live in a world with more love and more peace. That’s really, at the heart of it, why we write this blog. We want more people to love their homes, themselves, and each other. We know that if everyone could more easily have what my parents and kids and I got to share the past few days–love grown on the certainty that others will recognize us as family and hold as sacred we do the ties that bind us to each other–our world would be a better place, for all of us.
We don’t often ask you to like/share/tweet, etc., but we hope you will with this one (if you agree with the message). There seems to be concern on the court that, as a society, we aren’t there yet. We think it’s time to stand up and be counted.