Let's make it personal. Hi, my name is Michelle Denise Norton. I want to get married. To the very specific person I fell in love with, Gayle Eubank. Now. I will be engaged for 24 years this December and if it had been possible, I would have met Gayle somewhere in Evanston or Chicago for a civil ceremony before she moved into my apartment at the end of January 1989. I had a roommate (let's call her D) freak out when she found out Gayle and I had started dating. This involved D demanding she move into university housing in Gayle's place and Gayle move into our apartment. I had maybe planned to move in together after Gayle got back for the summer. So that timeline suddenly got accelerated. At this point, I had finished at Northwestern and was working as an Admissions Clerk at a hospital and Gayle had just started her senior year as a Journalism Major.
The United States Presidential election is happening Tuesday. We are at a point of cultural shift. The Republican and Democratic National Parties (oh, they are so not a party, either of them) and the GLBTQ media and community have turned the "can the gay community marry" question into a high contrast, highly volatile, yes or no, no compromise issue. Vote Romney, be anti gay marriage and families; vote Obama, equal rights are supported in speeches and interviews, mechanics to be worked out later.
In Maine, people are going door to door to support Question 1, a referendum legalizing gay marriage. They tell neighbors why it matters to them, their families and/or their friends. They make it personal. They share their stories. So I'll tell you mine, one part at a time, how Gayle and I got here and where, when and how we started.
And maybe some day soon, I'll be able to flash you a picture of that wedding ring* ; )
*Gayle did accept my initial proposal that December night, but has refused to go through with it twice...once at a protest during a March on Washington and once when I suggested we go to Canada. My feelings were hurt. A little. But her theory: do it once, legally and in church. Ours is Episcopalian so that part is possible. Take a New Jersey Irish Catholic and a Kentucky Southern Baptist and after seventeen years or so, the church they agree on turns out to be Episcopalian.
Good night and/or good morning. If you're living in the USA, vote on Tuesday. And then come back and see how the story continues.