This circus act supports love and marriage for all!
Back in 2008, I found myself confronted with the thought of marriage. No, not mine. The marriage of others…who may marry, legally, and who could not. Of course I am talking about California’s Proposition 8 which effectively banned same sex marriages in our state. So much bitterness and hate bubbled up from the campaign for Prop 8 and against it. Arguments supporting it demanded that marriage had to be protected…families must be protected from couples who wanted to be married. All of this reminded me of a way of thinking and laws that were in place to protect marriage when I was just a little girl.
Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.
~ Virgina Judge Leon M. Bazile
That’s right boys and girls, before the US Supreme Court’s 1967 unanimous decision in Loving v. Virgina, interracial marriage was illegal in some states in the name of morality and the sanctity of marriage, no less. In Virginia, a couple could be jailed for one to five years for miscenegation even if they were legally married in another part of the United States. That was 1967…in my lifetime interracial marriage was against the law! Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling such laws remained on the books until the year 2000 when the state of Alabama finally removed its ban on mixed-race marriages. The year 2000!
How we have evolved…how LONG it took us to evolve!
And yet here we are scarcely more than a decade later and we are wrestling, fighting bitterly over protecting marriages from same sex couples who too want to commit to the act of marriage. Some argue stridently that our marriages will be destroyed if we allow this to happen. How, I wonder? Really, how is a couple, any couple, straight or gay, getting married going to ruin my marriage? How? Bill and I have been married now for 29 years. No one is going to mess that up except, god forbid, us. Our marriage, our vows are ours and our responsibility. I refuse to see how another couple’s marriage could sever that bond that we have worked on and continue to work on.
Back in 2008, I really began to think long and hard on exactly where did I stand on this. My own children’s thoughtful opinions only inspired me to think about this even more. Where did I stand? What would I do if one of my children came to me presenting the love of their life, their soul-mate and expressed their desire to marry that person only to realize that they could not because it was against the law? Would I reject them…like so many supporters of Proposition 8 did…condemn them…hate them?
Of course not!
I love my children unconditionally. I want my children to be free to marry the love of their life.
And so I chose to vote no on proposition 8 back in 2008. Unfortunately, it did pass with 52% of the vote in favor and 47% of the vote against and same sex marriages were and remain banned in our state. But many in California chose to not accept that vote and have remained vocal against what basically was the hate. One group was The NoH8 Campaign.
The NOH8 Campaign is a charitable organization whose mission is to promote marriage, gender and human equality through education, advocacy, social media, and visual protest.
The NOH8 Campaign is a photographic silent protest created by celebrity photographer Adam Bouska (http://www.bouska.net) and partner Jeff Parshley in direct response to the passage of Proposition 8. Photos feature subjects with duct tape over their mouths, symbolizing their voices being silenced by Prop 8 and similar legislation around the world, with “NOH8″ painted on one cheek in protest.
Three years since its inception, the NOH8 Campaign has grown to over 20,000 faces and continues to grow at an exponential rate. The campaign began with portraits of everyday Californians from all walks of life and soon rose to include politicians, military personnel, newlyweds, law enforcement, artists, celebrities, and many more.
The NOH8 Campaign has received overwhelming support from around the world, and has appeared in various local and national news programs and publications. The images are widely used on various social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the message of equality.
~from the NoH8 Campaign website
So when photographer Adam Bouska and the NoH8 Campaign came to Sacramento today for an open photo shoot, of course I wanted to go…and my kids wanted to as well…and my darling daughter #1 wanted to bring her children too. It was a family circus affair! Unfortunately the whole circus act could not be there. Bill and Ben were at work, Abby had school and Zoë is living now in LA. But the six of us were there representing this family circus supporting acceptance, respect and equality for all.
All around the Citizen Hotel there was literally nothing but love, smiles and kindness from the hotel staff, the NoH8 staff, volunteers and everyone there.
Men, women, couples (gay and straight), children, families all waiting patiently in line getting their NoH8 temporary tattoos and getting to know one another while waiting their turn for Adam to take pictures.
There was so much love, so much patience, so much kindness, so much acceptance and so much respect in that room. This is exactly what I want my children to know and to reflect…and they do.
My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have been so clear and right. The majority believed that what the judge said, that it was God’s plan to keep people apart, and that government should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation’s fears and prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone, they have a right to marry.
Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the ‘wrong kind of person’ for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.
I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight, seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.
~ Mildred Loving, June 12, 2007