Over Labor Day weekend, my wife and I took a trip to Toronto to celebrate our 26th anniversary. We stayed in what is known as the gayborhood in Toronto. Lots of rainbow flags and crosswalks painted in rainbow and trans flag colors. Lots of dogs (not LGBTQ+ specific, but I always notice dogs because I love them). We browsed a queer bookstore right before drag queen brunch started. We ate at a vegan restaurant called Soy Boys. We saw a flier posted to a light pole that read “Save trans kids” over the image of a red, white and blue flag, clearly calling out the United States for its campaign of harassing and oppressing trans kids. We felt appropriately ashamed.
While checking out the city, we found a little shop that sold jewelry and started looking at rings. Neither of us can wear our original wedding rings anymore because, well, we’re older and not as skinny as we were way back then. We hadn’t planned on getting new rings, but my wife found the perfect one for me: a gold skull ring that had a skeleton hand where the ring came together. I’d actually been looking for a new ring, and this one was perfect. “It’s a skull, but classy,” I said to my wife, and she laughed. She found a thin, gold, slightly wavy band that she liked.
In the middle of the store, we exchanged rings. My wife asked me if I would marry her; I said yes, and she slid the ring on my finger. And vice versa. It was very informal and impromptu, but it was nice. And it wasn’t lost on us that people in Canada could get married long before we could in Michigan. That had we gone to Canada to get married like a lot of couples did back when it was one of the few countries where it was legal, the very act of driving back across the border would “unmarry” us.
Before the Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land, my wife and I did get legally married in California. Our son was three at the time. When we flew back to Michigan, we were as good as not married.
And not married is where right-wing extremists want us to be. Ever since an extremist majority took over the Supreme Court, conservatives have been gunning for every progressive step forward this country has taken. First, it was abortion. Roe v. Wade being overturned energized anti-progressives like never before. And they aren’t stopping at abortion. They want to eradicate the existence of trans people and roll back marriage equality.
I used to write a lot in this column about Brian Brown, the leader of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), an anti-LGBTQ+ group. The Supreme Court’s 2015 marriage equality ruling really took the wind out of his sails. But now he’s back on his bullshit.
In an email from Brown, shared by Joe.My.God., Brown unveils NOM’s new “NOT campaign” and rails against marriage equality, taking Republicans to task for not hating queer people enough to devote their political careers to destroying any and all progressive gains in the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement.
“This historic campaign will reassert the truth about marriage, life and gender to the American people through aggressive billboard and digital advertising, challenging the narrative of leftist and LGBT groups — and many Republican politicians,” Brown writes.
I mean, there are a lot of reasons to go after Republicans. But being too liberal isn’t one of them. The party gets more extremist every day. They worship disgraced former president Donald Trump and donate more money to him with every indictment. This is a party that literally tried to overturn the 2020 election and openly pisses on democracy.
The NOT campaign includes three billboards. A photo of two cake-topper grooms that says, “NOT a marriage,” a photo of what is presumably a transgender woman that says, “NOT a woman,” and a photo of an ultrasound that says, “NOT a choice.”
Brown then begs for money to get these billboards up, calling it “a financial emergency.”
To which I say, no, a “financial emergency” is ending up in the hospital with no health insurance because you don’t make enough money at your low-wage job to buy your own insurance and your employer doesn’t offer it. You also have no paid medical leave, so you lose your job because you can’t come to work because you’re too injured or ill and need to recuperate.Republicans oppose universal health care, a living wage and paid medical and family leave. This is why people don’t vote for them. It’s not because they are too queer-friendly, that’s for damn sure.