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The White Knot: Gay Marriage Activism in Progress

The White Knot: Gay Marriage Activism in Progress

My face is still warm from the slap in the face my united states has given me. With every battle won, are there not always wounds to suture? The gay marriage battle. A view from Virginia.

My face is still warm from the slap in the face my united states has given me. With every battle won, are there not always wounds to suture?

Last night Obama won the election.

We were all huddled around our old 27” television, radiators hissing in our falling-apart Richmond apartment, watching Obama wave to the huge Chicago crowd.

My girlfriend sitting on the edge of the couch, her wide-eyes brimming with tears, ready to spill over. My best friend and roommate both sitting on the love seat, silent and staring at the TV screen in delighted shock. My lips parted, breath still quick from our celebratory shouts and hoorays.

As soon as Virginia was in, Obama took it. We all shouted out, clapped our hands, and then we heard shouts from else where. Coming from the apartment above us, next to us, the house down the street…the block. People spilling into the streets in jovial union. We ran up the block to meet our friends, hugging and saying“He did it! He won! We did it! We flipped! Virginia went democrat!”

Two boys rode by on bicycles waving Obama flags and cheering. Cars flashing their lights and honking everywhere. All around us. This beats the hell out of New Year’s. This is more. This is a feeling of zeal, of pure victory. We walked through the streets, rum and coke in my hand, vodka and something blue in my girlfriend’s…our huge smiles filling with what-ifs and oh-the-possibilities.

The celebration didn’t last long. Along with the presidential election there was also something going on in California that held just as much importance in a lot of American’s minds as Obama winning. After we came back to our apartment, got a little more drunk and all finally went to sleep, the next morning delivered the stomach turning news of, “too close to call” for Proposition 8 in California.

I couldn’t believe it. I watched the news all day. Waited for the numbers to change. Paced the floor of our apartment. The numbers didn’t change. At least not enough. The final results coming in at 47.7% to 52.3% being against homosexual couples being legally able to marry. I asked myself over and over how this could be happening. How after all this time and progression we could be still fighting for a basic right? We just want our love to be acknowledged in the same way as any straight couple’s love. To be able to tie the knot in the eyes of our family, friends, our god, or our country.

The news simply continued to sink in after that. It marinated until we were filled to the brim with it. It wouldn’t go away, but guess what? Neither would we. We would rise up, we would assemble and fight this, and we would not accept this as final.

On November 15th gays, lesbians, bisexuals, their friends and supporters gathered in over 300 cities across the country to protest at their city hall. I went early in the morning to get poster board and permanent markers. We had a friend coming from Virginia Beach who had made 4 amazing signs, and altogether there were 7 of us in our group that all went to Richmond city hall that day. It was windy, and it drizzled a little, but we all held firm to our signs that read things like:

“Equal Rights for ALL Americans.”

“Separation of Church and State, Take Back Proposition 8!”

“I’m not gay but LOVE is LOVE, Get OVER it!”

“Separate is NOT EQUAL.”

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There were about 150 of us in Richmond. We stayed out there for hours as dozens upon dozens of cars went by, each reading our signs, some drivers frowning and some honking and shouting words of approval from their windows. Two women holding signs of their own, stood on the median between the lanes of traffic leading the crowd’s chants with:

“WHAT DO WE WANT?”

Our response in unison:

“EQUAL RIGHTS,”

They bid us to respond further:

“WHEN DO WE WANT THEM?”

We all knew the answer, every time.

“RIGHT NOW!”

Later that evening we stayed up to see if we were on the news. Along with seeing ourselves, holding our signs high, chanting, and standing tall I learned that the two women leading our chants were married in California just months before their marriage was basically chewed up and spit back in their face on November 5th.

The White Knot is not a privilege reserved for a selected group of people. It is not just for white Americans, it is not just for the rich, it is not for one selected religious group.

In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 16 states that "Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses."

Marriage is a union between two individuals that wish to be united legally and spiritually. It is a union that any two consenting adults should be afforded. It is a basic human right that we will not stop fighting for.

We will not go away.

We will not be silenced.

We will be heard.

We will be equal.

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Abagail Waller