The State of Our Unions

The president mentioned gay and lesbian Americans in his State of the Union speech—for about eight seconds—but if you don’t have anything nice to say, Mr. President, please don’t say it at all!

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“Ladies and gentleman, the state of our unions is screwed…”

I suppose a president couldn’t come out and say that. But on January 31 the president of the United States implied as much in his obligatory State of the Union address to both houses, the Cabinet, Supreme Court and invited guests (except Cindy Sheehan, who was forcibly removed —well, arrested—for wearing an antiwar T-shirt. So much for freedom of speech).

The speech went fine—the usual pablum, spin, partial lies, pledges that never happen. All of that I’ll leave to the political pundits. But then, about 50 minutes in, he mentioned us for eight little seconds, eight seconds that show once again that gays and lesbians are not considered Americans by this administration or this party, and that when Bush or the neocons say “my fellow Americans” they simply don’t mean gays and lesbians.

“They [the American people] are concerned about unethical conduct by public officials and discouraged by activist courts that try to redefine marriage,” the president said as he referred to his coup on the Supreme Court (Alito and Roberts; enter 40 years of darkness in America).

First of all, why? Why on earth take a swipe at gays and lesbians when it’s not on the political radar right now? Is he gearing up for the midterms in 2006? Are the Republicans going to make fags their whipping boys again, hoping to galvanize public opinion?

And how can he mix same sex marriage in with unethical conduct? In the first line he says America is concerned about unethical conduct by public officials—given the state of affairs in politics, one could safely assume he was referring to his own administration. Names like Karl Rove, Tom DeLay, or Jack Abramoff come to mind when thinking of unethical conduct. Hell, maybe it’s just me, but the wiretapping of Americans without a warrant sounds unethical—so maybe he was referring to himself.

But then, out of the blue, in comes the swipe at same-sex marriage. Appeal to the base, shore them up, grab them—at the expense of good, taxpaying Americans.

Well, first a few facts. Mr. President, the state of our unions is stronger than ever. We don’t need pieces of paper—never have, really—to validate our love or our coupling. While your heterosexual counterparts, including many of your friends on the Hill, have done all they could to destroy the institution of marriage through cheating, lying, or divorce (heck, even your brother, right?), we have formed families and unions without your approval or your benefits. Marriage, to us, isn’t about financial gain or keeping up appearances; it’s about forging a bond that many, including the government, don’t want to even recognize. Yet we do it and continue to do it, and nothing you can say or do will stop us. We, like everyone else, love. And when we love, we couple. No activist judge, poll, or vote can change that.

We’re winning more and more, and you can’t stop it and that scares you. As I sat in mediation in my wrongful-death lawsuit just last week, the week of January 23, 2006, the lawyer appointed to be the mediator wanted to thank me. For what? It appears my case has changed state laws in some way, and his cousin, a lesbian, was able to sue for wrongful death on behalf of her partner because of my lawsuit. A year ago she would have been thrown out of the suit. Now she’s in. I did that with the help of attorney Michael Lotta and the second district appellate court in Los Angeles. Activist judges, I suppose, acting on behalf of those who need it.

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