All Rights reserved
Are you already sick of hearing about gay marriage in California? All those smug jerks parading around their newly legal love? Well, too bad, because I went and did it myself. I know, go me. Well, actually, go us -- because my partner was doing it too. But I'll spare you the details.
I'm about to visit my home state of Texas, where most of my family lives. My mom can't wait to see the YouTube video of the wedding. But my brother and sister-in-law, being conservative evangelical Christians, won't want to hear much about it. I plan to spend approximately 15 seconds telling them, "Yep. It's legal there now. We did it. Now I can make medical decisions for him when he's 85 and suffering from dementia and needs, you know, a colostomy bag or whatever."
And this should satisfy their somewhat nervous curiosity about my life and my unwillingness to pretend I don't have one. They're not the kind of folks who worship the jerkface version of Jesus we hear too much about lately. They're good people. And besides, we settled our big gayness dilemma years ago. Briefly: It was a big fight about me and God and them and hellfire that ended with us not talking for six months until an older family member, who's also a conservative evangelical Christian but oddly down for at least this gay and this gay's main squeeze, piped up and said, "Y'all aren't acting much like Jesus right now." That more or less settled it. The compromise was that I got to keep being gay and they promised not to harsh on me anymore. So now their kids occasionally call my partner "Uncle Alonso" and no one freaks out too much.
Sometimes I try to imagine myself in their shoes. I come from the same background, so I know what dicks some right-wing Christians can be -- not just to the gays but to each other. No joke. We all knew some of the same people back in the day, and I assume that occasionally I come up in conversation. "Oh, Dave lives in California now? What does he do? Did he ever get married?" I'd give anything if I could have the superpower of invisibility and be in on those chats. I'm a huge fan of awkward, religious politeness.
I imagine the capper to a conversation like that being an offer to pray for the family. "I'll pray for you" is my favorite Jesus-based jargon from my Texas Baptist past; it's loaded with extra levels of weirdness. "I'll pray for you" means, basically, that you have cooties and they're offering to ask for cootie removal on your behalf, because obviously there's something wrong with you and your family or you wouldn't have the cooties in the first place. It's how they subtly status-check each other. It's not like they ask each other, "What's it like to have fags in the family? Do they gay-out in front of the kids?" They already know what they think about Topic Q, so they go straight to "I'll pray for you." They think they're helping each other.
It's not like I feel sorry for my conservative family members or their plight. I just get what they're dealing with. Trying to figure out how to hate the sin and love the sinner must be complicated, especially when the Bible doesn't even explain how to do that. And I'm not interested in any more family squabbles. I like how we keep the peace now. It's a loving detente. And my sister-in-law makes this great baked dish with sweet corn and butter and cornflakes and sour cream (and I don't know what else) that I need on a regular basis. I'm not jeopardizing that deliciousness for gay rights. I recognize no cooties, only casseroles.