Amy Hunt is on the board of directors of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, an advocacy group working to protect the rights of gays and lesbians. The opinions expressed here are her own and not necessarily those of the caucus.
|Amy Hunt -- 05/23/2004 22:10|
GEE, ONE LAST THING, JUST TO BE CLEAR. As Massachusetts goes the way of the Fallen Roman Empire, there will be no requirement that heterosexual men "satisfy their sexual instincts by homosexuality." As I understand it, there won't even be little encouragements along those lines, like tax credits or free Slurpee refills at the 7-Eleven. So: Any straight men out there (and some of my best friends are) who read the Professor's last blog and got worried, please relax and keep doing whatever it is you've always done, that will be fine.
|Amy Hunt -- 05/23/2004 19:52|
FINAL NOTES. Note to George Bush: Stop picking on my family and start paying attention to your own. Maybe you can start with the sanctity of your fake I.D.-having, community service-doing, graduation-skipping, something-Paris-Hiltonesque-is-next daughter Jenna.
Note to Mitt Romney: Segregationist Governor Orval Faubus of Arkansas spent the last years of his life selling his autograph for a quarter. Yesterday, after six months of trying to do everything you could to keep marriage discrimination in place, you did manage to say "I'm pleased for them and for their ability to establish a further relationship with the people they love." It's a start. Grow, grow, grow dammit.
Note to the so-called Conservative, so-called Christian Right: I would not want to be you, having to make an argument for (1) involuntary, government-mandated divorce in Massachusetts and (2) people shacking up in the other 49 states when they'd really like to make a commitment. And that slippery-slope line about what's next, people marrying kitty cats? Not so good. At some point, you'll really have to show up with that cat.
Note to self and other friends: Do not get complacent. We have enlightened lawmakers under attack this November for their votes. We have a Constitutional Convention next year. And if we don't prevail there, your marriage may be up for a popular vote on a ballot question. If you're getting married and you already have your dishes and your toaster and your handtowels (and most of us do), ask your guests to give a big fat donation in your name to one of the organizations who'll have to fight to protect the Goodridge decision: the State House lobbyists at MGLPC, the attorneys at GLAD, the MassEquality coalition that includes Freedom to Marry, the ACLU, NGLTF, HRC, the LGBT Aging Project, dozens of organizations that commit their time and resources to the cause. Let's have a great big "We Don't Need A Toaster" campaign and get this thing done.
THANK YOU. To Boston.com, to Arline Isaacson who said I had enough rants in my pants to do this, and to all the people who emailed in their support and thoughts. I'm feeling pressure to say something like "hey, swell debate" to the folks at the Massachusetts Family Institute -- Chris Funnell, then the Professor -- but it's not easy, I have to say. They work very hard to hurt me, my family. They demean me. They sell derision and division. I see no Love Thy Neighbor, only Keep Thy Neighbor Down, which I don't think is on the list of things Jesus Would Do. They and their fellow anti-gay crusaders seem to think that if they throw a veneer of courtly good manners over it, a smile, a handshake, a nod, it's nothing personal. Well, it is; it's deeply personal. Nothing could be more personal, really. I was brought up in a good home, in a marriage, part of a family. I haven't been perfect in my life, but at age 41, I've become exactly what I should be: a Hunt. I like a nice clean house. I'm a little bit of a worrywart. I get more conservative every year. When given a choice between right and wrong, I try to pick right. When it's all over, I want calling hours at the funeral home extended because the lines are too long, and it will be a surprise because I've been sort of a crank, but apparently a likeable one. If marriage and civilization have survived Darva Conger and the Millionaire, Trista and Ryan, Larry King and Blond Wife No. 7, surely it will survive another one of the Hunt girls. Of course this whole subject is personal. So no, it hasn't been a nice debate. Not at all.
FEELING GROOVY. On my way to "Shreck 2" Friday night (review: big green thumbs up!) I passed two heterosexual weddings, one pouring out of Trinity Church at Copley, and another pouring out of the Common. And there it was again: Not even a twitch of resentment. My entire adult life, every form I've ever filled out has ticked me off ("married or single?") and weddings have pained me. Whenever I went to one, I was always aware that it was a profoundly important ritual that excluded me. Those participating in it seemed, for the most part, unconcerned about my exclusion and unaware of their own privilege. When I teared up at a wedding, it wasn't at the usual moments, for the usual reasons, but because it made me confront the truth that my relationship was categorized as inferior. Not worthy of acknowledgment or respect. Not anything that anyone should be happy about. Over the years, I've chafed even walking by a wedding, or hearing young women chattering about their plans in the Tea Luxe. I feel kind of bad about that. But Friday night as the two weddings swept by me, I just thought hey, good for you. Congratulations. The only outstanding question is, will enough of them be able to say the same thing to me?
MY BIG FAT CUT-AND-PASTE. In the old classic film "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" Matt and Christina Drayton (Spencer Tracey and Katherine Hepburn) have one day to decide how they feel about their daughter, Joanna, marrying a black man, Dr. John Prentice (Sidney Portier). The family priest gets involved. The Prentice parents show up. At the end of the day, Spencer Tracey has this to say to the little crowd gathered in his house, awaiting his judgement:
"It became clear that we had one single day in which to make up our minds as to how we felt about this whole situation. So what happened? My wife, typically enough, decided to simply ignore every practical aspect of the situation, and was carried in some kind of romantic haze which made her, in my view, totally inaccessible to anything in the way of reason."
"I have not as yet referred to His Reverence, who began by forcing his way into the situation, and insulted my intelligence by mouthing 300 platitudes, ending just a half hour ago by coming up to my room and challenging me to a wrestling match."
"Now, Mr. Prentice, clearly a most reasonable man, says he has no wish to offend me, but wants to know if I'm some kind of a nut."
"And Mrs. Prentice says that, like her husband, that I'm a burnt out old shell of a man, who cannot even remember what it's like to love a woman the way her son loves my daughter..."
"...and strange as it seems, that's the first statement made to me all day with which I'm prepared to take issue. Because I think you're wrong. You're as wrong as you can be."
"I admit that I hadn't considered it, hadn't even thought about it. But I know exactly how he feels about her. And there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that your son feels for my daughter that I didn't feel for Christina. Old? Yes. Burnt out? Certainly. But I can tell you the memories are still there -- clear, intact, indestructible. And they'll be there if I live to be 110. Where John made his mistake, I think, was attaching so much importance to what her mother and I might think. Because in the final analysis, it doesn't matter a damn what we think. The only thing that matters is what they feel. And how much they feel. For each other. And if it's half of what we felt...that's everything."
|Amy Hunt -- 05/21/2004 12:11|
HIATUS. I was going to leave it to Boston.com to announce, but since the Professor did it, let's talk. There will be a wrap-up column this weekend but after that I'm with management, it makes sense to take a break. And not just for me (hey, it's not so easy to dish this stuff up every day). I also think it's good for whoever you are, whoever the heck is out there. I'm not talking about a sink into complacency, that would be nuts. The right wing is chanting "We'll Remember In November!" and we have friends in the legislature to protect in the election, votes to win in the next Constitutional Convention. MassEquality is running its "Summer of Equality" campaign. We all need to do our part, so check it out. But I do think we could lighten up a little. Refuse to get dragged into debates that are settled. Maybe go to the movies again (Shreck opens tonight, I'm there). Pottymouth Ed Pawlick has a crazy letter on MassNews.com about how the marriages that have been happening this week aren't valid, that we've been misled, poor us. He's what Rummy would call "a dead-ender." I, for one, am going to try to break the habit of checking him out every day. Maybe once every week will do. I'm not sure if it's really possible to sleep with one eye open, but I'm going to try it.
GOVERNOR PICK-AND-CHOOSE. In Delaware, the domestic relations law still says a person with "any degree" of unsoundness of mind cannot be married. Nor can a "habitual drunkard," or someone on parole or probation without the express permission of the institution watching over him or her. When will Massachusetts enforce the marriage law of Mississippi, which voids a marriage if it "appears" that Party A and Party B are drunk, insane, or too dumb to know what they're doing? (Note to the real Las Vegas: There's a good law for you to pass, don't you think? Cuts down on the paperwork.) When will our town clerks be trained in how to enforce Pennsylvania marriage law, which voids a marriage entered into by the "weakminded?" Or North Carolina, which still has a law on its books about not allowing impotent people to marry? (And how, may I ask, will the clerks test for that?)
THE LAST WORD. It'll go up sometime this weekend. If you're expecting something like the last episode of "Sex in the City," or "Friends" just forget it, I can't take the pressure.
|Amy Hunt -- 05/21/2004 08:39|
I just started a new job. I sat down with the HR person and for the first time in my life, was presented with form after form that asked "married or single?" and I didn't get mad. This ubiquitous check-box question, this requirement that I annihilate my own relationship, this moment that has infuriated me for two decades now -- well, it was just not there. I could be married right now, I could get married whenever I want, but we're planning on next year. I checked "single." Hey, fair enough.
Be back in a bit with more...
|Amy Hunt -- 05/20/2004 12:28|
CALM SETS IN, SORT OF. It's Thursday, May 20th, the three day waiting period is over and we seem to have moved on a bit, no? We're now talking about the new Abu Ghraib pics of soldiers giggling at corpses. We're trying to figure out why the U.S. military would raid the home of Ahmed Chalabi, our ally and the guy who vouched for the existence of WMD. At my personal lunch counter today, there was talk about "The Bachelor's" final choice. Why Britney fled her concert stage in Germany in tears. What an extraordinary pain in the neck it will be to commute during the Convention. And how turkeys, with such large bodies, get by with such pea-sized brains. Answer: They don't. Dumb as daffodils. And apparently when they mate it's very loud and funny, better than the neighbors. How nice to not be yapped about, even for a little while. First Lady Laura Bush did say today that gay marriage is "something people should talk about and debate." If that would include Dick and Lynne Cheney, let the yapping begin anew.
LOVE THAT ONION. Visit www.onion.com today. Seems the Vatican is condemning metrosexuality, the trend whereby heterosexual men act like homosexual men by exfoliating, getting pedicures and otherwise trying to be attractive and pleasant. :)
|Amy Hunt -- 05/19/2004 21:46|
THE SACRED INSTITUTION. According to the AP, convicted pedophile (former) priest James Porter was legally married in prison to a former nun. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is trying to keep him locked up permanently as a sexually dangerous person. But his "I do" caused not the slightest controversy.
|Amy Hunt -- 05/19/2004 08:30|
"THEY SAID 'I DO' AND THEY'RE FROM VERMONT." The White Whale swam before him as the monomaniac incarnation of all those malicious agencies which some deep men feel eating in them, till they are left living on with half a heart and half a lung...he pitted himself, all mutilated, against it. All that most maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things; all truth with malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all the subtle demonisms of life and thought; all evil, to crazy Ahab, where visibly personified, and made practically assailable in Moby Dick. (Chapter 41)
I'll return later in the day. I have a jam-packed travel schedule today, and I will keep Governor Copy Cop informed of my movements. I didn't get a marriage license on Monday and I do live in Massachusetts, but if there's going to be a big chase scene, I want in.
|Amy Hunt -- 05/18/2004 10:10|
THE BIGGEST LITTLEST DAY. The girlfriend and I served as volunteers at a few events yesterday. One of the things we got to do was attend the wedding of Robert Compton and David Wilson, two of the Goodridge plaintiffs. It was beautiful. I'm a Bowers v. Hardwick generation lesbian; the era of Goodridge v. The Department of Public Health, everything about it, makes me ache. Funny though, what was striking about yesterday was not the bigness of it all -- that, we knew -- but how little it was, too. At the end of the service, the two men leaned over a table and watched Rev. Kim Crawford-Harvie sign their marriage license and make it official. A signature. Ink on paper. Eleven words: "By the power vested in me by the state of Massachusetts." I nudged the girlfriend and whispered "that's it, right there, that's what the big deal has been." Outside, buses and taxis were whizzing by, and people who work in the Back Bay were lining up at the Au Bon Pain for their lunch. What yesterday was was a big day for Robert and David. And that's just as it should be.
PARDON ME, YOUR AGENDA IS SHOWING. According to a Boston Globe survey, the median age of those who applied for marriage licenses yesterday was 43, and the median length of their relationship was 10 years. Lots of lesbians with kids at home, which is no great surprise. And from what I saw, a lot of tears and wonder and love and strangers, gay and straight, wishing each other well. In all this, my opposing blogger discovered a non-monogamous gay male couple in Provincetown. Congratulations, Christopher Columbus. How long, by the way, has the practice of "open marriage" been around? (No, this does not include the panty-chasing of Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, that's just called "cheating on your wife.") Open marriage -- like shotgun marriage, arranged marriage, marriage of convenience, Vegas marriage, Green Card marriage, quickie divorce, it-never-happened annulments, polygamy, adultery, broken homes, deadbeat dads, all of it, every last variation, and every last corruption too -- are owned lock, stock, and barrel by heterosexuals. The marital neighborhood has been yours to run for 2,000 Years of Recorded History (and when the Governor talks about it, 3000 years). We just got here yesterday. Whatever's wrong with it, and there's plenty, don't blame me.
|Amy Hunt -- 05/17/2004 00:02|
I SAW HER ACROSS A CROWDED ROOM. I know, I know, but that's what happened. I looked at her, caught her doing the same to me. And when I went back for the doubletake, she was already in the middle of hers. Gotcha. A few minutes later, someone offered to stash my purse away, no sense carrying it around a party, but no, I needed to keep it. Ms. Doubletake packed a little Kate Spade and so did I that night. If there was a conversational meltdown (something I had learned to plan for) we could always talk cute bags and flip flops.
I'd been meeting people, dating, for two years after an excruciating break-up. We had been together for a decade. You have to wonder how things would have turned out if our ties were real, if we made promises to each other in public rather than private, if the prospect of our split threw two extended families into action to stop it, and if "it" required more than calling Gentle Giant Movers. In 10 years, our families never asked to meet (though they live about an hour's trip apart) and we never forced the issue. Keeping a relationship together is awfully hard. I was naive.
By the time I saw Elizabeth across the crowded room, my hopes were wizened, low, simple: Maybe this could be a nice girl to ask out on a date.
Here are some things to know about Elizabeth.
She reads The Economist front to back, and loved "Legally Blonde."
She can whack the golf ball from the men's tees.
She is erudite and opinionated about Mid-East history and policy and on that subject I don't mess with her.
She's a bad speller and a worse singer but only gets sheepish about the former.
The first summer I knew her, she had a Hawaiian shirt hanging in the rear left window of her car the whole time, all summer, no explanation, never moved an inch.
She makes me laugh all the time and that's not easy, I'm the funny one.
She cries every Christmas when the Grinch's heart grows three times.
She has lived with juvenile diabetes since she was 9 years old. She has had to stick herself with needles every day since then. When she was a kid she was denied her sense of invincibility and, though she's in good health, she may be denied a fine old age. She is brave and gracious and has enthusiasm for Mondays and Tuesdays and Wednesdays on a small, perfect scale that I don't.
She has run the Boston Marathon and the Dublin Marathon. If you want to see her do something, tell her you don't think she can.
When we're driving in the country and we pass a farm, she'll point out the window and say "Look. There are cows, outstanding in their field." If she forgets to say it, I kind of miss it.
She lends me her belief in happily-ever-after love.
She comes with a fluffy orange cat named Mulligan who's possessed of extraordinary self-esteem (and both of them ask very directly for what they need rather than complain or make me guess).
A few months ago, she called the MSPCA because she found a baby squirrel in the park with no parental squirrels in sight; I don't know, maybe they just ran to the video store for a minute, but the lack of supervision worried her.
She has a too-big heart and she trusts me with it.
Right now as she nods off a few feet away from me, she's putting up with the clicks of my keyboard as she has for months, almost every night. Hey, I have a blog to do and I'm no cut-and-paster, this is too important and, in the end, this is for us.
This weekend we drove to Provincetown just for dinner. I had the top of my little convertible down, the sun was shining in on us, and we didn't exchange much more than a few words about where and when to stop for gas. (I hope everyone has someone they can do this kind of thing with, just Be; a pox upon your house if you resent that I do, if you live to do little but demean it.) Over dinner at Chester, we talked quite a bit. It was the first time we discussed what kind of wedding we'd have sometime next year, when nobody wants to report them or film them anymore. We didn't make too many decisions. We began where I suppose you have to, by thinking about what places and people most feel like home.
No matter what we do, Elizabeth hopes her father will decide to walk her down the aisle. What a test this has all been, and will be, for so many of us. My father died when I was a teenager; there's another thing I'll never know. I have people who would do this for me, men I love dearly, but I think this is walk I'll take alone. And what a very long walk it will have been.
Happy May 17th everyone. It's a big day for all of us, a breathtaking day, but congratulations to those of you for whom today is The Big Day as well. And thank you, Mary Bonauto.