Sunday Late Night: Laugh Along
“Heterosexuality isn’t normal. It’s just common.” — Dorothy Parker
I’ve been listening for two weeks now to testimony and questions in a federal courtroom here in San Francisco about what’s wrong with people like me: we’re powerless, we’re politically uncrossable; we’re less well off than straight families, we have more disposable income; we’re hated and despised, but Will & Grace was a tremendous success. We’re underrepresented in Congress, but there’s more federal HIV/AIDS research money than there was in 1983 — lots more!
We’ve heard that coerced reparative therapy is horrific but that sexual orientation can be fluid. We’ve heard that Senators think homosexuality is more dangerous than terrorism but that the woman who’s now Speaker of the House made her maiden floor speech about HIV/AIDS prevention funding. We’ve learned that there are religious denominations that welcome us, marry us, and sustain our families; and we heard that the alliance of Roman Catholics, Latter Day Saints and evangelical Christians to pass Proposition 8 was an unprecedented coalition in America that ignored fundamental doctrinal differences to organize against a common, terrifying enemy: gays and lesbians who want the state to marry them.
We’ve heard that the purpose of marriage is procreation, and that children of gay and lesbian parents are just as well-adjusted as children of opposite-sex couples. We’ve been told that children must be protected from gays and lesbians marrying and we’ve learned that parents getting married is the best thing that can happen to kids.
But the thing that has sustained me, what’s kept me going, what’s made it all worthwhile as I sit in the 19th floor Ceremonial Courtroom day after day typing, typing, mistyping — is the laughter. The laughter rings out among those of us in the room there to hear our lives weighed in the balance, when an absurdity issues from the counsel for the defendant-intervenors, or their withdrawn expert witness depositions replayed on tape, or the defendant-intervenors: that gays are 12 times more likely to molest little children; that gay marriage leads to polygamy, incest and bestiality; that children are confused that a prince can marry a prince. That socially liberal countries that have legalized same sex marriage now have more divorce among opposite sex couples, and that one caused the other.
While there have been tears in the courtroom as we listen to the Plaintiffs tell their stories and the witnesses provide their experience and expertise, it’s the laughter that has meant the most to me. Because if a political movement is mocked and laughed at for its absurd notions and fundamental unfairness, it cannot last long. If its notions simply defy logic and elicit laughter and mockery from fair-minded people, and if its central tenet is one that people really don’t care about very much, then it isn’t going to make headway for very long.
And it simply will not fly, this denying marriage to people who love one another.
So, in that spirit of laughter and mockery, as we begin the last week of the testimony portion of the Proposition 8 trial, I wanted all of you to share in the laughter with our friends from WakeUpWorld.
Tomorrow, join me bright and early at The Seminal for more liveblogging (we have reached liveblogging thread number 38!). Check in at the FDL Prop 8 Hub for more news (including a Twitter feed of all the #prop8 tweets!) throughout the day. Finally, you can support our efforts to bring you the up-to-the-minute liveblogging of the biggest civil rights trial of the century.
But, mostly: just laugh along with us on the 19th floor. It’s gotten me through this. It’ll get us all through it together.