The Difference A Day Makes
The day after the Supreme Court’s decisions on DOMA and Proposition 8 were announced, something landed in my inbox to make me cry buckets for the second time in two days. It was a short email from one of TDL’s coworkers, Lorraine.
I admire Lorraine. She is determined, persistent and goal-oriented. She has a life plan. If obstacles crop up, she’ll figure out how to get around them.
She has a flair for crafting, cooking and other home-centered arts. If you tasted one of her fabulous cakes or if you received one of her hand-made holiday cards, you’d know what I’m talking about. She works a regular job, and also runs a side business as a wedding/party planner that combines her culinary talents with her organizational skills and creativity.
She handles it all with joy and unquenchable enthusiasm.
In many ways, she is the epitome of a modern young woman who juggles her home life, career and personal passions successfully.
There is just one thing.
Lorraine is a conservative Republican from a large Catholic family. She’s intelligent, outspoken and very informed about politics. Surprising for someone of her generation, she’s been known to quote Rush Limbaugh to back up her point of view, and toes the conservative line on issues that, in my opinion, may negatively affect her daughter’s future.
On gay rights issues including equal marriage, Lorraine dismissed LGBT civil rights as a distraction from our country’s more important problems. She acknowledged that TDL and I were the happiest couple she knew, but why weren’t we content with the status quo? After all, we’d been together for so long, being able to marry legally wouldn’t affect our relationship, would it? Wait until the country’s ready for such a monumental social change. Fix the economy first. End of discussion.
Coming from a friend who knew us so well, Lorraine’s stance was discouraging, to say the least.
So, it seemed oddly out of character a few months ago, when Lorraine pulled TDL aside at work for private conversations about discrimination issues and our personal experiences. TDL and I puzzled over Lorraine’s sudden curiosity. With the election over, the economy recovering and improvement in the housing market, maybe the issue of equal rights had moved up a few notches on Lorraine’s list?
As it turns out, a very unlikely source was the reason for Lorraine’s questions – her mother.
Lorraine’s mother had taken a new job as a paralegal in a family law firm that had some LGBT clients. In just a few months, she had worked on cases of inequities in adoption, inheritance, social security benefits, and other matters. Over time, Lorraine’s mother was introduced to the spectrum of legal problems gay people face day in and day out, many of them tied to DOMA. She shared these stories with her family.
This attracted Lorraine’s attention. She asked TDL whether we as a couple had ever encountered situations similar to those her mother had mentioned. TDL’s responses had gotten Lorraine to thinking.
She kept her opinions on the subject to herself. Until the day after DOMA was overturned.
Lorraine’s email, addressed to TDL and me, said, “Just wanted to say how happy I was to hear yesterday’s decision. A huge hurdle has been leapt over on the path to universal equality‼”
I blotted my tears and tried to compose a reply, but suddenly all I could think of was a vision of two brides atop Lorraine’s unparalleled red velvet cake.