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On June 16th, the Many Shades blog will be closed.
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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cause and Effect

By A.J. Llewellyn

"Daddy, are we getting a divorce?"
These were the traumatized words my friend Tracy woke up to yesterday morning. His daughter Eleanna shook him awake, having heard the news on the radio that Proposition 8, the measure to ban gay marriage had passed.
Tracy opened one eye and nudged his husband Chris, beside him. They already knew the news but thought they'd done a good job of protecting Eleanna from the truth.
Chris and Tracy were one of the first couples to get married five months ago on Super Saturday, the very first day gay marriage became legal in California.
Gay or straight, it was the best wedding I ever went to. There was a glow over those marriages. Each couple lined up had waited years for the privilege of exchanging vows, the biggest smiles I noticed were on the faces of the parents and children of the brides and grooms.
In one ghastly evening, Chris and Tracy became one of the 18,000 couples whose marriages are now in jeopardy.
"No," Tracy told her firmly. "We are not getting divorced."
I blogged about Chris and Tracy's romantic background some months ago, the adoption of their little girl and their magnificent wedding this summer. On Tuesday night we watched Obama's historic speech together, stirred by the powerful tide of change...then watched, aghast as Prop 8 passed into law, albeit by a slim majority.
Chris's mother called first, sobbing from her home in San Francisco. My father called them and me from his cruise in the north seas, distressed.
"I don't want to go to school," Eleanna wept yesterday morning. "What if my friends are mean to me? What if they say we shouldn't be married? I like being married, daddy."
Half her class went to the wedding, but beyond fighting over chunks of wedding cake, gay marriage has never been an issue in her class room, despite but the proponents of Prop 8 will tell you. Now, suddenly, thanks to some shock jock on morning radio, Chris and Tracy's little girl was learning about hate, ignorance and fear.
For Eleanna, her parents' wedding was her big day, too. At the time I blogged about this beautiful day, I said that if all proponents of Prop 9 could have seen the love at all those weddings on Super Saturday, they would re-think their stand.
Chris and Tracy spent a lot of time yesterday morning, assuring their normally sunny, upbeat daughter that no matter what, her family was intact. Tracy made them all breakfast, Chris kissed his loved ones goodbye and went to work. Tracy looked out the window, watching his husband drive away. The street looked the same, the car looked the same, his neighbor waved to him as usual. Nothing had changed, yet, everything had changed.
He told me that in that moment he thought, 'What harm did we do to anybody else getting married? What harm have any of the 18,000 marriages done to anybody?'
The answer was none.
He made his daughter's lunch, Eleanna being picky about her sandwich's contents, arguing about fruit versus cup cakes - business as usual. He drove her to school and despite her trepidation, her friends greeted her the way they usually did.
"Hey, Eleanna, did your dad bake cupcakes?"
Tracy hugged his little girl goodbye, called me to see if I was up for coffee, and of course I was. Big, strong, hunky, muscular Tracy walked into my house and for the first time in the 12 years I've known this man, stood in my doorway and cried.
His concern was for his daughter, for all the children so loved by their parents who are now scrambling to cope with new legislature which as of this morning has seen same sex partners already being denied marriage licenses.
"Nobody can take your wedding day away from you," I reminded Chris, searching for some nugget of good out of the wreckage.
"True." He finally laughed. "And they can't take away all the wonderful gifts we got. I'm in love with my pasta maker...oh and the cappuccino maker. They can take back the Martha Stewart cookbooks I got with that Macy's gift card. None of her recipes work. I swear that woman leaves out one ingredient in each recipe, just to make us all feel like morons."
Tracy stopped talking. "A.J. is your kitchen tap still leaking?"
I grimaced.
"What am I going to do with you?" He stomped up my stairs, found the nifty tool box I bought but am hopeless at actually using and searched through all the tiny plastic boxes for washers and bolts. At least, I think that's what he said.
He went outside and turned off the water mains, attacking the pipes with a wrench. He chatted with my loony old next door neighbor, who for some reason, always recognizes Tracy when she hardly remembers her own name.
"Can you fix my blinds?" she asked him. He went into her house and did his thing, walking back to my house with a murderous look on his face.
"She just told me she voted Yes on 8."
I was stunned. Chris, Tracy and I are always helping her out, taking care of her yard, fixing burnt out lights, taking garbage bins in and out, rescuing her cat from tall name it.
"She said she thought long and hard about it, but was worried about children." Tracy looked dangerously red in the face. "I told her 'What about my child?' and she said, 'Oh, she's a sweet little girl.' "
So there you have it. Democracy in action.
He picked up a screw driver and walked toward the front door.
"Where are you going now?" I asked him.
"To fix her front door. Her screws are loose."
We looked at each other and laughed.
I put on another pot coffee and thanked heaven that it's hard to keep a good man down.

Aloha oe,



Jambrea said...

That poor child and her daddies. This saddens me greatly and I just want to cry. I just don’t understand why it is so difficult to let two people who love each other get married if they want to. I am just at a loss for words and very sad.

sandra said...


Tracy and Chris love each other and little Eleanna and that's what counts...they are very lucky to have a wonderful friend like you. Love cannot be dictated by anyone...even the government!
They need to just keep loving each other and be happy and hopefully with our new president he will be able to help with this decision, for all gay and lesbian people in the united states who want to be married...this would be a wonderful thing since it should not matter who you love just that you have love....tell your friends I am routing for them and to stay strong change is coming! your a great person and friend AJ...thanks for sharing and my thoughts are with them.


Nitaelf said...

As I said on D.J.'s list, I really hope the Fed Gov sticks to their guns and keep the open mind they say they have.

Kids shouldn't have to go through this just because their parents are the same sex. LOVE IS LOVE no matter who it is between.

They said they were doing this to protect children. Just who's children are they trying to protect? No mine, and surely not Tracy and Chris'.

Love Nita

AJ Llewellyn said...

What awesome people I know! I cut and pasted these comments and forwarded them to Chris and Tracy. They have a little scrap book now from my previous posts about their wedding and the reception they had. I am very moved by your comments and I know they - and Eleanna - will be too.
Thank you all!

Jesse Fox said...

Such ignorance saddens me to the core of my soul. I sadly live in a state where there is a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and it sickens me. I've heard every argument against same-sex marriage and none of them in my opinion hold even the slightest bit of human compassion.

In a country where we are supposed to possess a separation between 'church' and 'state' 'religious politics' have over run the government. To the consternation of a huge portion of our unaccepted citizens and their supporters there seems to be no end in sight to the heartbreaking tug-of-war.

It annoys me to no end that many of the people I've heard rant about this subject want to claim that advent of same-sex marriage will destroy the American family. What American family? The ideal of 5o plus years ago--the nuclear family? Frankly, these ideals were destroyed long ago (look around) even if they'd existed to begin with.

To me 'Family' is not just dad, mom, and 2.5 kids. Family is something that no law, proposition, or government can destroy. It is the love of a parent or two parents no matter their sexual orientation raising a future generation with unconditional love, compassion, and intelligence. The fact that none of this is considered by the uninformed, fear mongers who claim to be religious saddens and infuriates me to no end. They quote the bible, but they have convenient amnesia when confronted by a couple of the things my mother used to quote from the bible. The two rules I try to live my own life by in one shape or another.

Judge not least ye be judged.

Let he without sin cast the first stone.

Some of the same people who callously decide to deny citizens of this country the right to have their love recognized on a fundamental level abuse their families. They disavow the rights of people who look, speak, or think differently. They judge and they cast stones when they have no right to do so.

Your friends love one another, support one another, and live their lives with grace, compassion, and strength. They adopted a child who needed love and a solid home--that is family. I feel for them and the constant war that they along with so many others have fought their entire lives. Let them know that this battle might have been lost, but the war is far from over.

I'll step off my soap box now. *blushes & hides*

Jambrea said...

I'll step off my soap box now. *blushes & hides*

No need to hide. That was wonderfully put Jesse and so true.

Jesse Fox said...

Thanks, Jambrea. *blushes brighter* I was raised to accept the world around me and the many colors of how that love manifests itself.

I can get quite passionate when I believe deeply in something and sometimes that gets me in trouble.

Jaime said...

I've said it before, and I don't mind saying it again. People confuse the f*** out of me. They piss me off, and so I'm glad there are people out there who know enough to fix a little old lady's front door even if they don't want to, because it's the Right Thing To Do. I hope I remember Tracy's example the next time some neighborhood kid teases my son because he rides a pink bike.

Bo said...

This is another example of how we live. No matter what others do or try to do to us, we actually live what they claim they do. We treat others as we want to be treated. Thank the powers that be that we are not like them. If we were, there would be no end to hate and discrimination.

In their infinite wisdom of right and wrong, they always seem to hurt people.

No matter that those who "Know what's right" for us, love is a beautiful thing and no one and I do mean NO ONE can make us think any differently about it.

Your friends are lucky to have their little girl and I am so sorry she is caught in the middle of this, yet another case, of hate and discrimination. I am so glad her friends back her no matter what.

All of my life, I have heard so many myths spun about our lifestyle and have always wondered why people feel this way when my abusers were straight. No one stopped them, not even when I reported them. Yet these same people who would not stop straight parents from abusing their children, will tell people like me and you that we are less in their books than animals.

I have tried for years to show people that the gay lifestyle is really no different, except maybe that it seems we love deeper and hold on to that love for all we are worth.

For me, the fight for, what is actually my right, to be legally recognized. I cannot understand how one group of people can continue to take away the rights of others as they do.

Lately, I have heard much about how long the African Americans have fought for their rights. Yet I have not heard anyone tell about how Lesbians helped women to gain their rights - the same rights that are now on the verge of being taken away from us - only to be asked to step away because we would hurt their cause.

I can only hope that with Obama as President, all these issues of hate and discrimination will somehow be reversed. Although, I don't expect it to happen over night nor in one term.

One good thing that I noticed was that Prop 22 passed 8 years ago by 60+ percent and yet Prop 8 was passed by less of a margin - much less. Who knows, maybe in another 4 - 8 years, that will be overturned as we continue to educate people and show them they have nothing to fear but fear itself.

Ok I am done ranting and will go back to feeling that all is not lost.


AJ Llewellyn said...

The following comment is from Edmee, a lovely women who posted this on DJ Manly's group because she is having trouble posting it here. Here are her comments verbatim:

AJ, it seems no matter how i try i can't comment on blogspot, but i really like to say some words because your blog deeply moved me.
Reading of the story of this lovely couple, i think every of us agree with me that many straight couples can envy the way a gay couple treasure treir relationship and partner. I bet that they are feeling truly blessed because they have found each other, have a cute little daughter and can live together. On the other hand there are straight families wherein no communication, the dad is violent and often arguing over nothing, husband and wife are not equal but often the woman is treated like a slave. I know, because i lived in a family like that.
I think many straight couples should see how these people happy for each other. It's a mirror and many people should take it as an example instead of destroying these people happiness.
I just hope that Chris and Tracy and the other married couples will have it one day! They are truly deserve it. It's amazing how much of this openly two-faced people like the neighbor-lady are in the world. I can't even imagine what she is thinking. And i feel lucky because of this.
I hope the little girl will be OK! Children are very sensitive, but i am sure she is in good hands. :)
And AJ, i think you have great friends!

Thank you for writing about these people!Edmee

Roberta said...

I know I've been MIA but I just had to come out of hiding and comment on your (once again) moving blog AJ.

This is so wrong! It just really ticks me off that people even think they have the right to tell anyone who they can or can't marry!

Since when is it anyone else's business but my own who I choose to love and spend the rest of my life with!?

As the government and (apparently several) citizens of our "fair" country feel they can ban gay marriage then why don't they take away my right to get married too!?

I wish your friends all the best AJ and it certainly sounds like they have the strength to continue living as the loving family they are, no matter what happens. Eleanna is a very lucky girl as are Tracy and Chris for having a friend such as you.

Take care and stay strong!

Sophia Danu said...

Hi AJ!! My heart goes out to Chris, Tracy and Eleanna. I have faith that one day same-sex marriage will be legal. Tell them to keep up hope! They have what really matters which is a loving family and no one can take that away. My thoughts are with them.


AJ Llewellyn said...

Hi everyone, just wanted to let you know after two days of peaceful protests (exscept for a couple of skirmishes) Prop 8 will not die down. The fantastic news is that all the 18,000 marriages which took place will remain in effect. Thank you govenor general Jerry Brown.
And thank you to all of you for your wonderful comments here.

Lynn Crain said...

I really feel for your friends. Give them all my best.

It may take some time but things will change and turn around.


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