February 22, 2004

Just Plain Folks

The Washington Post Article where I reconnected with David and Les

Washington Post article from February 1997 featuring my friends David and Les (on the left)

My best friend from high school, David, got married to Les last weekend. Finally. We were wondering if they’d ever make it legal. Those boys. After all, they’ve been together for 35 years.

I suspected they might do “it.” I watched for signs on the Evening News. I was checking the newspaper daily for their photo. Even though we now live 3000 miles apart that’s how we’d reconnected after 28 years.

One winter morning seven years ago I was attending to my usual workday pre-dawn ritual: oatmeal and coffee with the morning paper. I turned the page of the Style section, quickly scanning the headlines from each article. Out of the corner of my eye I registered something vaguely familiar. My eyes darted back to the top of the page and there they were: David and Les. Older but, without a doubt my friends. I shouted in surprise. My wife came rushing from the bedroom to see if I was ok.

David and Les had posed for book by John Getting called Couples. Michael Sullivan, the Washington Post reporter writing about John’s book began:

There is nothing special about the plain and handsome pictures in “Couples…” The subjects are not models or celebrities… What is extraordinary is just how ordinary these portraits of togetherness are. Because for many of the gay men and lesbians in the book, even the smallest public expression of affection has so often been taboo.

With Michael’s and John’s help I was able to reconnect with David and Les after all these years. I hadn’t seen them since 1969.

The remarkable thing about them is that they’ve been together for so long. I don’t have any straight friends who’ve been in a committed relationship that has lasted three and a half decades. So this week I wrote them to see if they had made a trip to San Francisco’s City Hall. When I got their reply, once again I shouted. Now they had the chance to publicly and legally acknowledge their loving and stable union. It seemed so logical.

They wrote:

It is amazing to us that some in the United States are so afraid of us. We don’t feel like a threat to anyone or their married relationship… We may not have even gotten married (as we already considered ourselves married for a long time now), but the opponents to same sex marriage made a statement “It’s simply municipal anarchy.” Something about that statement had a nice ring to it!

You iconoclasts!

Personal faces and lives. Stereotyping and marginalizing “the other” is easy when we keep them distant, amorphous, and unknown. It makes the threat so much more convenient to hold. THEM verses US. So twentieth century.

I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, and I think we ought to codify that one way or another.

George W. Bush

George, let’s get our priorities straight. Leave the lawyers, the courts, and Constitutional amendments out of this. If you want to focus on family values, figure out a way of preventing our children from paying for your trillion dollar deficit.

My gay and lesbian friends are in strong and committed relationships. Many are parents who provide their children with loving and centered homes. These are the same family values the Right fights for —something all of us work hard at. Loving and stable families.

My friends David and Les are one hell of a stable family. And they are so ordinary. Extraordinarily so.

I raise a glass of champagne in a toast to you two. Say, where are you registered? A wedding gift is long overdue.

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