It's all about the love, baby.

On Friday, New York city became the most populous state to legalize same-sex marriage. It joins Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and DC.

I was elated when I heard. I logged into Twitter, because Twitter comes alive when the world shifts like this, and the sense of connection isn’t restricted by geography or life circumstance. As I expected it would be, my Twitter stream was full of celebration – grateful, giddy, brash and more hopeful than I’d seen it in a long time. People who have been fighting this battle for years were overwhelmed, their tweets so poignant, so heartfelt and raw, I wanted to read them all night long.

At one point, someone I adore sent me this: @jclementwall, can you believe what NY just did to be part of your magnificent love project?! Sending big smiles, hugs, and love your way. And that’s when I knew I had to post about it. Today. Because this is real love, in the real world, and no matter what else gets pulled into the discussion – politics, religion, fear, prejudice, gay rights, human rights – for me, it all comes down to love. People in love wanting to get married. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

On Friday night, running like a current beneath my sense of jubilation, there was something else. A familiar frustration, an anger. At the risk of pissing people off here, I don’t think gay marriage is something that should be voted on or debated. I think acting as though there are two sides on this issue is like debating whether blondes should be able to marry, or tall people, or senior citizens. I’m embarrassed by my state’s record on gay marriage, embarrassed by Prop 8.

What happened in New York gives me hope that someday it will seem crazy that we had to think about this, that we had to “evolve” our positions. On Friday night, in a conversation with the amazingly wise and wonderful Hippiechick, she said, “It’s all about the love, baby.”

Yes it is. And right now, man oh man do I love New York.


I know it’s graffiti love month! Here’s what I drew while waiting for the decision in New York.



  1. Ralph on June 26, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    It’s up to you, New York, New York.

    • j on June 26, 2011 at 9:23 pm

      Click. JCW LOVES this. 😉

  2. Lisa Kilian on June 26, 2011 at 9:22 pm


    And I love you.

    And yes, it does surprise me to see others reject love that is so readily available, even if it’s not the love they were expecting.

    I love you for all you do and who you are. And I love my old roommate. Because when we both get married, I’m going to have a best man and he’s going to have a maid of honor and that’s really what should happen considering everything we’ve been through together.


    • j on June 26, 2011 at 9:27 pm

      Love you back, beautiful woman!

      I love that he’ll have a maid of honor and you’ll have a best man. Perfect.

  3. Joanne Ludlow Firth on June 26, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Hi Judy, I’m sorry I missed a whole week of ZS, catching up now. I’m with you celebrating NY. What you wrote chimes with something I posted as a comment on facebook today. Very simply, people who want to marry, should be able to marry. Love is blind to everything except love. Why any human being should feel the need to dispute that, is beyond me. Now let’s eat some wedding cake! Great post.

    • j on June 27, 2011 at 8:06 am

      “Now lets eat some wedding cake!” Yes. BIG smile.

  4. Joanne Ludlow Firth on June 26, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    Oh, the grafitti is awesome!

    • j on June 27, 2011 at 8:06 am

      I need to move all the graffiti art over to the scenes page, but yes, I agree. WOW!

  5. careymjones on June 26, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    I also have that current beneath my joy — how perfectly you expressed the feeling. I connect with what you wrote so much. Can you share just one of the messages (tweets) you saw that moved you?

    Since I was a teen I’ve felt intensely about how the ‘majority’ responds to anyone who does not fit into what they believe is ‘right’ or acceptable, often shaming others. I will always remember the young people I read about who were just experiencing feelings and thoughts who ultimately took their own lives. Worst of all, many of the judgements were coming in the name of someone who was/is meant to represent the ultimate Love.

    The way this particular issue has manifested in my life is interesting. I would be very happy to see Steve marry his partner, but still I know many tears would fall from my eyes (happy and sad) — I have to admit that and I find it hard to explain.

    I’m sure there are many that will protest this advancement of our society, but I am extremely grateful that we have progressed to this point.

    • j on June 27, 2011 at 8:13 am

      I’m sorry that I didn’t write down the tweets, and Twitter (even more than FB) scrolls so I can’t get them now. They were about feeling recognized and accepted, a dream being realized, a hope given up on long ago now reignited. I think what touched me is they were so personal. It made me realize (again) that this isn’t a political fight, it’s a human one.

      I think you are in a unique position, despite the hurt, to recognize that being gay is not a life choice (except in the sense that you can live the truth or you can live a lie). I totally understand how confused your emotional response would be… which makes you all the more beautiful in my book. xo

  6. jb on June 27, 2011 at 12:33 am

    I am also embarrassed by our so-called-liberal-progressive state of California. And extremely grateful that other states are moving ahead and not waiting for us. Obviously, California isn’t going to be a leader on this one – but I sure hope it follows and soon.

    Someday, people will look back on this time with the same shame and disbelief that are now shown for slavery and women not being allowed to vote. Someday can not come soon enough.

    People are people. Love is love. It’s pretty simple, really.

    • j on June 27, 2011 at 8:16 am

      I’m more often than not so proud of California, particularly the Bay Area, but on this issue, we are behind. What I’m hoping is that New York inspires people to fight this battle everywhere else.

      “People are people. Love is love. It’s pretty simple, really.” Hear, hear.

  7. Michael on June 27, 2011 at 1:39 am

    “I don’t think gay marriage is something that should be voted on or debated. I think acting as though there are two sides on this issue is like debating whether blondes should be able to marry, or tall people, or senior citizens.”

    Yes. Yay… huge, massive, ebullient YAY, and, what has taken/is taking us so long?

    • j on June 27, 2011 at 8:19 am

      On this matter (among others) Canada has got it right, yes?

  8. Estrella Azul on June 27, 2011 at 3:48 am

    Love shouldn’t be voted and debated on. period. 🙂
    As always, I love your post so much, j.
    It really is all about the love!

    • j on June 27, 2011 at 8:20 am

      Thank you, Estrella. I’m so impressed with the response here. I sometimes wish someone I respect would come explain to me the other point of view, but maybe ZS is not where that can happen.

  9. Lance on June 27, 2011 at 5:55 am

    *striding atop my soapbox*

    In 25 years, thus another generation, society will look back at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st and rcoil in disgust at anyone being against same sex marriage. Why does it matter to people who aren’t gay what people who are gay want for their happiness?

    *stepping down from said soapbox*

    I have family there and I was almost born in the state. Yeah, right now, I Love New York too.

    • j on June 27, 2011 at 8:21 am

      I always get nervous when there are soap boxes that aren’t mine involved in a discussion. But that little soapbox speech was AWESOME. Thank you.

  10. lunaJune on June 27, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Love… we all need it… we all thrive on it…and truly
    we can’t be without it…. we need each other.. . hell we can’t even
    scratch our backs ourselves …
    here’s to love in all it’s wonderful forms….
    and love, no matter it shape, wanting to marry & take care of each other, that is a no brainer ! Yeah New York !!

    • j on June 27, 2011 at 8:22 am

      I love how your comment centers on love and taking care of each other. The world could use a whole lot more of that, in or outside of marriage. xo

  11. Kellie J. Walker (@YourLifeInGear) on June 27, 2011 at 7:45 am

    First and foremost, j, I totally agree with you.

    Second, I feel compelled to share some thoughts that may help people understand WHY this is a topic we vote on in this country – not the legal reasons, but the political reasons. My hope is that by understanding how we got here, we might have a better chance of changing things.

    If memory serves, marriage licenses have their beginnings in racism. The Southern states created them so they could keep blacks and whites from intermarrying. The main reason, in my opinion, that marriage licenses have stuck around all these years is money. I’ll elaborate. In no particular order:

    One, the State and Local governments make a lot of money from marriage licenses. So, even though we no longer need them for their original purpose, the government has no incentive to get rid of them.

    Two, income taxes were introduced in 1913. From that point forward, the Federal government also had a vested interest in who married whom and who got what tax credit for marital status, number of children, etc.

    Three, the Federal government’s interest deepened when Social Security came about. It then had another reason to be interested in and control who married whom.

    Four, during WWII, the Federal government legislated nation-wide price controls which I *think* lead to wage freezes. You can’t pay employees more if you can’t charge more for your goods & services. Wage & price controls were also instituted in 1971 in an attempt to control inflation. Businesses needed to continue attracting employees, so they started offering ‘benefits’ – paying for health care, etc. At that time, the private sector developed a vested interest in the government continuing to control who married whom.

    I’m sure there are other things – military pensions, union pensions, maybe Medicaid and/or Medicare – that may create similar monetary interests in limiting the number of recognized marital partners.

    What does all of this have to do with the political battles being waged about gay marriage? In my opinion, the politicians and the private sector lobbies know full well that their monetary interests are damaged by increasing the number of recognized marriages in this country and their respective States & localities. They can’t very well tell their constituents that they won’t legalize gay marriage because it will give them less money to play with. So, they start ringing the Religion bell & the Family Protection bell & the Morality bell. They know the masses will respond. They know it will create a divide in our society. That keeps us distracted and fighting each other on an issue that should be a non-issue.

    In my opinion, a marriage contract should be treated like every other contract. If you’re legally qualified to enter into a contract – like buying a car or a house – you should be allowed to enter into a marriage contract. If you want to marry the same gender, go for it. If 10 people want to be married and all are legally qualified to enter a contract, go for it. If you want your church, assuming you have one, to also recognize the marriage, have a religious ceremony after the legal one. This pulls the government out of the issue – so no voting. And, it pulls the religious factor out of the issue – separation of Church & State.

    Someone recently asked me why so many European countries don’t have the monetary issue. I believe it’s because most of them already have universal healthcare and tons of government subsidies. Their governments don’t care if you get married because they are paying for you whether you’re married or not.

    In closing, I’ll reiterate again that I totally agree with you, j. I celebrate each an every time the rights of ALL of our citizens are recognized, exercised and defended.

    Love, hugs & sparkles!

    • j on June 27, 2011 at 8:27 am

      Thank you for for this, Kellie! Now I have a list of things to look up on Google!

      While you may be right about how this has entered into the political arena, I don’t think this explains individual fears and objections. I suppose for some people it is totally religious, based on a belief that God objects. But for people who say that in some way same-sex marriage threatens the institution… well, THOSE are the people I’d like to hear explain themselves.

    • jb on June 27, 2011 at 8:57 pm

      Kellie – What an awesome and informational reply; thank you! Funny (that very sad kind of funny) how we never learn about this in school, eh? I’ve often believed that it was primarily a money issue (ie, paying benefits) but that since married people pay more taxes than single people, I thought it might be a wash. Guess not. Yet another reason for healthcare for all. 🙂

      Of course the other reason politicians speak out against same sex marriage is that they are trying to stay in favor with the (perceived) “majority” so they can get elected/re-elected. Once the tide turns, it will be interesting to see how many politicians are suddenly supportive of same-sex marriage. Just imagine how many problems would be solved If we could remove the “popularity contest” from politics…

    • Kellie J. Walker (@YourLifeInGear) on June 28, 2011 at 9:53 am

      Aw! Thanks, jb. Glad you liked it.

      I totally agree that it’s (the sad kind of) funny that we don’t learn about how the world really works in school. I think some states have a better tax rate for married folks than they do for singles, and some are the other way around. Either way, the money seems to be the root of it (or at least one root of it).

      I also think you’re absolutely right re: politicians caring more about getting re-elected than they do about doing what’s right. That’s where term limits would help quite a bit. If they don’t have the option to be in office for more than one or two terms, that motivation is removed. Popularity contest = null. 🙂

  12. Kellie J. Walker (@YourLifeInGear) on June 27, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Google away, dear j! 🙂

    I agree that it doesn’t explain the individual fears & objections. The only explanation I have for those at this point is the same as for other bigotries – ignorance.

    We’ll have to continue to educate, advocate and legislate – like we have for the other bigotries we’ve fought against.

    But, what could be more worthy to fight for than love. 🙂

  13. Annie Neugebauer on June 27, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Love this, Judy! It’s nice to read what I’ve been thinking. I, too, am embarrassed by my state’s record with this. It seems so obvious to me that someday people will look back on this “issue” like we do now with the historical “issue” of different races not being allowed to marry each other, and they’ll think, “So, why was this even debatable?” But New York has taken another step in the right direction, and we can only hope that eventually the rest of the country will follow the first few states. Thanks for this. Love, love, and more love. =)

    • j on June 28, 2011 at 9:43 am

      I agree. The tide of public opinion is definitely changing. I have high hopes. (And thank you!) xo

  14. hippiechick on June 27, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    A blog post named after my comment. Cool beans!

    Nice blogpost. I must say, as a gay woman, I did have mixed feelings about all this. It was very difficult, especially in the days leading up to the vote, to hear the debate about my rights. People believe, and say, the most inhumane things. It is not pleasant. Typically, I am the type to focus on the be patient…and earnest. But this time it got to me. By Monday night I was angry. Angry that I, and others like me, are seen as less than or, even more so, as evil (or what not). It has been (and continues to be) so a long fight. In the end, the right thing was done and I seek solace in, and celebrate, that.

    My hope is that we can build on this and continue to do the right thing…over and over and over again. ‘Cause you know….

    It IS all about the love, baby.

    • jb on June 27, 2011 at 8:59 pm

      Hugs & Hallelujah! 😀

    • j on June 28, 2011 at 9:54 am

      Indeed it is. And yes, it’s the debate that is infuriating to me, the weirdness of it… that some love or some people don’t count, or don’t count as much. It definitely harkens back to a terrible time in our history.

      I am feeling celebratory too. I just felt like I needed a WTF moment too. 😉

  15. Jeffrey Bennett on June 27, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    As slowly as the world moves, I find myself most content when I move slowly too. It’s one thing to say that the world hasn’t caught up yet to the needs of the race. It’s another thing entirely to push the river.

    There will always be issues. There will forever be things that press up against our humanity, say to us, “Isn’t it about time that X had the rights they’ve always deserved?” It will almost always be true.

    However, this impatience is unhealthy.
    It only takes a moment to remember that we haven’t been
    a country very long, that we haven’t been human all that long.

    That our planet isn’t that old. We’ve already been to the moon.
    To Mercury. We take stereo images of the sun.
    I’m happy for all the lovers who get to marry now.

    I’m so pleased with New York. As a human I’m pleased.
    Anything that moves for bringing lovers together is a
    boon and a step in the right direction.

    Makes meaning in love.
    Brings love to a focus, makes it accessible.
    Like that lovely flower Chad put on the lawn.

    He must be familiar with the shape
    of hearts. That is a fine specimen.
    Time well invested. Love.

    • j on June 28, 2011 at 9:59 am

      We may have to agree to disagree on patience. I don’t believe it’s unhealthy. I believe something so clearly wrong should be righted and those of us with clearer vision need to make noise, need to be impatient, need to agitate for change. You’re right that change is slow, but it is often brought about by the most impatient and fiercely determined among us.

      As for Chad’s heart, I had attempted one involving spray paint and the lawn mower and smallish patch of sun. To say it was unsuccessful does not give my failure its due. He was attempting to redeem the idea. (Though I will probably post a picture of my orange spray painted heart at some point.)

  16. winsomebella on June 28, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Good post that started a lovely dialogue. As you say, nice to connect without regard to geography and circumstances. Thanks.

    • j on June 30, 2011 at 11:06 pm

      Thank you back. It’s one unarguably wonderful thing about the mysterious interwebs.

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