Love, Marriage, Commitment and Prop 8

BY KATHLEEN KNOWLES

My just- released novel, Forsaking All Others Forsaking All Others 300 DPIis a romance about marriage. Sort of. One of the protagonists is a marriage equality volunteer and the other is a polyamorist, commitment phobic, non -believer in marriage.  Well, I figure opposites are supposed to attract.

Given my obsession with the subject, it seemed inevitable that I would write a novel about marriage equality.  I didn’t want it to be another girl meets girl, love ensues and happily ever after, including marriage. So I picked the story of marriage equality coming briefly to California and then being yanked away by Proposition 8. The roller coaster ride of the spring, summer, and fall of 2008 is the time frame of Sylvia and Jules’s romance.

I also wanted to explore a few of the philosophical ideas around marriage equality.

In July, 2008, my partner and I married as did quite a few people we knew. One couple, our friends Kent and Joe married in October at San Francisco City Hall. At their wedding, we were the witnesses and I gave one of the toasts at their reception. Kent said he wanted their supportive but unknowledgeable relatives to hear just why their wedding was significant. So I gave a little history lesson to those assembled and at the end I talked about how important marriage is as concept and why we need the word ‘marriage’ and all that it signifies.

When you meet THE ONE and you start thinking about the future, you can now in some places think about marriage. Marriage was modeled by our parents and what we were taught, as presumed heterosexuals to expect.  Then when we turned out to be queer, marriage was supposedly off the table.

Not so fast.

In spite of being queer, many of us are conventional; I certainly am. Marriage is the epitome of conventionality.  You hear all the time, “I just want to be treated like other people.” It’s not usually” I want be like other people”. As a lesbian, I am not like a straight person but that doesn’t negate my desire to be treated with respect. Marriage is very much about respect for our relationships.

It’s remarkable that as much as the LGBT community argues and disagrees about so many things, we are relatively united on the idea of marriage. There are, naturally, dissenters but they are few and for the most part not vocal.  I wanted to air some of those opinions if only to try to counteract them. In one scene of the book, there is an argument about the need for marriage and the sexually liberated.  I don’t see marriage and sexual freedom, as embodied, for example, by polyamory as incompatible.

I ‘m not polyamorous but I wanted to treat the idea and practice of it seriously in the novel because as a lesbian, by some people’s definition, I’m a sexual  outlaw and I don’t want to judge other people in the same way.

It’s clear that marriage for gays and lesbians is both exactly like marriage for heterosexuals and completely different.  As I explained to the family members at Kent and Joe’s wedding, this isn’t something we take for granted.  We’ve longed for, thought about and fought for it like crazy for years.

In Forsaking  All Others,Forsaking All Others 300 DPI I look at the concept of choice and what that means.  To choose to commit to someone because you want to and not because it’s the expected thing is an entirely different psychological perspective. To  trust someone in spite of preconceived notions  and/or bad experiences is also a choice and it’s the one we all have to make when confronted with the possibility of love and intimacy.

 

 

17 Responses to “Love, Marriage, Commitment and Prop 8”


  1. 1 onamarae August 13, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    I can’t wait to read this book and am so glad it finally came out…sign me up for a free copy! (Or i’ll order my own!)

    Ona

    Like

  2. 2 S.A. August 13, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    Enjoyed your post; looking forward to reading the book.

    Like

  3. 3 jo August 13, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    Loved the book – thanks Jo

    Like

  4. 4 Dorinda Depp August 13, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    Wow,can’t wait for the book. have followed all the news about the marriage fight for us in articles and on tv. Truly did not expect to see all this happening in my lifetime. Had ther fun of going to Kathi and Kim’s wedding reception. one of my best memories.
    Dorinda

    Like

  5. 5 Lisa T. August 13, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    Interesting discussion of choice in your last paragraph. It’s also great that there are a growing number of places where members of our community now have the option to choose marriage.🙂

    Like

  6. 6 Beth August 13, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    Looking forward to reading your book.

    Like

  7. 7 Mister_Dangerous August 13, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    Good timing on your book. I’m looking forward to reading it.

    Like

  8. 8 kathiissermanphotos August 13, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    Thanks, Dorinda. It was fun having you celebrate with us. Maryland at the time did not have marriage equality, and KI and I debated if we should have our reception there. It’s great that MD has it now.
    While Kathleen explores the philosophical issues, the legal issues are still to be resolved.
    Since Ki is on my health plan and the IRS has yet to give guidance on the Supreme Ct ruling, the ruling is not considered a qualifying event. Therefore my taxes are still imputed. We still have a ways to go.

    Like

  9. 9 Donna MacArthur August 13, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    As one of the few who also married in 2008 in the little window of opportunity. I would love to read your book.

    Like

  10. 10 Erin Saluta August 13, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    Wow! What a combination of opposites! Sounds like a great read- thanks for sharing your insight into the writing process.

    Like

  11. 11 Carol P. August 13, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    Great blog and a great book. I can’t wait to get my signed copy in Ptown.

    Carol

    Like

  12. 12 Lee Fitzsimmons August 13, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    It is always nice to hear from another of the 18,000 couples who made the committment during that time. Can’t wait to read your book.

    Like

  13. 13 Devlyn August 13, 2013 at 9:37 PM

    Sounds like an exciting book and I am looking forward to reading it. Here in Australia, Marriage Equality is a ways off but I am convinced it will happen in my lifetime. Meanwhile we will continue to celebrate with all of the countries and states who do have Marriage Equality.

    Like

  14. 15 Sheri Campbell August 14, 2013 at 2:15 AM

    Thank you Kathleen for this thought provoking blogg. I believe marriage equality will resolve in my lifetime but also more general acceptance from the straight era. I look forward to reading your book.

    Like

  15. 16 Tamara Jones August 15, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    I’d like to get married but my state doesn’t allow it. Also, my partner’s earned federal benefits for surviving 22 years of marriage with her ex-husband. So, marriage is out the question even when it becomes legal. I can’t wait to read your new book.

    Like

  16. 17 Liz Jocano October 21, 2013 at 5:47 AM

    I just read your book. Love it.🙂
    Definitely an eye-opener for me on the Prop 8 and poly relationships.
    Oh, and… I’m not an expert in cooking chicken adobo, but I definitely want to try Perla’s chicken adobo. :p

    Like


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