This next post is on a topic that makes me slightly hysterical, which is why I have hesitated to write about it. Massequality is the coalition group that is working to keep same sex marriage legal in Massachusetts. Getting involved with Massequality has meant doing a lot of things that I am not really comfortable with. I am a very shy person, and I stood outside the polling places during the Presidential election and asked people to sign petitions in support of us. And they didn’t send me to a friendly poll place in gay JP either. I have also been asked to talk to friends, families and co-workers about this issue. I have called, emailed and discussed this with just about everyone. (My current employer excluded. People don’t really “talk” here). I worry that my friends are getting a little tired of hearing from me about this issue.
But I want to direct everyone’s attention the blog, Pieces of Gray. This story breaks my heart. It involves love gone wrong, a child, late breaking conversions to Christianity, and the courts.
Cheryl Barlow and Keri Jones who lived in Utah, traveled to Vermont to enter into a civil union and traveled back to live in Utah. Please note that the rights and responsibilities of civil unions do not “travel” outside of Vermont. They had a little girl together. Cheryl Barlow was the bio mom. The relationship later ended, and Barlow converted to Christianity and renounced homosexuality. She refused joint custody with Jones. Keri Jones then embarked on an incredibly expensive and emotional journey through the Utah courts to try and gain visitation rights. In the end, the Utah courts declared her a legal stranger, and she has no contact with her daughter.
I do not know this family, but to say that I feel for Keri Jones doesn’t cover it. I ache for her. I can’t imagine anything worse than losing your child. And I have seen this very situation before. Life is difficult. People let each other down. But because of bigotry, gay families do not have the same access to the courts that straight families have.
So I continue to harass my friends, and my legislators. Because I want the abuse to stop. Because we are citizens, and we deserve the same rights as everyone else. Because I can imagine a different life for gay families.
BTW – I had asked a friend of mine who is a member of the clergy to call her state reps. I was a little embarrassed, and said, I hope I am not being annoying. And she said, “If you want to change things, you are going to have to be annoying.” So buck up baby! She didn’t say that last part, I added it in, but she was right.