by Dan Savage
on Tue, Feb 26, 2013 at 2:26 PM
Andrew Sullivan reacts to the amici brief signed by 75 prominent Republicans in a very moving post at The Dish. If you've ever wondered why he feels so passionately about marriage rights for same-sex couples...
But I never stopped making the conservative case for marriage equality for the simple reason I believed in it. I never thought it would happen to me, but I knew it would have protected so many of my friends who didn’t have to just die agonizing deaths from AIDS but did so stigmatized and alone, their spouses treated often like dirt, their loves publicly repudiated, their dignity grotesquely violated. This was, I believed, a matter of core humanity. It became for me the defining cause of my life.
A friend recalled visiting a man dying of AIDS at the time. A former massive bodybuilder, he had shrunk to 90 pounds. "Do I look big?" he asked, with mordant humor. In the next bed, surrounded by curtains, my friend heard someone singing a pop song quietly to himself. My friend joked: “Well not everyone here is depressed!” Then this from his dying, now skeletal friend: “Oh, that’s not him. He died this morning. That’s his partner. That was their song, apparently. The family took the body away, threw that guy out of the apartment he shared with his partner, and barred him from the funeral. He’s stayed there all day, singing their song. I guess it’s the last place he’ll ever see where his partner actually was. His face is pressed against the pillow. The nurses don’t have the heart to tell him to leave.”
You want to know why this became a life-long struggle? You have your answer.
...yeah, you have your answer.
The freedom to choose your next-of-kin—the right to say this person is my nearest and for your choice to be given the force of law—is an important right for all adults, but it's an absolutely crucial right for LGBT people. So many of us have family members who are homophobic and hostile. To have to live in fear of a parent or a sibling or a distant cousin bursting in and brutalizing your partner after your death is too horrible to contemplate. And soon we may not have to contemplate it anymore. Fingers crossed.