Tuesday, March 26, 2013

It's Like a Movie In My Head That Plays and Plays...

What more is there to add to this conversation as the Prop 8 and DOMA cases are heard before the Supreme Court? The arguments for marriage equality have been made and found overwhelmingly convincing. The arguments against have been exposed as the specious straw men they are. Opinion polls indicate, with percentages that cannot be interpreted any other way, that the public supports the issue. Those who don’t--frankly--will be dead before their grandchildren have to worry about who they can or cannot wed.

I don’t have a prediction about how this week’s cases will be decided. I’m not pessimistic about it, but neither am I sanguine that the issue will be resolved by these two cases and this current court. Whatever way the judgments come down, though, even the naysayers would have to agree that the issue is essentially behind us and the only variable is “when.” For such an important matter, the knowledge of this inevitability leaves the whole thing strangely not a nail-biter.  

The aspect of this week's activity that impresses me the most is how far this issue has progressed in so little time. The only thing comparable that I can think of is when Hungary opened its border in 1989 and every day thereafter the New York Times had a front page story that soon culminated in the Berlin Wall toppling.

Bruce and I registered as domestic partners in New York City in 1993 (on the second day!) but, honestly, I don’t recall that we ever--even in jest--talked about getting married, or that one day we might be able to. And that was a mere twenty years ago.

This anecdote should illustrate the extent of the seismic societal change we’re going through: over the weekend I was at my folks’ house and Mom and I got into a conversation about marriage. There are 10 cousins in my generation. Except for me, all of them got married, but almost all were divorced (at least once. Hah!) Just three extant couples remain. Without, I think, even fully realizing what she was saying, Mom offered, “and of course you guys would have made four.”

When the case was being argued this morning before the Supreme Court, I was at the gym (what a surprise!) where everyone was going about their business. I looked around and marveled that no one there seemed aware that what may turn out to be one of the Court’s most historic cases was being argued as we all lifted weights. I thought about other momentous cases of the past and realized life was carrying on as normal on those days as well. It’s only looking back that we condense the events into, well, drama.

I started to think what the movie version of this week might look like. 

Perhaps... (dreamy harp glissando, into:)

Fade in on...

A bedroom alarm clock sounding. Dad #1’s hand reaches into frame and hits the snooze button as the opening chords of Crosby, Stills, Nash’s “Our House” begin to play. The camera dollys out to the kitchen where Dad #2, wearing an apron, is packing a lunch and placing sugar cookies decorated with the red/pink HRC logo into a white box. Dad #1 comes into the kitchen, straightens his tie, kisses Dad #1, grabs a cookie and heads out the door, warranting an affectionate scowl from Dad #1. A little girl carrying an oversize picture frame skips into the kitchen, hugs Dad #1, takes the lunch bag and the box of cookies and runs out to the school bus. The bus pulls off as the driver waves to Dad #1 on the front porch smiling and wiping his hands on his apron.

Dissolve to a school room where a bunch of Second Graders eat the cookies while the little girl stands in front of the room using the picture of her and her Dads for show-and-tell. “FAMILY” is written on the chalkboard behind her. The teacher beams.

Quick cuts of...

Three guys in a gym (I’ll play one of them) pausing in their workout to check their Twitter feed for SCOTUS updates...

A sweet old lady in a hairnet working in a bakery kitchen unpacking boxes of 2-brides and 2-grooms figurines and placing them on a shelf alongside the bride/groom figurines...

A teenage goth chick barista decorating a latte foam with interlocking rings and handing it across the counter to a cheerleader-type girl. They both blush...

Dissolve to...

c/u of Ted Olson standing at podium inside the Supreme Court. The camera pulls back to show a packed courtroom and then dollys around to show the nine Justices sitting on the bench. (Note to casting: Hanks as Justice Roberts???) The camera swoops up and behind the justices and over-the-shoulders Scalia to show his note pad. Two male stick figures are on it and we see him draw a Ghostbusters “NO” symbol over them.  

The camera then flies through the courtroom and out the front door of the Supreme Court building where we see crowds demonstrating on both sides of the case. The camera, mounted on the bottom of a helicopter, ascends up into the clouds.

The clouds rearrange themselves to form the words “Three Months Later” and then dissolve into wisps and fly out of the frame, revealing an overhead view of the National Mall, where crowds of people are gathered celebrating the announcement that marriage equality has been affirmed by the court. 

We cut to a Steadicam® shot that zips in and out and through the crowd showing the diversity and jubilation of the people. The camera races up the hill toward the Washington Monument and lands on two elderly men in wheelchairs holding each others’ hands and American flags and surrounded by their children and grandchildren, all of them laughing and crying at the same time.

There’s a freeze frame of this image over which “The End” is superimposed.

The camera then pulls back to reveal we’ve actually been watching this on a television in a suburban living room. The channel changes abruptly to the Barney Show on PBS and the camera turns 180 degrees to show two moms asleep together on the couch. A small boy sits on the lap of one of the moms, wielding the TV remote. The camera tracks in closer and closer on the laughing face of the little boy as he watches the purple dinosaur. 

The camera then pans down to the intertwined hands of the two moms, each with a gold band on their ring finger. We hold on this image, lit only by the flickering TV, and we...

Fade to black as “Our House” comes to a close.

Ooh! I can’t wait to hear what Robert Osborne has to say about this movie!

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