Thursday, October 30, 2008

"What do they know about this love, anyway?"

"I dont care what they think
I dont care what they say
What do they know about this
Love anyway"

During the summer of '93, while still in high school, I became obsessed with Melissa Etheridge's hit song, Come to My Window. There was just something about the lyrics, written by Melissa, that captured what it meant to be young, gay and pondering (as too many teenagers are wont to do) love, the future and a yearning to reach out and grab both.

Window was, of course, one of the first songs Etheridge (pictured) released after publicly announcing that she is gay.

Between then and now, the best-selling musician has gone on to a prolific music career . . . a battle with (and victory over) cancer . . . and a family that includes two children she is raising in California, where Proposition 8 is before voters on November 4th.

Writing yesterday at The Daily Beast, Melissa shared the story of talking with her son about Prop 8, which would roll-back marriage rights in California for same-sex couples.

"When my official sample ballot for the November 4th general election arrived I was in the kitchen, where my eldest son was practicing tricks on his yo-yo," she wrote. "As I thumbed through the pamphlet I turned to page 5, state measures. There it was, right between prop 7: The Renewable Energy Generation Initiative Statute, and prop 9:The Criminal Justice System Victims’ Rights Parole Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute: Proposition 8: Eliminates Right of Same-Sex couples To Marry."

"I called my son over," she recalls. "I said 'Read this, tell me what you think.' He, being 9 years old and very proud of his reading skills, read 'Changes California Constitution to eliminate right of same sex couples to marry.' He looked at me, very matter-of-factly and said, 'Wow, that’s lame.'"

The moment inspired Etheridge to take pen to paper and denounce Proposition 8, writing at The Daily Beast that, "Prop 8 is a blatantly hateful, and fearful proposition."

And, as Etheridge points out, the initiative has a very direct impact not just on LGBT Californians, but their families, too.

"I believe in our democracy," she says. "I believe in our constitution. I believe we live in the greatest country in the world. I believe that we are as strong as our weakest link and if we deny any of our citizens the right to 'life liberty and the pursuit of happiness' then we deny it to all of us."

"I will be waking up with my children on November 5th and I will be fixing them breakfast as I usually do," Etheridge writes. "I look forward to telling them that prop 8 was defeated. I am sure my son will say, 'Good, that was lame.'"

And it is because of those families - including the children whose parents would lose critical protections and be left vulnerable under the law - that it is so critical that we beat back the right-wing extremists' campaign.

What do they know about this love, anyway?

To read the full Daily Beast op-ed by Melissa Etheridge, click here.

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