“Don’t take it so personally”

Our families are passionate about California’s Proposition 8; for
us, it’s very personal. We’re trying to do what any family would do
in this situation: to defend ourselves while under attack. And
sometimes those passions are too much to contain.

Here’s an excerpt from a story at one of our favorite blogs,
Daddy, Papa and Me:

“Don’t take it so personally.”

That is what a man said to me the other day. He, and what
looked like his teenage son, were passing out flyers and wearing
t-shirts that declared “one man + one woman = marriage” in
front of the grocery store in the Sunset district of San Francisco.
He was working for the California constitutional amendment that
would take away the rights and protections of my family. My
6-year-old daughter was at soccer practice, so I thought I’d get
in some grocery shopping done during the time. As I was pushing my
cart out the door, the man approached me. At first I just put up my
hand, looked away and say “No!”

But as I got to my car and unloaded the groceries, I began to
fume. We have a marriage planned in two weeks, a daughter in first
grade and a second one about to come into our family. It hit me
that this wasn’t a nebulous political battle that had an indirect
effect on my family. No, this was a specific and direct affront and
attack on my family. It would have an extremely negative impact on
me, my husband and, this is where I started to get really angry,
our children. My ‘papa-protection’ mode started to fire me

So, as I returned the cart to the store, I passed the man again
and again he tried to get me to take a flyer. This time I didn’t
just put my hand up. I looked him in the eyes and said, in a firm
tone “This is an attack on my family. What you are doing is an
attack on me.”

His response, “Don’t take it so personally,” set me

“Don’t take it personally?! Don’t take it PERSONALLY?!”
I nearly yelled back, “This amendment you are pushing will strip
the rights and protections of MY family, how can I not take that

He answered feebly that “Well, gay marriage will hurt my
family.” I was now in complete fury mode, trying hard to keep
from yelling in anger at a man I did not know. “HOW?!?” I
nearly screamed, “How in the hell do MY marriage and protecting
MY children hurt YOUR family? Give me one, just one, example!
ONE!” By this time, a half dozen shoppers were standing and
watching, most nodding in agreement with my words.

He couldn’t or wouldn’t answer. Well, he can’t. There is
no answer, because my rights are not a zero sum game, they don’t
destroy his. I then began to animatedly and a bit loudly tick off a
half dozen ways his precious discriminatory amendment would strip
my family of the rights and protections it deserves and needs. I
continued and reiterated that he and his amendment were a direct
and personal attack on my family. I concluded with “You and yours
are doing a bigoted and hateful thing! I hope someday before your
judgment, you realize that!”

I felt a bit bad, his teenage son at this point looked like he
was about to cry and that was not my purpose. But, after returning
and watching the last of my daughter in soccer practice, I decided
I didn’t feel remorse at all. He, and every person working for
this amendment, needs to understand this is an assault on our
families and our children.