“It’s not that I can’t live without you
It’s just that I don’t even want to try”
“Back to Your Heart” by Backstreet Boys
Happy (legal) anniversary to my husband! We have been married for four years. He hasn’t run away yet! 😉
Yesterday on my Facebook page, I posted this editorial in regards to Marriage Equality. It resulted in a friend unfriending me. I don’t hold it against her; she was very graceful about it. Bigot is defined as someone who is intolerant of other ideas because of their own ideas. I can see how the word is inflammatory and hurtful. Sometimes, the truth hurts.
But, how do the people who know my history, think I would believe differently?
I grew up in a Muslim household and knew growing up that my only option was to marry a Muslim man. How hard could that be with over 1.6 billion Muslims in the world? When I grew up and fell in love with a non Muslim man, I realized it wasn’t that simple. It wasn’t about who was available or what was moral, but what my heart wanted. Your heart knows when you are compatible in ways that matter, when you complement and support each other, and that you understand each other in a way no one else does. Not about desire or physical attraction, but rather a soul deep connection. Hey I tried to move on, but my heart had made her choice.
Neither of our families were happy. His was better. They were against it for various reasons, including religious. His mom even suggested he, “not get married, just live with me.” But they eventually supported his decision and their relationship is rebuilding. My family was, and still is, against it. They tried to not only prevent me from marrying my husband, but also tried to prevent my younger sister from this “dangerous path.” My father sent out e-mails and dragged other people into the conflict, in order to make me look bad. He told people that supporting my marriage and going to my wedding was a sin because, “Muslim women cannot marry non Muslim men.” Not only did my parents not come to my wedding, nor did a bunch of other people. Some of my parents’ friends wanted to support them, others because they agreed with his philosophy. My relationship with my parents were over. And, It spilled over to my sisters. One sister chose to side with my parents, and the other chose me. The one that chose my parents, joined in to control my youngest sister. They tried to prevent her from participating in my wedding planning. They watched who she spoke to, and kept her under lock and key. Literally. They locked her bedroom door at night so she wouldn’t run away.
All because they felt my marriage was sinful. Sound familiar?
I swallowed and took what people threw at me, from the empty concern to the blatant, “you are not Muslim. I’m not coming to your so called wedding.” Relatives and friends I was close to reduced their contact with me to polite interactions. People lied about why they couldn’t come to my wedding, thinking that was the better than owning up to their own beliefs. I hurt when people said, “I support your choice even though I think your marriage is immoral and wrong”. My heart constricted when my marriage is referred to as “illegitimate.”Abandonment hurts, and in combination with other difficult situations in my life, I fell into a deep depression. I didn’t get out of bed on most days and contemplated suicide on several occasions. While I dragged myself through grad school and planned a 250 people wedding from 800 miles away.
But I was lucky. I also had a terrific support system. My husband. My youngest sister. Extended family. Friends. People who stood by me, helped me put on a fabulous wedding, and kept me together. After our wedding, I learned the true meaning of love. Of Family. Of friends. It’s not based on blood or morality. It all goes back to the heart.
And, I have legal protection.
So, yes. I think you are acting bigoted if you are against marriage equality. Why would I think otherwise? Sure, you have the freedom of speech, the right to your feelings and opinions. You have the right to vote according to your morality. Having that right doesn’t change definitions of the term “bigot”. It doesn’t change how your righteousness suppress other people’s lives. It is our right to have the love that our heart chose for us, and the legal protections associated with it. It doesn’t matter if the marriage is between two Christian men, two Atheist women, or a Muslim girl and a Christian man.
Regardless of anyone’s morals, I have been married for four years to a man who exemplifies love, kindness, and tolerance. Here’s to a hundred more!