Thursday, November 13, 2008

"That Old House"

Andrew Sullivan on the truth behind the contrivances of the gay marriage debate. It's the truth that makes even the well-meaning late night gay marriage jokes (why would they want to join the misery?) feel empty and stupid.

But there's one room at the very top of the house that has always been forbidden, and the more lee-way you are given elsewhere, the more stringently that rule is enforced. In the end, they say, "You can go anywhere and do anything - apart from that room." And you accept this, because they seem so intent on it. And you love them. But you keep wondering: why that room? What is up there? What am I not allowed to experience or to see?

And one day, you get up your courage and you wait till the adults are out and you gingerly make your way to that room you have never been in before.

And you go in, and look around, with some awe and burning curiosity. And you look in the cupboards and the drawers and under the chairs, and finally you find, in one dusty old desk, what they never wanted you to find.

You find the legal papers, the deed, that proves that they own the house. And you don't. However long you live, whatever you do, however you conduct yourself, this house will never be yours. You can live in it - with their permission, and under their authority. It is your home, because where else were you born and where else would you live - but only to rent, never to own. It is your family, but you are always kept one critical step away from being fully part of it. There is one fine line you will never be allowed to cross.