Friday, September 4, 2009

"Sinead's Hand": Marriage Equality in Ireland video

The Irish Campaign for Marriage Equality did what anti-Prop. 8 forces could not in my home state. They humanized gay marriage rights. In a 1:45 video clip. I've already seen it posted on one blog and Facebook today; it's over 60,000 hits on YouTube. "Sinead's Hand"

My initial confusion was that the title evokes the one woman in Ireland whose name stands for a fluid sexuality: Sinéad O'Connor. When I saw this video promoted, I figured she was blathering on about her bisexuality. Nothing against her. Still, the choice of this common Irish name does strike me ambiguously. Intentionally selected?

We hope to be returning next month up North to celebrate our two dear friends who married in the window of opportunity last autumn the month before Prop. 8--restricting again marriages to those Californians of the opposite sexes-- was narrowly but decisively passed. I could not attend then their hitching at the Justice of the Peace complete with a childcare booklet as I had to work, but I do look forward to my journey to their little cabin, now tastefully expanded in Mission Craft style that attests to its century-old status in the woods, as always. They are our sons' role models and our own too. Even if their dogs misbehave more than those at home. And even if at least one's still a Deadhead.

One grew up full of shame at his sexuality; although his Christianity differed from my childhood version, I share the memory of torment over my body and my lack of power to express what I longed to hold to complete myself. Today, we still face in our legal codes this atavistic fear of embraces, this perennial Iron Age-codified fear of pollution. Why do we keep demanding that the state meddle in what's been long the role of the clergy? In our secular age with most of us living in sin and not needing blood tests, this withholding of decent recognition of love and commitment curdles me.

Perhaps open marriage, as my spouse has written about as fittingly given her prison fixation and our domestic wedlock in forged bonds of matrimony as a "Life Sentence" will be the next frontier? We wonder if re-defining lifelong relationships as beyond the clasp of only one couple will signal another change in the near future, as maturity enables people confidently in love to extend bounds for intimacy rather than be confined by boundaries of property. How will families be changed by-- no longer ESL mistakes-- "his husband" and "my mothers"; spouses referring to "her wife" and "their lover"? The fact that my wife confesses knowing people in her close circle of friends who allow for such freedom makes me wonder about another bedroom closet whose doors may be slowly opening.

By such nudges, Irish and American mores evolve despite the cold grip of a clerisy whose passing raises both nostalgia and relief in me. We hear a lot more over there rather than even here among the chattering NPR-organic classes about "partners" in an Ireland that but two decades ago when we met was far more Catholic than it is today. Now, same-sex marriage nears acceptance there before it may here, when divorce was but made legal barely a decade back. In truth, as slavery, pillories, and child labor vanished, so may such denominational prejudice and ignorant churlishness. My son not yet fourteen posts a "joke" quiz yesterday on his Facebook that announces to all his favorite position: doggy style. I eschew comment.

Miscegnation now's but a stumper for spelling bees. I hear women can even drive in most countries now, or talk back to husbands without fear of being hit by a man's stick wider than a toothbrush twig. Which reminds me of an Irish-language term for penis, "slat fhearga" or "angry [or "virile" I admit more closely] stick." But I dangerously digress into telling word-associations as any analyst may aver; Freud sighed that Irish were the only race immune to brandishments of the talking cure.

Is maith liom ag cloisteáil mír leis scannánín seo as Gaeilge fós. Maith agaibh, fír agus mna na h-Éireann. Tá súil againn go mbeadh ag bualaidh amarách ansiúd. Measaim go mbeidh bua nua eile ina dhiadh sin anseo chomh maith.
(Literally in my bog-Gaelic: It pleases me to hear a bit of this little film in Irish too. Good for you all, men and women of Ireland. We have an expectation that there may be a victory in the future over there. I reckon that it'll be another new triumph soon here as well.)

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