I'm off to Philadelphia tonight for the wedding of friends. Nathan's a long-time friend and he hosted me during my tour last summer. Some of you may remember from my tour postings. At the time he and Maura weren't yet engaged, but prospects looked good!
Here's an another preview from Straight Into Gay America, from my visit with Nathan and Maura. WEDDING WISHES!
“Look at us. We’re the insiders,” says Maura. “Here we sit, holding each other’s hands, and you’re filming us and everything’s fine. Everyone celebrates that Nathan and I found each other. It would be a whole different situation if we were two men or two women who fell in love with each other.”
Nathan adds a story from when he was teaching in Shreveport. “The partner of one of my colleagues died of cancer. My colleague was very devoted to his partner. He stayed at the hospital at his partner’s bedside to care for him. But at the same time he provided for his partner, he had to fight a legal battle in the court to get permission to be with him, and to take care of inheritance, and to secure the right to be his primary caregiver. His partner’s parents wouldn’t accept my colleague’s presence. The conflict became a big legal issue, even though these two men had been together for seventeen years.
“God, it’s hard enough to accompany a person through a hospital stay without fighting a court battle at the same time. Heterosexual couples don’t have to worry about this. It’s tragic we add this kind of suffering to people’s lives when they’re going through life and death crises with their loved ones.”
“And then,” Maura adds, “when death does come to a heterosexual couple, the surviving partner is usually surrounded by the love and care and comfort of family. When a same-sex couple’s partner dies, we mostly don’t even acknowledge it. The surviving partner often bears the loss alone. Life in the closet ends with death in isolation.”
We talk until late. I’m hoping Maura and Nathan are the forerunners of our society a generation from now, a land where this kind of inclusivity and compassion is commonplace. When we’re finished, I get a good night’s sleep on Nathan’s basement futon. Tan takes the upstairs couch. In the morning we wake early, heading back to Lancaster for a morning of church shopping.