As some of you probably know, Proposition 8 is about to be overseen by the Supreme Court of the United States and judged as to whether it is in violation of the constitution. To help out the pro-equality side, Ellen DeGeneres filed a brief to SCOTUS to put a human face on gay marriage, and it might, surprisingly, be one of the most potent, secret tools to change people’s minds.
California’s Proposition 8 is headed to the Supreme Court. Hundreds of companies and families as well as Republicans are submitting briefs, urging the nine judges to allow gay people to marry. I thought that was ridiculous. Why would judges want all of that underwear? Then, after a quick talk with some people, I found out what a brief was.
I’ve never filed a brief to the Supreme Court, so I thought I would post mine here. I’m sure someone will tweet it to them.
Portia and I have been married for four years and they have been the happiest of my life. And in those four years, I don’t think we hurt anyone else’s marriage. I asked all of my neighbors and they say they’re fine.
But even though Portia and I got married in the short period of time when it was legal in California, there are 1,138 federal rights for married couples that we don’t have, including some that protect married people from losing their homes, or their savings or custody of their children.
The truth is, Portia and I aren’t as different from you as you might think. We’re just trying to find happiness in the bodies and minds we were given, like everyone else.
Admittedly, Ellen’s appeal focuses less on legalese and more on levity, creating a lighthearted and accessible point of view. But here’s the thing: she is probably one of our greatest weapons in the fight for equality. We need to weaponize Ellen DeGeneres. (Well, maybe “weaponize” isn’t the best term. What’s the polar opposite of a weapon? Because that’s what Ellen is: she’s a cute-bomb. She is a bomb made of cute.)
You know who loves Ellen? Damn near everyone. Midwest housewives love her. Old people love her. Little kids love her. Military men love her. Presidents and celebrities and athletes all goddamn love her. People who literally cannot feel love still love her. Ellen is probably one of the most likeable people in the public eye, and she’s on our team.
I’m not going to say that Ellen does for us what someone like Dan Savage can. Activists like Dan Savage encourage us to know more about our history, stand in solidarity with each other and be open and honest about who we are. Dan encourages us to be better queer folk; Ellen encourages other people to be open and accepting of queer folk. They’re essentially two sides of the same pro-gay coin.
If we need Dan Savage to retain that counter-cultureness that pisses off the uptights, we also need to balance our drive for social change with levity. We need Ellen to balance the equation because she’s just impossibly likeable. No one can say no to a funny lesbian in Converse All Stars.