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Put 'er there, partner
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Put 'er there, partner
by Madeyn Arnold - SGN Contributing Writer

Wednesday, May 19, Governor Gregoire signed improved "domestic partnership" into law. Now the LGBT community has the opportunity to experience a kind of marriage; that is, we have the opportunity to become ordinary. And it's about time.

Rubber Baby Bumpers and Us
Now that we have marriage in all but name here in Washington State, I'm glad. Lover and I will now do the Domestic Partner thing now that it actually means the rights and, most of all, privileges we need: next-of-kin, survivorship, legal claims and such.

But there's an image I picked up from a book on VW upkeep - I wish I could find the author, he deserves the credit.

He didn't think much of the modern (1970!) emphasis on safer and safer "rubber baby bumpers," believing they don't decrease traffic accidents, so instead we should all "drive like we were strapped to the hoods of our cars like an Aztec sacrifice." Sounds good to me - right up to that point where I start applying it to my life.

"Registering" feels as if we're volunteering to place our names and addresses before unfriendly eyes. Strapping ourselves to our cars. I mean, surely marriage (including domestic partnership) produces a public record, and I confess this worries me. Naturally this comes from bad times, years ago.

Life As a Target
It's been natural for me to keep my Queer head low. Look at the years I've lived through. But now the laws insulate - protect - me, right? There is as much cotton batting around me as the law can provide, so it must be safe to keep my head up and proclivities plain. Otherwise I'm just a damn coward [as I've often suspected]. Why would I stop short of registering our 10-year marriage just as it's possible?

Why not drive my life absolutely exposed - presenting myself to the world? That way the world learns that at least this Queer has pride.

Well I've done something like that. In 1969, I was in one of the very first Gay Liberation chapters, sometimes as co-chair; and at a time when a number of us were often pounded into the sidewalk, I volunteered to speak to Sociology, Criminology, Psychology and Nursing classes, where students gawked like we were chatting turds. I talked to campus police - now there was a party.

Sans Culottes
It may have been true that some of us really enjoyed "speaking" - I didn't. But I knew it was important to present ourselves as rather ordinary. I don't mean that some of us weren't flamboyant or hostile - we always tried for as wide a representation of our community as available - but even as I represented us, in my heart I felt as if I were at a table with a knife in the center. The people watching were on the other side, and it was my job to be intelligent, funny, original, weepy, scattered (so that observers felt superior) innocent, valiant, etc. - entertaining, period. And the moment I stopped being entertaining, they'd pick up the knife....

So you see, I've already been an Aztec sacrifice, and I've got the scars and lost teeth to prove it. Maybe old age has got me by the throat, but I'll be registering. With faint heart, perhaps, but I'll register us. Proud as I am of Lover and our little marriage, it's hard to get away from the feeling that I'm handing somebody a stick to beat me with.

And hurrah, anyway!
Air Force poster boy fired under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
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Gov. Gregoire signs "everything but marriage" bill into law
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New PAC formed for Referendum 71 campaign
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Brit Greens call for an end to marriage ban in EU
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Put 'er there, partner
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CA school bans child's Harvey Milk presentation
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Remembering Rodger McFarlane
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California Senate passes Harvey Milk Day legislation
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GSBA celebrates a milestone at awards dinner
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King County Labor backs Decline to Sign
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Fashion designer Andrew Christian visits Seattle
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ASK MICHAEL: Marriage, Referendum 71 and Hate
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The Outfield: Negative recruiting: positively wrong
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Robert L. Knapp
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Decision Tuesday in Prop 8 Case
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Baghdad U.S. Embassy Gay Pride Theme Party
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TWO Dismayed By California Supreme Court Ruling To Uphold Proposition 8
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More gruesome details on Iraq gay killings
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Gays picket Obama in Beverly Hills
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