Be gay, be anything — just not single!
With same-sex marriage now legal in California, mothers across India and elsewhere are eager to see their gay sons and daughters finally get hitched.
By Sandip Roy
May 30, 2008 | When I left India for America, my aunts worried about who I might end up marrying. “I hope you’ll marry another Bengali,” an aunt told me. Over the years that relaxed to, “I hope she’s a Hindu, even if she’s not Bengali.” Then it became, “At least another Indian,” until finally we reached, “I hope you’ll get married to someone before we all die.”
She probably didn’t mean another man.
But now it might just happen. Same-sex marriage is on a roll in California. First a Republican-dominated Supreme Court said there was no reason gays and lesbians couldn’t get married. Now there comes a new Field Poll that says that, for the first time ever, a majority of Californians think same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.
As the pink confetti settles around us, I’m left wondering how immigrants are going to come out anymore. Many of us come from countries that really don’t have a word for “gay.” India certainly doesn’t. There are epithets and some rather technical terms. Coming out in India is usually about marriage, as in, “Mom, Dad, I don’t think I am going to get married.”
Now the California Supreme Court has yanked that coming-out line away.
Perhaps it’s time. After all, the Oxford English Dictionary has apparently had to recalibrate its definition of marriage to allow same-sex nuptials. The Field Poll shows that Californians support the right of same-sex couples to marry by a margin of 51 to 42 percent.
In a state where one in four Californians is foreign-born, that seems to be an astonishing change. When San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom started issuing same-sex wedding licenses in 2004, some of the first protests came from Chinese churchgoers. After all, immigrant families are supposed to be socially conservative.
But that might be part of the reason why the tide is finally shifting on gay marriage. (Of course a younger, more socially liberal state helps.)