The Inevitability of Ordinary by Jon Holden Galluccio, author of “An American Family” and a Vice Chair of Garden State Equality
As a child, when I realized I was gay I was terrified. I never heard anything positive in my world being said about gay people just horrible things, horribly ugly things. A lot I heard at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Maywood as I sat on the Parish Council as the “youth” representative. The Pope and the Church this, the Pope and the Church that and unfortunately for me I was too young and impressionable and it all, well, attacked my soul. Sure by now the booze and pot were “helping” me cope but how much booze and pot can a 16 year old really get away with! There are plenty of other sources of self esteem crushers that came my way but I mention the Church because it had inflicted the most damage.
My life story is full of adversity, highs and lows, but it still hurts me that the world has missed out on so much of it. Of course, there was a crash course on the news about my life back in 1997 but more than that it was the ordinary things that were missed.
The most ordinary thing the world missed out on was the love story that is my life. Having met my one true love when I was only 17, Michael and I would set out to conquer the world together. But it was a private world, one where we could only let in those that “supported” who we were and back then there weren’t too many. There wasn’t an internet and education was left to those that “chose” what people should be educated about and clearly our lives were not on that list. Actually, I believe our lives are still left off the education pie….for now. But that was back in 1982.
By 1997, we had become strong enough to face ourselves, our families, our Church, our friends, neighbors, co-workers and the State of NJ and declare ourselves ordinary. Ordinary men that wanted an ordinary family and we would never accept being treated any other way. It was a huge victory for us, for our son and his adoption and above all a huge civil rights victory for gays and lesbians in NJ. Strike one profound act of discrimination off the chalk board!
There have been other victories that we were less involved in but have been victories for us all the same. Victories with Aids funding, job discrimination, domestic partnership and even a less than stellar attempt at marriage equality called “civil unions”.
With each victory “different” peoples have been empowered to stand up and be counted and have joined the fight for the next one as have their friends and families. In NJ there is no bigger “next one” than that of full marriage equality and I am ashamed to be a part of a state that has floundered instead of lead on this.
I remember being in a gay club around 2000 and a young couple approached Michael and I and asked us if we were “those guys” who changed the law. When we confirmed their suspicion they thanked us and told us they just started dating but couldn’t wait to adopt someday. OMG, Michael and I were together almost 12 years before we even discussed children! I bring this up because with each victory the culture and not just the lgbt culture but the collective culture begins to change, to grow, to “evolve” (no pun intended Mr. President). Clearly gay men adopting was becoming ordinary.
My point to this is that both Michael and I have spent an awful lot of our lives, running, and hiding, fighting and healing. What might we have accomplished if when we were first together and made the decision we wanted to be together for the rest of our lives we were thrown an engagement party and a lavish wedding? We are good people who could have used those energies on who knows what? World peace maybe?
By ending this final frontier of discrimination against same-sex couples you will be freeing up valuable resources that when free to be who they are can truly focus their energy on making this state better. Maybe start a small business, employ more people, pay more taxes….just a thought.
It is time NJ takes its place as an evolved state. I mean really, do people really not see the inevitability of marriage equality in our future? Really?
For those non-believers in equality, please go read your history books. The same exact arguments used to halt this progress were used to try and stop interracial marriage. And for those knuckle draggers that actually do go back and read your history books, please ask yourself if that’s truly how you want to be remembered.
Finally, I will leave you with this. If after you look into your heart and still don’t believe in same-sex marriage than don’t marry someone of the same sex……it just won’t work out for you!
JON HOLDEN GALLUCCIO, AUTHOR OF “AN AMERICAN FAMILY” WITH MICHAEL GALLUCCIO AND DAVID GROFF, IS A FINANCIAL SERVICES REPRESENTATIVE WITH METLIFE. HE RESIDES WITH MICHAEL AND TWO OF THEIR CHILDREN IN NORTH HALEDON. HE CAN BE CONTACTED AT WWW.GALLUCCIO.COM