“Her Wife,” She Said.

Most weekdays, I join San Francisco Zen Center’s morning meditation. Perhps “most” is pushing it. I intend to join it Monday through Friday. I frequently do. There is always a service of chanting and bowing after sitting. During the service, we see the Abbot in the Buddha Hall and follow along with his actions, while Kodo, a monk announces what comes next.

Yesterday, Kodo announced that we would be having a memorial service that would be led by Tova, one of the senior members instead of the usual service. One of Tova’s very close friends had just died. She showed a photo of her friend and described her joyful and productive life. “Her friend,” she said, “was very devoted to her wife and children.”

Tova, a lesbian herself, did not emphasize the words “her wife.” She didn’t express pride that her friend was legally married to a woman or celebrate that fact in any way. Tova was merely describing her friend’s life. She spoke as if two women getting married was a normal, even common, thing to do.

It was wonderful. It was healing for me.

I just want to acknowledge the enormous amount of suffering that has been alleviated by the victories of gay rights, culminating with the barriers to marriage falling away.

I know that there is still so much to do, in the world and in this country. I don’t deny that. But when Tova said those words “her wife,” she healed me a little.

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Terry Baum is an actress, director, teacher, filmmaker, political activist, and award-winning lesbian playwright. Her blog BAUMBLOG is a “Top 100 LGBTQ Blog.”

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