Full Disclosure: Dog Biscuits in the Shopping Cart
Once upon a time, last century, circa 1998, I was walking down Baltimore Avenue with my new puppy Moxie and someone I did not know personally, but who read my columns, indignantly shouted, “You didn’t tell us you got a puppy!”
I didn’t know I was supposed to. That was the first time, since beginning to write for Letters in 1996, I realized my life was indeed an open book and withholding information might piss people off. It was flattering and weird.
So, in the spirit of full disclosure, I now report that Bonnie and I have a new Schnauzer puppy, and we are completely smitten. Facebook readers, and the folks who hang out in the CAMP courtyard, may already know this, as Windsor has made two guest appearances there since he arrived home April 1.
And yes, the date is important. We are the April fools. While it’s wonderful for Windsor that his new pack is made up of retirees who have plenty of time to spend with him, puppyhood is exhausting for these older parents. Mostly, he’s a good boy, but yesterday, it did prompt the inevitable, “What were we thinking?” when I wound up walking across the room with him hanging by his teeth from my bathrobe.
Windsor is teething and his incisors are literally sharp as tacks. The new style we are wearing for spring includes Band-Aids from puncture wounds. I just finished spraying a substance called Fooey on all our chair legs, electrical wires, and floor molding. While it might keep him at bay, he got it on his snout last night, I kissed his cheek, and got the most vile and disgusting flavor on my own lips. I don’t think the object of this product is to have the consumers running around gagging and saying, “Pfooooeeeeyyyyy!”
When Windsor nibbled a slipper last night, I told him that was disappointingly trite.
If our old house was affectionately named Schnauzerhaven for the late lamented Moxie and Paddy, our new house is now The House of Windsor.
The pup’s royal name has nothing to do with stately old Windsor Castle, and everything to do with stately, eternally, youthful Edie Windsor, plaintiff in our marriage equality fight. Our boy is named for the victor in United States v. Windsor, which overturned the hateful Defense of Marriage Act. Thanks to Edie Windsor, Federal marriage benefits and obligations are available to gays and lesbians married in states which permit gay marriage.
Naming the kid Windsor is our tip of the hat to Edie and an opportunity for simultaneous LGBT outreach. “What a wonderful name!” or variations respond lots of folks who meet Mr. Adorable. Then, I tell them who he is named for and why.
It’s interesting to see which gay and straight people immediately recognize the name Edie Windsor, and why she’s famous, and which gay and straight people have no clue about her. It’s a pretty good litmus test for who’s been paying attention to current events, and, depending on their reaction, where they fall on the discrimination spectrum. As for gays and lesbians whose faces are blank at the name, wake up and smell the progress. She’s a hero.
Now that I’ve come clean about Windsor in Letters, I have to tell our state legislators—especially those who voted aye for marriage equality. This is not as bizarre as it sounds, nor am I deluded to think they actually want this mundane news. But I promised.
A little over a year ago, as I testified at Legislative Hall in support of marriage equality, I described my three decade long relationship—our supportive parents, our pets, our careers, and how our lives mirrored long-term straight marriages but without full equality. The end of the testimony went like this:
"We married first in Canada, when marriage equality there became legal. We married again last year, with a big fat Jewish Wedding, recognized as marriage by our religious institution, but only as a civil union in Delaware. So neither ceremony gave us what we need most—a legally recognized marriage equal to our heterosexually married neighbors.
Now, we’re retirees and sadly, just lost our remaining 15 year old Schnauzer. The dogs have been a benchmark for our 31 years. We urge the state to end our long run as lesser citizens. We need Delaware to pass the marriage equality bill so when the Defense of Marriage Act falls, whenever that may be, we will have the one thing we need, a legal marriage, to qualify for Federal equal rights and benefits.
At the moment we’re debating whether we’re too old for a puppy. Our run with unequal rights has gone on long enough. Please be on the right side of history, and grant all Delaware citizens marriage equality. And we’ll let you know what we decide about the puppy. Thank you.“
So I’m off to send puppy announcements to the politicians. And thank, again, those who voted for marriage equality in Delaware. Owing to our legislators, Windsor’s parents are legally married, so technically, he is not a little bastard. Although after what he did to the carpet last night, I am not so sure.