I've been following the Supreme Court hearings on California's Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act over the past two days with wonder and amazement. I believe that marriage equality is the civil rights issue of our generation. It took Obama some time -- some would posit too long -- but he has changed the course of human events in our country.
Earlier this week, NPR ran a great story about Ellen DeGeneres, which reminded me of a piece I had written three years ago about her and a conversation with my daughter, who was 10 at the time. Rereading it, it still says almost everything I want to say about this issue today (including the fact that I basically worship Ellen DeGeneres.)
So here's to the death of DOMA, the defeat of Prop 8, the growing understanding in our country that everyone should be free to love who they want, and that GLBT couples should be afforded the same marital rights and privileges (and headaches) as their straight neighbors.
And here's my paean to Ellen:
I was very excited about the selection of Ellen DeGeneres as the replacement for Paula Abdul on "American Idol" this season. I think she's hilarious and brave and beautiful, as well as a great foil to Simon.
My kids and I just discovered "Idol" last year – yes, I know we were about seven years too late, but never the less, it's great family entertainment. No cursing, no inappropriate plots, no kissing or yucky stuff, but just enough raciness and tension to keep me interested. And some decent music too.
When the selection of Ellen was announced, my 10-year-old daughter apparently heard her name as "Ellen The Generous." For a few weeks, she walked around thinking that Ellen The Generous would be the new Idol judge. For a lot of reasons, I love this moniker. But the best thing about Ellen's rise on Idol happened on our home turf.
My daughter and I were having a quick dinner after basketball practice, and we were laughing about the fact that she had thought Ellen's name was "The Generous." She asked who Ellen was. I told her she was a comic, and that she had her own talk show. She asked, "Like Oprah? Like Tyra?" Indeed, I told her, and chuckled to myself because not too long ago she had trouble distinguishing between "Oprah" and "Opera" and she didn't understand why I also found that so funny.