“You can’t live your life for other people. You’ve got to do what’s right for you, even if it hurts some people you love.”
I was raised in a conservative, Southern Baptist, Republican family. Some would even say I was raised in an “old fashioned” manner, but I happen to be proud of that. I was taught to respect my elders, to say “yes ma’am” and “thank you.” I was taught to be kind, and humble, and honest, and to stand up for what I believe in. I am proud of the values that my parents instilled in me, they have made me the person that I am today. And even though most of my family, several, maybe even most of my friends won’t agree with me, I know they will love me anyway.
I support marriage equality.
I support it will all my heart.
Did you see that coming?
Gay marriage, or, rather, homosexuality in general, has always been a hot-button topic in my family. It’s wrong, it’s a sin, it’s not ok, it’s immoral…and that was that. End of story. And that’s why, since I was a teenager, I have struggled, agonized, over my views on the subject. I used to play along. I tried to convince myself that I agreed, and I played the part well. But when I got out of my hometown, and started living on my own, and really thinking on my own, I knew that wasn’t right. I continued to struggle for sometime…Christians weren’t supposed to support gay marriage–homosexuality a sin. Well, you know what? So is lying. And having sex before you’re married. And cussing, and stealing, and getting drunk, and any number of other sins that we all commit every day.
I never voiced these struggles. Not to anyone. I was afraid to. I didn’t want them to judge me. And I didn’t want the confrontation that I knew would follow. And it’s those same reason that have kept me quiet on the subject for years after finally realizing how I felt. Every time the subject of homosexuality or gay marriage would come up around my family or my more conservative friends, I would just try and keep my mouth shut. But I will no longer be a coward. We should stand up for what we be believe in, and that’s what I’m doing here. I will no longer be silent. This is too important.
I’m on a journey to discover who I really am, what I believe, what I want my life to be. And it’s being on this journey, deciding not live my life for anyone else, not to constantly worry about what other people think of me or if they approve of me or what I do or think, that finally gave me the courage to say that I support marriage equality.
I believe that two people who love each other and want to spend their lives together should be able to do just that, no matter what gender or race or religion they are. I believe that any two people who spend their lives together should be able to collect benefits when their spouse passes on, or make medical decisions, or adopt, or any number of things that we, heterosexual people, take for granted.
I believe that marriage is a commitment between two people, before God, to spend their lives together. It should be that simple. But it isn’t. And because it isn’t, we need the government to step in and legally recognize marriage – all marriage between two consenting adults, because gay or straight, we are all people. We are all equal in the eyes of God, and we are all supposed to be equal in the eyes of the law. Eleven states have already recognized it. That leaves 39 more, including Oklahoma. And if a religious figure or institution decided that they do not want to participate in or perform in a gay marriage, then that’s their right. But it doesn’t mean that that marriage shouldn’t be recognized and supported and treated as equal to any other marriage.
Some, Christians in particular, argue that marriage equality will ruin the sanctity of marriage. I call bullshit. Two men or two women getting hitched is not going to ruin sanctity of marriage. But you know what does? Getting drunk and deciding to marry some random person you just met in Vegas or anywhere else. Getting married with the the thought that if it doesn’t work out, or if we change our minds, we can just get a divorce. Getting to the hard parts and not fighting, not making it work (because all relationships take work) and giving up. People getting married as a publicity stunt (I’m talking about you, Kim Kardashian) or just because you want to have big party and a fancy dress and you want everyone to ooh and awe over you. These things ruin the sanctity of marriage. Two people, regardless of gender, getting married because they love each other and want to commit their lives to one another doesn’t. I don’t find this a difficult concept to grasp.
God loves all of us. Gay, straight, white, black, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, atheist, agnostic…you name it. We are all God’s children, even if we don’t believe there is a God. And we can argue until the cows come home about what makes a person gay–genetics, environment, choice or born that way–and we probably always will. I have my own theory. There probably never will be a clear answer. Just like there still, to this day, isn’t a clear answer in the nature v. nurture debate. I don’t think it really matters. They are people, just like you, and just like me. And they deserve to be treated as such.
I don’t expect everyone to agree on this issue. Not ever. I don’t think it’s part of human nature, as much as I wish it was sometimes. But if we had to wait for a unanimous view on issues, we’d never get anything done. Now is the time to put this to rest. We shouldn’t still be arguing about this when there are other problems that we need to focus on: childhood poverty, sex slavery, the recession, AIDS, health care, genocide, clean water…the list goes on. I don’t want to look back at this time in 50 years and be ashamed of the way our country handled this. But that’s where it’s headed. The hate will lead us there.* Why can’t we just accept each other and move on?
I have to say, it’s a huge burden off my shoulders to finally have this out in the open. My heart already feels lighter. I feel lighter in general – I’m being true to myself and my beliefs. It’s a great feeling. I highly recommend it.
Let the questions, confusion, disapproval, etc. commence. I’m ready for it. I think :).
*To clarify, I don’t think that all people who disagree with my on this issue, who do not support marriage equality or homosexuality, are filled with hate – that they hate all gay people. My intention was not to imply that–I don’t believe that in the least. That would be saying that many of the people I love the most are full of hate, which isn’t remotely true. I was referring to those who, for example, bully kids because they’re gay, those who attack gay people–with words, or with actions–just for being gay, those who treat homosexual people as lesser human beings – they are the ones I was referring to. They are a small part of the world, I admit that, but one is all too often all it takes to spread their hatred and I don’t want that. I don’t want to see history repeat itself . I would much rather love and acceptance spread.