I’m tired of being used. I’m tired of being an unwilling participant in a “moral issue” and a “point of debate”, and having invisible fingers pointed at my gay brothers and sisters from the safety and quasi-anonymity of a computer laptop, where it’s easy, and cowardly, to spew out vitriolic statements in grand, sweeping generalizations about the LGBT citizens of North Carolina instead of setting aside assumptive judgment and embracing curiosity and compassion. And then, calling yourself a Christian with the flourish of a poisoned pen.
To those still against same-sex marriage, I ask this question as a gay man in a committed and loving partnership: What did I do to you? I’m being honest here. Really, what did I do to you? How does my request to have equal, legal protections under state and federal law impact your life as a heterosexual in any way at all? I just don’t get it and I need to understand. Give me concrete, irrefutable evidence to support your argument, other than “It’s the will of the people of North Carolina that we should ban same-sex marriage”. The will of the people may be a majority, but it’s still just an opinion. Opinions change over time, and often as a direct result of education and compassionate understanding.
Put these opinions aside. I’m looking for cold, hard irrefutable facts. Stats. Graphs and pie charts. I want to know, specifically, how my committed and loving relationship with my partner has alienated and threatened your heterosexual relationship or your ability to have one. I would honestly like to know how our life goals, our liberty and pursuit of happiness have negated or threatened yours. Because I’d like to apologize and make amends, if I need to. Otherwise, I’m sick and tired of being your punching bag and I’d like you to stop now.
I would like to know why, rather than seeking to engage in a dialogue and understand me, and other LGBT folks like me, you judge us, fear us, and vilify us, stating we have an agenda. Oh wait…We do! It’s the same agenda you take for granted—equal rights and legal protection under the law. The ability to have our unions recognized as valid under state and federal law. That’s it.
When my partner and I heard the news that same-sex marriage ban had been overturned in North Carolina, I was outwardly happy, yet inwardly introspective. I thought about our relationship, and I asked myself, “Are we ready? Now that it’s legal, do we want to show others, publicly, that we have a right to the same benefits and protections under state and federal law that heterosexual couples have? Just because we CAN get married now, SHOULD we?” We don’t want to get married “just for the benefits”, mind you. We want to get married because we are very much in love. My partner and I will not rush into marriage. In fact, before we decide to join together in matrimony, we will seek premarital counseling, and we will walk with confidence into spending the rest of our lives together, eyes wide open, with open hearts. Gosh—that sounds a lot like what a normal, healthy heterosexual couple would do. We will do this with or without your permission, North Carolina. There is nothing political about our love. I find nothing romantic about politics. We don’t need your permission. We couldn’t care less about whether or not our love, and our committed relationship is, or is not “The Will of the People”.
The mere fact that we are forced to think about it, are judged for it, and are aware that there are those in this state who are actively plotting to keep us from having a legally recognized relationship makes me so angry I could spit galvanized nails. Our marriage is not about you. The answer to the above questions is as follows: We have done nothing whatsoever to destroy the sanctity of your marriage. Our marriage will be ours alone. Our struggles, too, will be ours alone, and if our marriage shouldn’t last, then it will also be our divorce, not yours.
My advice to those who are against same-sex marriage in the state of North Carolina is simple: If you’re against gay marriage, don’t have one. Don’t want to perform a gay marriage? Well, if you’re a clergy person, fine–don’t. We will find someone who will. If you’re a magistrate, it’s your job. Do your job or resign. Someone else will be happy to take it for you and marry us.
But don’t you DARE tell me I can’t have mine. And please, in the name of the God I worship, just like you, stop lobbing scripture like so many cannonballs over the walls of your judgmental fort. Lower your drawbridge and invite us to the table. You’ll find that gay and lesbian couples have more in common with you than you ever imagined. Just give us the opportunity to “be”, and we will leave you alone. I promise.
There’s another document you may consider quoting instead of The Bible: The Declaration of Independence, which states that all of us are created equal, and deserving of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It seems only fair and reasonable to me that the truths we held as self-evident in 1776 are the same truths we honor today. Rights like these can’t be taken away. That’s why they’re called rights.