July 27, 2004

Striking a Nerve

I am in the process of writing another Opinion piece for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It may be a difficult move, since my last two were funny, topical articles, but this is something that I feel very strongly about: Gay Marriage.

Everyone has different opinions about gays, and I respect those opinions, so please grant me the same respect.

I'll share with you the moment I formed my opinion on homosexuality. People's opinions are formed early, for better or for worse, and mine was no exception.

Everyone heard the words in elementary school: "gay," "fag," "homo." We all giggled. Some kid heard their dad use them around other adults and introduced the words to the rest of us. They were funny words but we really didn't understand what they meant. All we knew was that we didn't want to be called them on the playground.

One afternoon, I was watching MTV when a video by "Frankie Goes To Hollywood" came on. "Mom," I whispered, "I heard that the people in this band... are gay!" It was some nasty little rumor that I just had to tell.

My mother just looked at the TV, then at me. "Well, are you going to sleep with them?" she asked simply.

I was shocked. This was not mom's usual style, to be so direct. "No," I replied, "of course not."

She gave a shrug and said "Then what does it matter to you?" I was left to think about that for a while, and realized that it actually didn't matter. So what if they are? It didn't change my life any.

That was all it took. My mother talked to me like an adult, even though I was still a child, maybe still in elementary school, and taught me an adult lesson that I keep with me to this day.

This brings me to the core statement about my gay marriage article: Whatever your opinions about homosexuals, is it right to deny them rights that we freely give to others? Is there a legal, non-biblical justification for treating them as second-class citizens? If same-sex couples were treated just like you and me, how would it affect traditional marriages, day-to-day? I propose that it doesn't affect them at all.

1 comment:

  1. It is hard to look at this particular issue for me because I so dearly hold the beliefs that my Church supports. I struggle internally with changing the way marriage is viewed, but your mom has a point, who we choose to love is often complicated, and always very personal.
    One of my best girlfriends went to the Northeast somewhere and got married to her partner of 5 years - they have been together 7 years now - much longer than I have ever been able to stay married. They love one another, and she deserves teh benefits that come with committing to another person. You have a point about denying rights to people who are committed to one another. So many people who are married do not take care of one another - or they separate, living in different houses, but staying married for the financial and sexual benefits. It surprises me that more people want to get married - the rest of us aren't doing a very good job. The divorce rate still hovers at more than 50%. We don't need people who are homosexual to threaten heterosexual marriage, we do that ourselves. People have to wait 24 hours to get married and prove you are immune to Rubella - that's it - no proof of credibility, no check for criminal history- you have to wait a week to buy a gun- but only a day to take on a wife. We allow people to leave the marriage without fault in most states. No harm, no foul - just dump your wife off and go find another one, like throwing out a Dixie cup.
    I am looking forward to read your opinion piece - bet it will generate some heat!