Last week, for the Blogger Idol contest (still alive!), we had to give our take on an issue currently in the news. I chose same-sex marriage.
We are moving to North Carolina next week (!!!!), so this issue means more to me than ever. But after visiting Maine this past weekend – where it’s coming up for vote as well – it’s clear this issue isn’t merely a southern one.
Bigots are everywhere.
You can read my essay below.
I’m not suggesting I’m getting a divorce. But if I were to get divorced from my beautiful, understanding, intelligent, pretty-much-perfect wife and want to marry someone new, I hope I’d be able to marry whomever I chose. Depending on where I live, that might not be the case.
More importantly, twenty years from now, should my son decide that he wants to enter into the tenuous bonds of matrimony, I hope that he’ll have the opportunity to marry whomever he wants to. Even if it happens to be a man. Sadly, there are no guarantees.
I’m moving to North Carolina in a few weeks. I don’t yet know for how long, but in the aftermath of a law that was recently passed banning same-sex marriage – a state law, but one that reflects an ongoing national battle – a short-term stay seems more likely. I don’t want my son to grow up in a place where inequality is legislated.
My son is only two. I have no earthly idea if he is gay, straight or asexual like Morrissey, and I don’t personally have a horse in this race, except as a member of the human race. Same as Asians, Republicans, Scientologists, little people, left-handed guys, ambidexterous girls, people who can’t roll their tongues, people born with tails, people with spina bifida, even people who like Nickelback.
People are people. And whether they want to get married or adopt a kid or buy a car or go to prom, it’s none of our business. We are all equal. I don’t care about the specifics, because specifics don’t matter. We are all the same, regardless of superficial differences, and I want my son to live in a world where such equality is taken for granted. A world where, just as it’s universally understood that 1 + 1 = 2, it is established that man = woman = white = black = gay = straight.
This isn’t a matter of tolerance. “Tolerating” something means forcing yourself to withstand it; it implies superiority. That negative connotation immediately poisons the conversation. Unfortunately, in this country, the idea of “tolerance” has come to replace “acceptance” as our default stance, and that is a corruption of the ideals upon which America was founded. True equality doesn’t require tolerance. Inequality requires tolerance; in fact, tolerance is what allows inequality to thrive. This is one of the first lessons I want my son to learn: it’s not enough to merely tolerate other people, you must accept them for who they are, even if they may not always accept or even tolerate you.
People are people, regardless of the way they’re born or the choices they make; regardless of how different from you they might look or act or sound. No person has the right to judge another. The sad reality is that we are all equal in our imperfection; not a person among us is without room for improvement. So how can we presume to pass judgment on someone else when we ourselves are flawed? How can we deign to prevent someone else from enjoying the same benefits of our long-term relationships, to deny them the same (untainted) recognition we are granted when we marry the love of our lives?
It’s basic human decency. We are all equal and thus each of us deserves, demands, and requires equal treatment. And that includes having the right to marry whomever we choose, whether we live in North Carolina or Vermont, Texas or Massachusetts.
People are people.