I ran into a high school sweetheart nearly two decades ago back in our hometown of Atlanta. She told me that her life had changed a lot since we dated: She realized she was gay. “Rebecca” (not her real name) shared the painful journey that ultimately led to her happily embracing her sexuality.
We lost touch not long after that but recently found each other again here in the D.C. area, where we had met so many years ago as puppy-faced kids on a multi-school trip to the nation’s capital. I found that we weren’t all that different in our middle age: Rebecca and I had both moved here to make a difference and were thriving in our District careers. I was in a committed relationship with a woman; she was, too. If she is ever able to marry, I will attend her wedding. On Nov. 6, I will also vote yes on Maryland’s Question 6 to express my support of Maryland’s recently passed Civil Marriage Protection Act legalizing same-sex marriages.
Any two people who love each other should be allowed to celebrate that relationship through the act of marriage and no government has any business deciding who can and can’t be together. Opponents of marriage equality refuse to recognize the inherent issue of fairness and equal rights this country has fought for more than two centuries to preserve. It is beyond me how one human being can look into the eyes of another and declare the latter to be a second-class citizen.
I find it particularly odd that many African-Americans would deny gay people the right to marry each other. I mentioned this to my stepmother, who happens to be black, and reminded her that it wasn’t that long ago that the government banned blacks from marrying whites. She later told me that my points resonated with her and that she has since changed her view on the subject. Civil rights champion Julian Bond, meanwhile, appears in TV commercials every day encouraging people to vote yes on Question Six.
How would other Americans react today if the government forbade people from marrying someone who speaks a different language, practices a different religion, or has a different skin tone? What if the government told heterosexuals that it would deny the right to marry only to that group? There would be revolution in the streets, that’s what.
Opponents of marriage fairness are also misguided on the subjects of choice and religion.
I’ve heard many condemnations that homosexuals shouldn’t “choose” to be gay. No one chooses who they’re attracted to or who they fall in love with. I don’t remember ever sitting down with my parents and saying, “Mom, Dad, I’ve given this matter a great deal of deliberation and I have decided I shall date … girls!” All I remember is a zillion moments in which I spotted a young woman like Rebecca in a Smithsonian cafeteria and got all gushy on my insides. I was in love with her by the time I put my arm around her at the Jefferson Memorial later that evening and I nearly fainted when she agreed to go out with me when we got back home.
I don’t buy religious arguments that homosexuality is a sin, either. While people can use any document including a bible to justify their views, the god I believe in is not one who condemns a group of people he himself played a role in creating. Many churches in Maryland are supporting marriage fairness.
Life can be difficult enough when people aren’t being treated to bigotry and discrimination. We don’t need to make it harder on anyone because he or she is different.
Rebecca may be off the list of women I can marry but that doesn’t mean my feelings about her are any different. She had big beautiful brown eyes and wanted to make the world a better place when we met. She still has big beautiful brown eyes now and she is fulfilling her dream. America is a better place because if it. I remain incredibly grateful for the romance we once shared. She helped me gain a sense of self-confidence and blessed my life in many ways.
No law should deny Rebecca the opportunity to make a woman as gushy on the inside as she once made me.