Saturday, March 30, 2013

Some thoughts on the gay marriage debate.

Two things I posted to facebook recently on the subject of gay marriage:

Posted to Facebook on 3/28/13
You'll all have noticed that gay marriage has become a major topic of discussion on Facebook again. When the red equal signs started popping up, I was overwhelmed with happiness at just how many of my straight friends (several straight Mormon friends even) had them as their profile pictures. However, after the days progressed, I was surprised at how many anti-gay marriage posts I saw on certain people's walls. There were a couple of my Facebook friends I was completely expecting it from, while others took me quite off guard and at first I wasn't entirely sure why. All of them are Mormon, and while the LDS church has been taking every opportunity it can get to declare it’s not really as anti-gay as everyone thinks it is, gay marriage has been the one area where they have frequently and consistently held firm. So, why did seeing these people’s anti-gay marriage posts surprise me?

I’m a gay man, I have a lot of gay friends, and I dedicate a large amount of time to studying gay culture, history, and issues. Because of this, I know personally, through the accounts of my friends, and through other first-hand accounts many of the ramifications of not being able to get married to your partner. It makes it difficult to be declared as the legal guardian of your own children if you’re not their biological parent, it makes it impossible to sponsor a non-American spouse for citizenship the way a straight couple would be able to, it can make hospital visitation rights difficult if not impossible, it bars you from all sorts of tax and other financial benefits granted to married couples, it even can bar you from something as simple as getting as much federal grant money for college as you could if you were married, as well as keeping you from literally thousands of other benefits married couples receive. These are just the legal benefits without even beginning to delve into the social benefits, of which there are many.

Being in this group of people that is currently barred from these rights, I take the issue more personally than I might take some other issues. With that in mind, I realized why I was so shocked and even hurt by these people’s posts opposing marriage equality. I like these people. They are my friends on Facebook for a reason, and that’s because I think they’re wonderful. So when I see these wonderful people expressing the opinion that I, along with millions of others, shouldn't have the same rights that they do, it hurts. While the amount of my Facebook friends who are openly supporting marriage equality on their pages is still overwhelmingly greater than those who are doing the opposite, it makes me sad to see such wonderful people doing such an unwonderful thing.

Posted to Facebook on 3/30/13 
A few days ago, I created a post expressing my feelings of sadness and hurt at the actions of my Facebook friends who have posted anti-marriage equality material to their profiles.  I said that it took me off guard because I didn't expect such wonderful people to do such an unwonderful thing.  I stressed both the impacts that banning gay marriage has on individuals as well as how wonderful I still think all of my Facebook friends are in spite of the horrible things that some of them are doing. While I stand by everything I said, in this new post I feel like I need to make my feelings about any posts or actions that are anti-marriage equality a little bit more clear. So here is my message to anyone who opposes the legalization of gay marriage:

How dare you? How dare you tell me what rights I should or should not have? How dare you take your religious beliefs (which you have every right to) and try to force an entire population to live by them? THAT is religious oppression. That is you telling me that what I believe is not allowed in this country where we supposedly hold freedom of religion to be so dear. That is you telling me that my love and my life are somehow less significant or important than yours.  You can say that you love me. You can say that you have compassion for all people.  However, when you tell me that I should not have the simple right to legally declare my love for the person of my choosing, you are not showing love or compassion for anybody. How can you be so arrogant to think that you should have something that I should not? Some people say that marriage equality advocates get offended too easily, or that they can't have a conversation without getting angry, mean, or upset when you express a different opinion.  It is entirely true that they tend to get upset, emotional, or offended more easily than those opposing gay marriage. Of course they do. They are the ones who have an entire portion of their lives at stake, while you have absolutely nothing to lose no matter the outcome.  I usually try to remain as civil as I possibly can when engaging in marriage debates, however I want you to know right now that when you express the opinion that gay people should have less rights than you do, I have absolutely no respect for you.

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