9.16.2011

The NC Gay Marriage Amendment Post: Feedback

Wednesday night, when I typed out my thoughts on the NC anti-LGBT amendment, I only set out to collect some of my arguments against the amendment, and in favor of LGBT rights. Since I'm unfortunately one of those people who finds himself in arguments on the internet, I thought it would make sense to put it all down so that when I felt I needed to explain my views, maybe I could steer people there and avoid carpal tunnel syndrome. And sure, if friends and relatives read the post and wanted to share it, that would be great.

I didn't quite expect to see the piece go viral. If I had known that would happen, I would have spent more time on it, and it would have been a better piece of writing (much of it, as I re-read it, I'm sure would elicit red marks from my former English professors). I am sure I would have chosen to write it a bit differently, with the goal of speaking to a larger audience. I stand 100% behind the sentiment of it, so I am thankful that people are somewhat forgiving, and that so many felt that it was worth sharing.

Anyway, what I kept saying yesterday is this was not about me. If I had been alive during the civil rights movement, I would be speaking up just the same. I can't help how I am, and I have always been concerned when others are mistreated. This is about prejudice, discrimination, and ignorance. It's about reducing harm and increasing well-being. It's about religion at times clouding our innate sense of morality. It's about people with feelings, and hopes, and dreams, who are being denied and maligned.

The blog post received so many great comments from so many different walks of life that I felt that they shouldn't all be confined to the comments section.  I'd like to highlight some here. There are many other great comments (and some very negative and misguided ones) that I am not including below (some would be out of context if removed from the stream). All comments, of course, remain on the original post. And more continue to come in.  For the sake of privacy, I will address them anonymously (even though many posted anonymously, whether intentionally or because they didn't have an ID or didn't wish to create one).

Here are just a few:

Thank you for this post. I doubt it will change the minds of the bigots, but I hope it calls others into action. As far as the economic situation is concerned, yes - the research triangle should be very afraid that this will keep the best and the brightest from moving to NC. And I'm not just talking about LGBT folks - straight people who care about the kind of environment they will be living in will now stop to wonder whether they want to live in a bigoted, Southern, religiously oppressive region. All the negative stereotypes about the south will be reinforced with what I suspect will be a lopsided vote passing the amendment. And, if the amendment passes, I will not vacation in NC ever again.

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I was raised in Durham and when I left I had to explain that we are not nearly as racist a state as many on the outside perceive us to be. These days unfortunately many GLBTs outside of NC dismiss our state as a homophobic black hole. I try to explain that it is not but when our legislature behave so horrifically I have no comeback. Well, you just made me understand why as a gay man I have never felt threatened in my home state. With no gay ghettos in NC, gay people have to live alongside their straight neighbors. But with straight neighbors like you who needs gay ghettos? While NC has a history of fundamentalists citizens who make a lot of noise, it also has a well organized progressive coalition of straights, gays, and minorities ready to fight back. Now more than ever the GLBTs in NC needs their help. Thank you ever so much for getting this ball rolling.

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This could not have been stated better. It literally brought tears to my eyes that remain. LBGT rights ARE Civil Rights.
I lived through the desegregation Civil Rights era, hearing kids in my elementary school chant "2, 4, 6, 8, we don't want to integrate," something I knew at age 8 was them mouthing their parents' prejudices, spewing hatred. I heard the same Chapter and Verse quotations used by people who claim to be Christians, but who would make Jesus weep, people who parse the Bible to support their bigotries.
I worked with a woman in 1968 in my first full time job. She was Southern through and through, an intelligent woman but not well educated. I was working there when Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. She talked about her own prejudices and how she was raised to have them and believe them. She had a daughter. She said she was trying the best she could to not pass her bigotries on to her daughter because her daughter's world was a different one than the one mom had grown up in and she didn't want to handicap her daughter.
Elie Wiesel said, "I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."
SPEAK UP!

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My partner and I really appreciate your well-spoken and just allied support of our LGBTQ friends who simply would like the same basic, legal rights in marriage that our heterosexual friends enjoy here in NC.

Regardless of what anyone believes about nature, homosexuality, marriage or parenting, this issue is about offering the same legal rights and protections from our government no matter one's race, religion, gender, ability, age, sexual orientation, hair color, tax bracket, or shoe size.

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This article brought tears to my eyes for so many reasons! I am so blessed to have an amazing partner, loving and supportive family and friends, a fantastic/ beautiful/smart/healthy daughter, a wonderful job, and so many more blessings! It saddens me to see this backward movement in NC; however, it is people like yourself, and the others that have posted here, that will help to make the equality we declare we offer as a nation a true reality. The more the opposition insists that "gay marriage" is wrong the more they highlight the inequity of their position. A part of the foundation of this country was born from the desire to escape persecution. I would like to continue to be a part of the movement to remove the obstacles to equality that we still have in place today. This is not an issue "just" about gay marriage.

I live in the neighboring state of TN and I know our fight for equality here will also be long and hard. I would implore the residents of any state not only to vote on the issue, but to become involved in local organizations that will help lobby for our rights (locally we have the TN Equality Project).

In addition, please see this video about the work of a NY artist iO Tillett Wright who is doing an amazing project "Self Evident Truths". This project is a "photographic record of LGBTQ America" and is being done as her fight for what she also acknowledges is the civil rights movement of her generation.

I hope that one day my daughter will look back and think how ridiculous it was that her parents could not get married, just as it was so ridiculous that we would force a person of color to the back of a bus, another school, a lesser paying job, or deny them the right to vote.

I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes: "Morality is simply the attitude we adopt toward people we personally dislike"- Oscar Wilde

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From the mother of a gay son in australia, I love your article. It is well written and thoughtful. I was in NC during the lead up to the vote on Prop 8. It was before my son was out and it was also the first time I experienced the level of hateful christian protesters. I am a Christian and was horrified that these people would picket school and harass people taking their kids to school. My niece that I walked to school every day and had a friend with two mothers was so upset for her friend. We are fighting for the right for marriage equality here in australia, and for what it is worth, we are cheering for you over there and I will be watching with interest.

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I thank you for so well written outloud what I among other's feel. I am a straight ally and mother of a beautiful biracial lesbian daughter. I was at the vigil and the rally where Alex of Equality NC read a email I sent to him which he read at the rally. Thank you so much for giving a voice of love to those who need it and to those who hate, because they need to hear this.

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Thank you so much. I would like to add something about the myth that being gay automatically makes someone more susceptible to disease. It may be true that gay people have higher rates of HIV and other STDs, but you have to understand how hard it is to maintain a lasting relationship with someone when society condemns it. It's hard even for straight people to make a relationship work. Think about how much harder it would be if you couldn't get legal recognition of your relationship and everyone around you condemned you for your relationship. It is to hard for most gay people to deal with, which is why it is easier to have short term or anonymous relationships. The more sexual partners a person has, the higher the risk for STDs. Legalizing same-gender marriage, will encourage more long-term lasting relationships. Which will decrease the rates of STDs. When I was younger, I didn't think it would ever be possible for me to get married. I didn't have any hope for a lasting relationship and settled for the fleet short-term one. I'm lucky that I never got any STDs, but I was at high risk. Now that some states and other countries have legalized marriage, I have hope for a better future. I have real dates now, instead of sexual "hook ups". The younger generation are not as promiscuous as mine was. I see young gay people dating in high school, just like straights now. I think that as marriage equality is realized, the discrepancy in STD rates among gay and straights will start to even out more. Think about it.

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The truth: if we let gays marry, then we have to acknowledge that they are human, like "us." We have to validate there existence as legitimate, and that scares the hell out of people who just don't know any better. Look at history: we fear what we don't know. We'd rather allow straight, good Christian people to, perhaps, have serial marriages, withstand abusive relationships, give birth out of wedlock, transmit STDs through unfaithful relationships, and then go pray for the souls of the damned on Sunday. Better the devil you know than the devil you don't.

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My son just got engaged... he is with a great guy and they are heading down a path we all know and appreciate. Friendship, courtship, engagement and marriage... yes, marriage for my wonderful gay son. Gay marriage protects the children of gay parents, it creates a pathway to stable longer lasting relationships and it provides gay couple with all the same challenges and joys heterosexual couples face in marriage. I am Christian, female and heterosexual and a whole hearted supporter of gay marriage. Thanks for this great article.

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To all of the people out there upset by the "I reject your religious reasoning", you need to pay more attention. There is no judgement here, only a statement that religious reasoning has no place in the legislative process. And our government was specifically designed that way. If you want to use your God as the reason for your laws, you're going to have to change that part of the constitution first. (incidentally - though I do believe it to be completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand, I know anyone who disagrees will automatically go there - I would just like to add that I am a Christian. Roman Catholic, in fact, and I believe in God, and that He loves His children, and that IF homosexuality IS wrong, then it is His place to judge. not yours)

If you are concerned about homosexual parents raising children, clearly you have not been paying attention to the people in our country who ARE raising children. You say that children benefit from a 2-parent household, and in general I would agree. However, there are a lot of great single parents and a lot of really miserable heterosexual married parents. Whether a person is or is not a good parent depends on that person. His or her sexual orientation is only a minor factor in that equation. Would you rather a child grow up in a "traditional" family where he is being emotionally or physically abused by one or both of his parents, or in a household with one or two healthy, happy parents who just happen to be homosexual?

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The one concern I have with your article is that it automatically takes the "religion as the enemy" approach. Actually, it is my Christian faith that makes me such a strong advocate for LGBT rights, as a straight, mother of three, who is married to a pastor. Just because opponents of LGBT rights have used religion as a weapon, doesn't mean they have the only, or correct, interpretation of what the Bible teaches on this matter. Large numbers of pastors and theologians have signed petitions against Amendment One and DOMA, and both attend (and frequently organize) rallies to support gay rights. They write letters to the editor and produce articles that apparently only theological magazines are willing to publish because other sources don't believe it fits the current media narrative for Christian and Religious Leaders to be loving and inclusive. I encourage you to check out groups like Christians Tired of Being Misrepresented on Facebook. There are religious and Biblical sound arguments to support gay marriage, and people of faith out there making them. We just have been denied the megaphone and spotlight, but things are about to change.

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I am a married, heterosexual Christian woman, I am expecting our first child in March, and I am embarrassed and heartbroken that my state is moving in this direction. I have a number of gay and lesbian family members and dear friends, and they are wonderful, talented people who are leaving NC at their earliest opportunity with no plans to EVER return. Their loss is a huge one for our state's economic potential.

Although I am generally politically conservative, the supporters of this legislation will not be getting my vote in May or ever again. I am disgusted by their actions and by the self-congratultory tone with ehich they explained that they were doing our state some great service by allowing the people to put to a majority vote the rights and a minority group.

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Vote no on Amendment 1 in May.




3 comments:

  1. To many words, if you mention The Netherlands, be short.
    This is a nation of BSA (bull shit artists)

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is not my purpose to get into a religious discussion here, I only site the on top of because it tends to illustrate my earlier point of a gay lobby and a strong "gay agenda.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Try to become a tolerant nation, try to write your thoughts with less number of words.

    ReplyDelete