9.15.2011

Why A Heterosexual, Married, North Carolinian Father Of Three Cares About LGBT Equality

I am a heterosexual, married, father of three, who has lived in North Carolina for most of my life. There have been a few ugly North Carolina moments during the time I have lived here (mostly related to one particular senator who has been in our rear view mirror for quite some time). But the ugliness that took place in North Carolina General Assembly this week was a stark reminder that, while we have made great strides in this state, there are a lot of people who still wish to deny rights to other citizens based on religious beliefs and misconceptions about sexuality and gender.

Unless you were living under a rock the past few days, you know that the NC Senate voted 30-16 to approve a proposed constitutional amendment banning any legal relationship recognition for same-sex couples. The amendment will be on the ballot in May during the Republican presidential primary.

Same-sex marriage, it should be noted, is already illegal in North Carolina. The amendment is simply a push to put the nail in the coffin, making it extremely difficult for same-sex marriages to be legalized in the future.

The issue of same-sex marriage is complicated in North Carolina, as it is in any state. According to recent survey conducted by Public Policy Polling, while most North Carolinians strongly believe that same-sex marriage should be illegal, they also strongly believe that there should not be a constitutional amendment to write that into the constitution. As conflicted as that message may be, it is clear: people may disagree on an issue, but that doesn't mean we should play political football with our constitution.

I've had people ask why I am so vocal about the issue of LGBT equality. Why is a heterosexual, married father so concerned with what gay people can or can't do? I don't have a dog in this fight, do I?

I find those kinds of questions to be puzzling (and telling), as if we should value the rights of one group of humans over any other group, or only be concerned with the welfare of a group to which we belong. As 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."

So, anyway, this is why I care (and why you should too):

LGBT people are citizens. I have friends (some of whom were married in other states years ago) who love each other as dearly as I love my own wife (and who have been committed to each other for just as long). It pains me to know that there are people who reject the validity of these relationships, and who wish to deny these couples the same benefits that other married couples are afforded. These committed, same-sex couples are North Carolinians. They contribute to the economy, they pay taxes, and they certainly do not deserve to be treated as second-class citizens by anyone. Just as it is hard to believe that we once denied marriage rights to interracial couples, or voting rights to women and African-Americans, we will look back upon this time with the same disbelief and shame.

Homosexuality is not a choice. Although science has not zeroed in on any one single cause, the growing body of research suggests that sexual orientation is caused by a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental influences. The biological factors related to sexual orientation involve a constellation of genetic factors, as well as brain structure and early uterine environment. Homosexuality is so natural, in fact, that it occurs in nature. Still not sold? The following major medical and professional organizations have also concluded that sexual orientation (and gender identity) is not a choice: American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, National Association of Social Workers, Royal College of Psychiatrists, and American Academy of Pediatrics. If you think that all these scientists, doctors, and experts are all part of a conspiracy to advance the homosexual agenda, ask yourself this: at what point in your life did you make the choice to be heterosexual?

Kids do just fine in families with same-sex parents. "All of the major professional organizations with expertise in child welfare have issued reports and resolutions in support of gay and lesbian parental rights" (Professor Judith Stacey, New York University). These organizations include the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychoanalytic Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the Child Welfare League of America, the North American Council on Adoptable Children, and Canadian Psychological Association. A recent study indicates that kids with lesbian parents may actually do better than their peers. If you are convinced that kids absolutely need one mom and one dad, you're a) forgetting about the many single-parent families in existence, b) equating 'gut feelings' with facts, c) depriving a lot of children a wonderful life with a family, a stable, loving home, and the best opportunities possible.

Religious arguments against same-sex marriage do not pass the Lemon Test, a three-pronged legal requirement which stipulates that a) the government's action must have a secular legislative purpose, b) the government's action must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion, and c) the government's action must not result in an "excessive government entanglement" with religion. I am not sure I have heard anyone make a case against same-sex marriage that did not invoke religion. The second that your argument mentions God, or references a biblical passage, I cannot entertain your argument. As a Humanist, I reject supernaturalism, pseudoscience, and superstition. Your religious arguments against same-sex marriage belong on that heap of nonsense. They have no basis in reality, are not supported by the science, and have no place in legislation. Unfortunately, anti-LGBT legislators cynically take great care to ensure that the language in their legislation is not based on a religious ground -- even though we all know it is rooted in religious dogma. If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

Happiness is contagious. Really. It's true. And guess what else? Acceptance of LGBT folks helps protect against depression, substance abuse, and suicide. Why in the world would anyone want to cause suffering in others? If the answer lies in your religion, then you need to re-evaluate your religion. Its ancient morality is flawed at best. Societies which embrace human reason, ethics, justice, and the search for human fulfillment are statistically happier societies. According to Gallup data, the happiest nations were Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and the Netherlands. These countries are among the least religious in the world. Coincidence? I'm not asking you to discard your religion. Just keep it to yourself, your family, and your congregation. We'll all be happier if you do.

Definitions change. Society evolves. I keep hearing over and over that "we can't redefine marriage." Well, why not? We have been redefining marriage throughout history. In fact, marriage pre-dates recorded history. The Bible (which is often used to defend the 'one man'/'one woman' definition) is full of polygamous marriages. There is also a long history of recognized same-sex marriages all over the world (including, but not limited to: Egypt, Greece, Rome, Japan, India, England, Italy, and North America). Over the course of history, marriage has meant different things: Love, the granting of property rights, or the protection of bloodlines. In some cultures two men and two women have been allowed to marry. People have historically married for many different reasons: legal, social, economic, spiritual, libidinal, and religious. So stop it with your 'sacred institution' argument and open up some history books. When you say that the Bible is clear about homosexuality, you must also admit that it was also very clear about how to treat your slaves, and the uncleanliness of women during their menstrual period. Listen. Society evolves. Sometimes we leave behind the Bronze Age mentality of the men who wrote the Bible. You want your marriage to be a religious, strictly bible-based marriage? That's fine. Nobody is stopping you from having one.

Don't we want less government intrusion in our lives? It's interesting that most of the people who support the ban on same-sex marriage also seem to be interested in less government intrusion. They want the government out of their health care. They want the TSA to keep their hands off their junk. They want less regulations on corporations. They worry the government is going to take away their rights: to bear arms, to speak freely, to practice their religion, to say 'Merry Christmas,' and to choose what kind of light bulb they use in their houses. They are furious when the government tries to tell them what they shouldn't eat, where they can or cannot smoke, or how much gas their car can guzzle. And these same people want the government to restrict the rights of someone else. They want the government to tell them what they can or can't do with another consenting adult. How do you reconcile your belief in a small, less intrusive government with your approval of legislation intended to restrict the rights of taxpaying citizens and to control who they should and shouldn't love? It's absurd. You want deregulation? Let's deregulate marriage.

I am a father of three beautiful boys. They are all young enough that they have not shown any definitive signs of sexual orientation one way or the other. Chances are, they will be heterosexual. Of course, there are studies indicating that the more older brothers a boy has, the greater the probability is that he will have a homosexual orientation. This is related to the in-utero maternal immune response, which increases with subsequent sons. Of course this is only one of many studies dealing with the hormonal factors associated with sexual orientation, but my point is, if any of my sons were gay, that's perfectly okay. We would accept him for who he is, and love him just the same. I don't worry about that. What I do worry about is this: if I did have a gay son, how could I explain to him that people don't want him to have the same rights as everyone else? How can I explain to him that if he wants to grow up, buy a home, and start a family, he might need to move to a state that doesn't reject him? How can I explain that people believe he is an abomination whose perverted lifestyle will lead him to an eternity in hell? How would I feel if my son killed himself because he was bullied, maligned, ridiculed, and made to feel as if he had no place in society? The only way to avoid any of our children going through this is to send a clear message that people are different and that's okay. Some families just have one mom, or one dad. Some have a mom and a dad. And some have two moms or two dads. And maybe if our state's leaders stop sending the message to our children that they are unwanted, maybe we can save the life of a child. Isn't that worth it?

At the end of the day, it just makes sense. Ask yourself what you are worried about if same-sex marriage is legalized. Whatever your answer is, ask yourself if you really believe what you just came up with. Homosexuality is not going to spread. It is not communicable. Society is not going to turn into a Lady Gaga video. Most gay couples I know are just as boring as you and I. They sit on the couch and watch television. They work at the post office, the hospital, the grocery store, and at real estate agencies, just like heterosexuals do. They eat out at restaurants and shop at Target. Many have pot bellies and don't have much fashion sense, just like me. They own pets, and go to church. They volunteer, sing Christmas carols, and buy Girl Scout cookies. What are you afraid of? What is going to change by allowing these people to commit to one another and enjoy the benefits that you and I enjoy: tax breaks, insurance breaks, bereavement leave, medical leave to care for a sick partner, domestic violence protection, visitation of partner in the hospital, burial determination, medical decisions on behalf of partner. Really sexy stuff. You and I take these things for granted. Nobody wants to go through life not knowing how they will deal with some of these difficult moments in life. Imagine if you were denied any of the above rights when the time came for you and your spouse to exercise that right? I'll tell you what it would feel like. It would feel like you were a second-class citizen.

So, if you're a North Carolina citizen, and you care about equality, please make yourself heard. Whether you're straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer, speak up. Educate yourself about the May amendment vote. Donate, volunteer, tweet, post Facebook statuses, blog, talk to your churches, your neighbors, your friends and relatives. Help them understand the science behind sexual orientation, and help them understand the importance of voting on May 8. 'Like' the organizations that are working to fight this amendment, and stay informed (EqualityNC, HRC). Repost articles and blog posts to keep friends aware.

There is a lot of work to be done. There are many things each of us can do. But we can't be indifferent.

"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." - Elie Wiesel





377 comments:

  1. Great post dude, thanks for that ... it's depressing when we can look at the state of same-sex marriage laws around the world and declare that South Africa (yes, THAT South Africa, the one we all boycotted in the 80's over the whole apartheid thing) legalised same-sex marriage.

    Yes, you can actually say that South Africa is technically more progressive than most US states ... there's something very wrong about that :)

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  2. Well put, and I may just steal snippets of this (and credit you) for a talking points piece I'm working up for this purpose.

    Also: a couple of people have said that they don't believe gay marriage will really affect our state's economic issues. This amendment has the potential to:
    -Drive away businesses that offer same-sex partner/marriage benefits, meaning that the state loses jobs.
    -Drive down our tourism industry (LGBTs and their friends may be less likely to vacation here).
    -Deprive us of the talents, wisdom, and expertise of LGBTs who would potentially move here for a job. (One of the co-founders of Facebook is from Hickory, and he's gay.)
    -Having less LGBTs move here also means less tax revenue.

    So yeah, it affects our economy, too.

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  3. Absolutely wonderful. Incredibly well written.Thank you!

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  4. Great article. I will only add to what you said by noting that the faith-based pro-equality case AGAINST this amendment is stronger than the case being made against gay marriage. It angers me to see the media portray the anti-equality stance as the "Christian" or "religious" stance. In fact, thank you very much, I hope my support of equality is soundly grounded in the teachings of Christ. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." #versestheyliketoforget

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  5. As a married, heterosexual mother of three boys, I just want to give you a standing ovation for a beautifully articulated piece - this mirrors my thoughts, exactly, thank you so much for putting it so eloquently.

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  6. thanks for the kind words.

    @john - i agree with you. although i am not a christian, i grew up in the faith, have many wonderful christian friends and family who are pro-equality, and you are 100% correct, and anyone who uses the Bible to defend their bigotry is simply cherry-picking scripture and displaying willful ignorance (or not so willful ignorance).

    @evangeline -- all great points. i actually wrote this pretty quickly and i am sure there are many other arguments that i left out, but these were the ones that immediately came to mind. thanks for sharing those re: the economy.

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  7. Excellent and thank you. The only thought you did not cover is that gay marriage is legal in Canada and a bunch of other places. Have divorce rates increased in those locales since gay marriage has Been approved? Have straight Canadians reported a decline in satisfaction in their marriages due to gays? We are not reinventing the wheel. We need to use comparable data to dispel the rhetoric.

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  8. What does this have to do with trans people? Cis-gay marriage is cis-gay. Stop the erasure and appropriation!

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  9. Phenomenally well-said, covering all the angles. Many thanks!

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  10. From one heterosexual married guy to another, thank you for putting this so eloquently. My wife and I don't need the state to "defend" our marriage, thank you very much.

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  11. If we're going to grant rights to LGBT, why not open the gateways and grant rights to brother/sisters and polygamists. I'm sure many guys would jump at the chance to marry several women. Oh wait, its not normal? Says who...

    The reality is, despite attraction, its not healthy. I cannot donate blood if I'm in a gay relationship. Our local gay neighborhood is plastered with "HIV:Get tested" billboards (which are only seen elsewhere in the poorest neighborhoods). Procreation, a very NATURAL and biological necessity, is not possible in a homosexual relationship except through modern-day help (which goes against evolution's very premise of survival of the fittest). The reality is there are actual health risks involved in pursuing a gay relationship, which is not the case with our previous issues of race.

    So, yes, I believe it is ENTIRELY possible for a boy and girl to grow up attracted to his/her same gender. Genetics? I doubt it. Unless you're talking behavioral genetics. But there is no gene that links someone to being gay. Otherwise 100% of identical twins would follow the same orientation as their sibling. That's not the case.

    Overall, I understand its a rights issue. But natural? Sure, it might be found in nature. But that is the exception, not the rule. If you were going to take a vote, you'd find that biology supports heterosexuality.

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  12. If a hetero married couple is afraid of the possibility that a gay couple can claim married as a status ... well, there are much larger issues in their marriage.

    Thank you for writing such a wonderfully enlightening piece. I shall be sharing it everywhere!

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  13. I love this piece.

    I am surprised that the Anonymous comment could write ignorance so eloquently and be so afraid that her/his comments be left without a name.

    People who are secretly homophobic but hide it are a real problem with this nation based upon fear.

    Again thank you for posting this. When anyone embraces the cause of another it's always a beautiful thing!

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  14. Thank you and well said!

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  15. Dude, from one married guy with three kids to another, you rock.

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  16. Anonymous said...
    If we're going to grant rights to LGBT, why not open the gateways and grant rights to brother/sisters and polygamists. I'm sure many guys would jump at the chance to marry several women. Oh wait, its not normal? Says who...
    Overall, I understand its a rights issue. But natural? Sure, it might be found in nature. But that is the exception, not the rule. If you were going to take a vote, you'd find that biology supports heterosexuality.
    September 15, 2011 2:35 PM

    Not natural? says who?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_animals_displaying_homosexual_behavior

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  17. @Anon: So, if Procreation is necessary for marriage, why do we let post-menopausal women and sterile men and women to get married?

    And if HIV is primarily found among homosexuals, why is HIV infection greatest in Africa among straight men?

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  18. Part of the issue here is that marriage is not MERELY an institution for the convenience of adults but the building stone of culture to sustain itself through having and nurturing children. The institution of marriage between and man a woman is very clear and of extreme importantance to society. Yes, homosexual couples can adopt children. But do a little research and you'll find that adoption by homosexual couples is rare.

    For those of you comparing what occurs in the natural animal kingdom compared to what happens in human lives should stop. Really. Stop. We have the capacity to operate above that of animals. And the next time I want your and decide to rip your throat out or decide to eat one of my children please don't think twice about it. After all it's natural.

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  19. Thank you for this excellent post.

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  20. @Freeze Frame

    Also, all married couples with no kids should be forced to get a divorce if they have no offspring after 3 years. The human race is dying out, everyone must reproduce, or be punished.

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  21. Wanna have a talk with my parents? Thanks for the blog. Very well spoken.

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  22. Another heterosexual male saying thanks for eloquently articulating why this proposed amendment needs to be reject at the ballot box.

    I do find it sadly humorous that one of the arguments for this amendment is that marriage between a man and a woman is the necessary cornerstone of society for raising and nurturing children. It's as if legalizing gay marriage is going to stop all of the heterosexuals from procreating. Let's get real amendment supporters, the urge to find a mate and procreate predates known Biblical history by many thousands of years.

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  23. So true that people who want less government influence are all too quick to jump on the pro-government bandwagon when it serves their bigoted beliefs.

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  24. @ TarHeel_83 - It is no more humurous than trying to justify homosexuality in humans becuase it happens in nature.

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  25. @really? I think you need to look at the wonderful pie chart included in this article.

    Believe it or not, there are gay people all around you who already live as married couples, just without the legal protections and advantages that hetero couples enjoy.

    What exactly would change in your life or the life of your friends and neighbors if those people could all of a sudden file joint tax returns? THE HORROR!

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  26. At the end of the day this is about equal rights for humans. It's not about religious, political or sexual orientaiton.

    People like "Really?" live in a fantasy world where they suppose that a gay family cannot be a "cornerstone of society for raising and nurturing children". Of course, this is wildy false, and in fact the real issue is about good vs bad parenting. Atrocious parenting is committed by heterosexual parents every day. People like him/her make this argument because they are afraid to change the status quo. It's fine to be afraid, but letting your fear infect legislation and bring injustice to an entire population of people is wrong.

    So let's not get the real issue confused. The real issue is about equal rights for all humans, and if you're not into that, then you are clearly a moral monster.

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  27. What a wonderful post. I find the whole anti gay rhetoric boils down to fear but fear of what?

    My aunt and her partner got married when Conn first legalized same sex marriages. Spending time with them didn't stop me from getting married to my husband, having children, or going to church.
    You would think that with the ongoing disaster we call an economy; no homes, no jobs, businesses failing everyday, that we would focus more on that then denying a group of people who just want what everyone else has-the right to marry someone they love.

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  28. A moral monster? Statistics verify the structure of the traditional family as the approach to raising children that gives the best measurable results. The overwhelming body of social science research agrees that children do best when raised in homes with married, opposite-sex parents. Every child has the right to both a mom and a dad. I am sure that you are well aware that there are crucial sex differences in parenting and that children thrive most fully when raised by a mother and a father.

    Ok, you want equal rights? Explain to someone why they can't marry their mother. Or sister or a minor child. Why can't a person then have multiple wives or husbands? Any of that ever cross your mind or did you just crank up the "go-gay" machine and set it to auto? What can of worms are you opening?

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  29. Re: government intrusion: Anti-gay activists see gay marriage as another aspect of evil "big government"; they see it as oppression of Christians via the "redefinition" of marriage. That is, of course, bullshit; if all marriages were Biblical, non-Christians wouldn't care about getting married. Christianity does not have a monopoly on the concept of marriage, much as they'd like to believe otherwise.

    And why should they care about the rights of gays? Focus on the Family and other propaganda organizations have taught them that gays simply have "unordered attractions" that can be overcome with a healthy dose of prayer and psychologically damaging reparative therapy.

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  30. I am gay and I oppose gay marriage. Sorry, but your attempt at showing the world how "enlightened" and forward-thinking you are really just makes you look ignorant.

    Not all gay people are far-left nuts like yourself, and it irritates me to no end when I am patronized by individuals like you just because I happen to be gay. I don't need you or the government to look out for me or "protect" my rights; I already have equal rights and am doing just fine.

    I do not need marriage to have legal benefits and as far as I am concerned, that really doesn't matter, because we all live in this state and all should have a say how it is governed. For that reason, I am glad that the people of North Carolina will be voting on marriage.

    Regardless of how you or I may feel about it, I predict the ban passes 70-30.

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  31. Kathy Dettwyler, AnthropologistSeptember 15, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. I immediately post a link to this essay as required reading for all three of my anthropology classes at the University of Delaware (Intro to Cultural Anthro, Intro to Biological Anthro, and Evolution of Human Sex Roles and Reproduction). Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you.

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  32. Anonymous, you say you don't need marriage to have legal benefits, but this amendment says it will ban any legal relationship recognition for same-sex couples. That means to me that gays/lesbians will not be able to enter into legal contracts, like health care surrogates, designating that one's biological kids should go to their partner upon the parent's death, hospital visitation rights, etc. DEF SHEPHARD, thank you for an excellent article. As a lesbian I can say it moves me deeply when heterosexual advocates/comrades speak for the my rights. Thank you. (Sorry I have to post as anonymous as I can't figure out how else to post. I am Sue from TAllahassee, Florida)

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  33. Wow, if you're going to debate, do it with intelligence.

    Freeze Frame: Where did I say procreation was necessary for marriage? I simply said its not naturally POSSIBLE in a homosexual relationship.

    Regarding Africa? The Virgin Cure + HIV is contagious. That's why. Not to say others can't get it, but the overwhelming odds are that being gay and sexually active puts you at the greatest risk for acquiring the virus. And I'd like to know where you get your statistics. As I understood it, more WOMEN were infected due to rape and passing it along during gestation. But I could be wrong. Either way, that was kind of a stupid point as I wasn't arguing who had HIV but who HIV campaigns advertise to. Trust me, those advertisements are not in my suburban community. Weird.

    And Ott, I said homosexuality in nature was the exception, not the rule. Are you really arguing that point with your wikipedia link? You honestly disagree? I think something as simplistic as our population growth should be evidence enough that heterosexuality would win the popular vote.

    The reality is, you guys are right....government isn't playing fair. Somehow, someway, somebody is going to disagree with the government. It's like a law, I'm sure. I'd say get marriage out of the government altogether. Put it in the church and let government recognize civil unions.

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  34. @Anonymous - How nice of you to speak for the rest of the gay population. I'm sure they'll appreciate you being their big gay representative.

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  35. Def, I am the Assistant Editor for San Diego Gay & Lesbian News ... we have a worldwide reach ... can I interview you and run this blog post?? you can reach me at morgan@sdgln.com

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  36. You sir are doing a fantastic job with your family, thank you for your support of mine.

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  37. If you say that any arguments against gay marriage or non-issue, i agree. But then again, marriage is really a purely religious thing. I think the real argument to make for that point is: marriage should not be recognized at all by the gov't.

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  38. North Carolina, where it's legal to marry your cousin, but not your partner.

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  39. "North Carolina, where it's legal to marry your cousin, but not your partner"...... Precisely....cause that makes sense!!
    Thank you... awesome for the Suppot Str8 father of 3!! kudos!!

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  40. This is perhaps the most brilliant and beautiful article I've read on the subject. It brought tears to my eyes on more than a few occasions. I wish our country had more dads like you.

    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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  41. @Anonymous said...
    "Otherwise 100% of identical twins would follow the same orientation as their sibling. That's not the case."

    Identical twins are not "identical". Case in point 20% of identical twins have one that is left handed and one that is right handed.

    "I think the real argument to make for that point is: marriage should not be recognized at all by the gov't. "

    Marriage was created by government (or the governing authority of the time) not religion. It was religion who later co-opted it.

    "I do not need marriage to have legal benefits and as far as I am concerned, that really doesn't matter, because we all live in this state and all should have a say how it is governed."

    You DO need marriage to have the legal benefits. Good luck speaking for your partner if he/she is in the hospital and unable to make decisions. Good luck crafting a legal agreement of any kind under this law. Its you who are ignorant of the basic law. And civil rights should never be left up to a majority vote. If that was the case - North Carolina would still allow you to own slaves.

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  42. 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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  43. This is the best post I have seen about the marriage law. So well written, to the point and logical. Thank you. I will share this.

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  44. 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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  45. Truly some of the clearest, most rational logic on the topic I have ever read. Bravo, sir.

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  46. Dana and Melissa in NCSeptember 15, 2011 at 8:22 PM

    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.

    Thank you!

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  47. 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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  48. Thank you for your kind words! The world need more people like you! :)

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  49. Extremely well said. THANK YOU!

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  50. To quote Marisa Tomei from "My Cousin Vinnie" -

    "Dead-on balls accurate!"

    You have taken every point that I have made and wrapped them all up into a nice, concise, coherent essay. Lately I have been so agitated by the ignorance that perpetrates such nonsense that I've struggled to write more than a couple of coherent sentences. If it weren't for the age and sex of your children I could just plagiarize your writing word-for-word. :-)

    As it is, I'll share your excellent work far and wide as I campaign against this atrocious referendum and the people who allowed it to move forward.

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  51. Shep, I have have always adored your writing, but this is the first thing you have written that has given me goosebumps & truly has me riled up. BRAVO!

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  52. Well written, but as soon as you rejected God from the equation I could not take another word seriously. Pursuing a humanist agenda by its very nature goes in many directions we should never pursue, and I'm sad to say that this looks like another such case. Humanism is too much in favor of what we want, rather than what we need--hence why we are such sinful beings. Humanism rules in our culture, and folks, it ain't pretty.

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  53. 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. peace-denita purser

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  54. Thank you! One day soon, same-sex rights will be nationally recognized and protected. I hope that NC will be leading the nation to grant these basic civil rights....not legislating discrimination.

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  55. One of the above people arguing against gay marriage said: "Put it in the church and let government recognize civil unions," Please read the proposed NC legislation. This legislation states that marriage between a man and woman is the "only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State." SB 514. While it permits private contracts, good luck collecting state survivorship benefits, or state sanctioned benefits such as alimony, or equitable distribution, or child support, or much else.

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  56. First of all this is an incredibly enlightening editorial Def Shep. I am so proud of the way you and Nancy are raising your family to love thy neighbor regardless of their sexual identity, orientation, race, religion, etc. Keep propagating. Create an army of youngerns that will spread this positive and no-nonsense approach to their fellow citizens, gay and straight! Soon, the ignants will ne outnumbered! Second, I LOVE the pie chart. I cannot decide which is funnier. The pie chart or the comment made by Evangeline about the gay guy who doesn't want your help. What was it? "I am sure that all the homosexuals in North Carolina are glad that you are their big gay representative." Farging genius. Sheer hilarious genius. Love you E. - Kathy Poindexter

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  57. This is such a well written article and very eloquent. I'm short on time, so I can't post everything I'd like, but I'm so tired of the Christian right thinking that they have the right to control EVERYTHING!!!! And who says Christianity is not a bunch of bull? What about other religions? How do you know that Buddhism isn't the correct religion? Or Judaism? get off your high horses and realize there are millions of people in the world... and not all of them believe the same as you! If you do not believe in homosexuality, that's fine. Deal with it in your personal life. And the procreation thing... in case you haven't noticed, the earth is becoming overpopulated! So if there are a few marriages that do not produce offspring, is it really that big of a deal? And what about the heterosexual that chose to not have children... should their marriages be nullified? And some of those homosexual couples can adopt and give good homes to children with NO parents at all. Can that really be a bad thing? I don't think so! My goodness... I could go on and on! Please just get your head out of your butts and realize these people are human... and should have the same human rights as you do! If it is wrong in the eyes of YOUR God, then let him be the judge when that time comes. But I was raised Christian, and I believe the God I learned about is a loving and forgiving God. Heaven help the children of these homophobes that may be gay... they, unfortunately, will probably end up as one of the suicide statistics.

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  58. 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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  59. I have never understood how someone can't (or refuses) to see the difference between one adult marrying another consenting adult. Not a child, not a dog. People are blind as hell to not understand the concept that polygamy hurts the many wives in the marriage, (although in the Bible, for those who like to wave it around in their fists, they did this frequently) pedophilia hurts an innocent child, not to mention a dog can't talk-how can people really not understand how different that is from two unrelated, grown-ass CONSENTING ADULTS loving each other.

    Awesome article, thanks.

    And I'm only posting as Anonymous so I can post quickly, you can call me Judy.

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  60. Thank you but...
    1) Don't advertise your heterosexuality. Who cares?
    2) Let's please oh please get beyond taking about whether or not someone's sexuality is a choice. MAybe it is maybe it isn't but it definitely is not anyone else's business.

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  61. Thank you so much for putting so eloquently into words what I could not. I'm a hetero ally in the fight for equality. Married, mom to boys as well. We live in NY and I was active in our fight for equality here. I hope that this tolerance, love, and understanding continues to spread. As you said, generations from now, they will look back upon these times and marvel at how ignorant we were to not accept love in all forms.

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  62. One can't possibly defend institutionalized prejudice and oppression by saying that gay marriage shouldn't be allowed because one can not procreate with another human of the same sex. This whole survival of the fittest thing is a little ridiculous. What about parents who are heterosexual, but biologically can't have a baby? What if the woman can't get pregnant, or the man has lack luster sperm and his little guys won't swim? Then what? Should they not be married because they can't procreate? Give me a break! And some anti-gay supporters may say, well get invitro or adopt. I know many couples who have tried invitro and failed. I also know quite a few who have succeeded. It's not up to you to decide who should or should not be able to get married.

    I don't go around asking if it's okay that heterosexuals get married. Thank you to all those who support gay marriage. It's just a way for those who LOVE one another to have the same rights in a same sex relationship as those who are in a heterosexual relationship.

    I know better than to generalize heterosexuals by saying that you all judge the gays and blah blah blah. It's important to point out that there are some great heterosexual people out there, who understand the value of LOVE, and how important it is to us all.

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  63. IMPORTANT WORDS FOR EVERYONE AROUND THE GLOBE as we move to Marriage Equality
    We move closer when individuals like Eric Shepherd stand up and take action

    Thank you, Eric

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  64. The world needs more open-minded people like you. LOVE will win in the end!

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  65. WOW! DID U MISS ANYTHING? Now can you hop over to THE AMERICAN JOBS ACT! ASK ALL YOUR SUPPORTERS TO BACK OBAMA AND GET SOME JOBS LEGISLATION PASSED BEFORE THE 2012 ELECTION! OBAMA SHOULD HIRE YOU! YOU PLEASE SEND THAT TO EVERY SENATOR AND TEA BAGGER ESPECIALLY MICHELLE BACHMAN AND COMPANY!I AM SURE SHE RAISED OR ADOPTED A GAY KID BECAUSE SHE IS OBSESSED WITH REPEALING DONT ASK DONT TELL. I MEAN SHE IS LITERALLY LEAKING PEE THINKING ABOUT IT! http://youtu.be/MQb6eXyGIk8 STAND UP LET YOUR VOICES BE HEARD YOUR OPINION COUNTS TODAY!

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  66. Beautiful. Thank you for your clear thoughts, eloquently stated.

    STB

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  67. Thank you for such a wonderful article! I have shared this on my Facebook page, and would encourage others to share it far and wide. I am a straight married lady and a committed ally from Georgia, where all too often I hear the same tired arguments attempting to justify the denial of civil rights to fellow citizens. It's completely ridiculous, and I look forward to the day when posts like this are no longer necessary.

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  68. Thank you. That was a well-written and reasoned out argument and the quotes from Wiesel well chosen.

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  69. This brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for making such a well-grounded, well-cited argument. And thank you for not being neutral - for being a voice amongst the chatter. Your voice makes a difference.

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  70. I don't even know what to say except.. Thank you! Thank you so much!

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  71. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  72. You sir, are my hero.

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  73. James, you're right, but you need to acknowledge that anti-gay folks cannot afford to access emotional feelings about their gay neighbors. They can't afford to empathize. It would mean that they would have to affirm those feelings, and they can't do that. You'll notice that the anti-gay marriage arguments made right here in this list of comments have all focused on minutiae in Shep's argument or have stopped short of any kind of empathy, a major tenet of Christianity, by the way. Something about walking a mile in another's shoes?

    Anti-gay (marriage) folks love to bring out the super-scary HIV card, but they fail to acknowledge--because it's too risky--that the largest group of folks infected with HIV in the US is straight African-Americans. (But if we acknowledge that, then we have to consider some distasteful prohibitions that would never fly in this outrageous lefty Socialist PC culture, no?) AIDS/HIV first spread in the early 1980s through the gay community, but in the last twenty years, those numbers have flipped drastically. Check the CDC for more information; it's all there. STDs and HIV are a red herring. Don't feed it.

    Other arguers like to fight the religious debate: we are a nation built on Christian values, and those values need to be reflected in the law. However, as George Carlin said, these are also the first people to scream that churches shouldn't have to pay taxes. They pull out the Christian card when it's convenient, but the scripture they quote is all Old Testament, not Jesus' New Covenant: to love one another as He has loved us.

    I also suspect that the person claiming to be gay in not in favor of gay rights is not at all gay. Perhaps gay-happy, but not gay-gay. While many gay folks may not be interested in gay marriages, they are not likely against it--same as straight folks.

    If your argument is procreation, just give it up. We don't legislate who does and does not procreate. We tried that once; we called it eugenics. It was an evil, broken policy.

    The "What's next? Marrying your mother? Your dog?" argument is what folks educated in rhetoric know as the slippery slope fallacy. What happens if we let black people vote? Then they'll rise up and enslave whites. Didn't happen. If we let women join the military, then they will distract our male soldiers, which will keep them from fighting. It will stop women from breeding...somehow. Didn't happen! Sorry.

    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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  74. I have sent this to someone near and dear to me, who is gay, and right now very depressed about the recent anti-gay attacks by Republican hopefuls and other right-wingers, and evangelical-leaning churches. Beautifully written, well researched, wonderful, and as the straight sister of a wonderful gay younger brother, I sincerely thank you!

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  75. My partner and I celebrated our 20th year of commitment and dedication to each other on 9/12. Thanks for your support DefShep.

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  76. LOVED THIS!!! I hope this post circulates like wildfire on the news and social media networks. People need to read this. Thank you for writing an intelligent piece of brilliance!

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  77. This is fantastic. I read it twice today, and will read it again and again, I'm sure.

    As a Christian I am saddened by the behavior of others who say they share my faith. Jesus was not a hater. Unfortunately, some people seem to forget that.

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  78. But it is legal to marry your second cousin in NC..they don't want gays, they want inbreeding.

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  79. Honestly, I do not care one bit if LGBT's have the same legal rights. That's fine My onely objection is the use of the word 'marriage". Marriage is strictly Male-Female. Chew on me all you want I just like the word's meaning to remain. Give the LGBT's every other right, I really do not care. If they want to mess up their lives that way, that's their problem. Me, I wish I never married myself.

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  80. Just wanted to comment on what you said about children with lesbian parents doing better than other children. Studies have been done linking girls without fathers to experiment with sex at a younger age. And also boys without fathers as being more prone to be in trouble with the law. Just saying... you need to look at all the aspects of the argument. That being said I believe in civil unions... marriage first started as a religious thing anyways.

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  81. With regards to the author's perspectives, and not the issue itself, sorry, but whenever I encounter an individual that claims that religious beliefs are not good reasons for taking a stance on anything that has a moral factor, I consider that individual's input to be utter rubbish. If a person TRULY believes in his religion, especially if his religion involves a god or gods that provided a moral code and involves a judgment by that god or gods, then that person taking a stance against the religious teachings he believes is utterly imbecilic. It's as if the author is saying "Well, you may actually believe that God exists, that He knows better than anyone what is right and wrong, and that He can punish you for doing wrong, but that has no bearing on this matter. Ignore what you believe to be true, because I believe otherwise and my beliefs are better." Far from being humanist, that actually sounds de-humanizing to me.

    Concerning science, which I also feel very strongly about, the idea that a complex human behavior like sexuality is actually determined by genetics, hormones, and/or environment is not only unscientific but also absurd. There are correlations between sexuality and some or all of those factors. That's what the literature says. There is a correlation. Those factors do not determine sexuality. Since the experimenters cannot have good control groups or good methods of isolating certain factors, it is very difficult or impossible to indicate how much of a correlation one factor might truly have. To extrapolate conclusions of some factors determining a complex behavior based on so little data (especially data that you can't isolate well) is very wishful and horribly unscientific. So, I may not think everyone that conducted such experiments did poor research, but I think anyone that concludes that sexuality cannot change based on choice is not using scientific reasoning (or not using it very well, at any rate). Such horribly uninformed conclusions that sexuality does not involve choice throws us into a particularly difficult realm of thinking that ignores people that have chosen to be celibate (people that have chosen to be non-sexual), ignores people that were of one sexuality and chose to switch to a different sexuality, and almost always glazes over bisexuality without any consideration.

    Lastly, why would anyone think that following what one believes morally (such as, say, one's religion) equates to wanting to cause suffering in others? As if Catholics wanted unbaptized babies to go to hell... As if Muslims wanted to be forbidden to eat bacon... As if Jews wanted to circumcise their sons... My counter: why would a humanist write an article that might blatantly and seriously insult and dehumanize so many humans?

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  82. Beautiful! I fail to understand how so-called "moral" people can support such blatant discrimination! Perhaps a compromise can be made. Those who oppose Gay marriage, will agree to forfeit their marriage tax break. If someone believes they have the right to decide who should be allowed to wed, then maybe they don't deserve the benefits marriage affords!

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  83. Bravo! Kind Sir! Bravo!

    We LOVE ALL of our straight allies!

    Thank you for taking a stand and giving a damn about equality!

    Louis and Tim Cook
    Phoenix, AZ

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  84. Wow! You are right on it!

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  85. 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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  86. awesome I would also like to state as others have that they say this is wrong but they said that about interracial marriages as well. they get their objections from people who see it as a religious issue (even if they cover it up). America is founded on Freedom, of religion, speech, etc. There is also a separation of church and state. I believe in God, not in the MEN(<--- humans = flaws)who decided the "rules". If America is about being free and equality why are they infringing. Honestly if they want to get married let them its not like your in the house. Your views are not the only ones. We have free will let us use it.

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  87. Ok, it's 2:00 in the morning and I need to go to bed, so I'll try to keep this short.

    A) This is the most beautiful and lucid argument of this point that I have read. Ever. And it's an issue I've followed, because I heartily agree with every point you've made. And then some.

    B) 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)

    C) 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?

    D) Because it really is late and I really do need to go to bed, I'm going to throw out my one apparent irrelevancy:
    Has anyone ever considered that part of the reason it is so easy for so many people to dehumanize the homosexual community is that we have allowed "homosexual" and "gay" to become nouns? When one refers to him or herself as heterosexual, the sentence comes out either "I am heterosexual" or "I am a heterosexual man/woman/parent/(insert noun here)". We use the term as an adjective. One descriptor of a person. Yet still "we" refer to homosexual people as "homosexuals" or "gays" rather than homosexual men or women or parents. Unlike heterosexuality, which is "normal" and therefore only a single facet of a person, our society allows us to focus solely on sexuality and make being homosexual the only relevant thing about a person. It may seem nitpicky, but psychologically, taking away the part of the title that makes someone a person is very powerful.

    Good night.

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  88. OK, we can't be indifferent. Well here's my opinion. You can't take religion out of this decision. As a believer, you cannot just accept sin as a normal activity - even though we all sin. Every person on this earth has to fight the urge to sin. If we didn't, there could be no civilzation. It would be like saying, "ok, people are stealing, raping, murdering, lusting, coveting - whatever - leave it alone!" God identifies sin so we will know our boundaries. Look at God's laws, if we all did our very best to keep them, this earth could be a wonderland! You have to continue to fight the urge to sin. It's much easier to say "it's our nature". And it is our nature to be drawn to sin. A gay lifestyle is a sinful lifestyle, period. To accept a sinful life goes completely against what this country was founded for - religious freedom. That religion was Christianity. The bible clearly states the practice of homosexuality is a sin. You trying to force others to accept this lifestyle as normal is one more way to undermine the foundation of this country, which has been done to the point that really, this country has no footing to stand on anymore.

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  89. Very well said.

    Unfortunately, the US comprises, as I understand it (as an Ozzie), a vast majority of people who say things like: "As a believer, you cannot just accept sin as a normal activity".

    So your chance of achieving a tolerant and equal society, for gay people, is, how can I put this: less than zero.

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  90. I am incredibly happy to have the opportunity to live in North Carolina and be able to vote AGAINST THIS PROPOSAL. While I am embarrassed it has come to this, I now know that I can do something about it.

    I'm a 26 year old straight male. And my view of this is, put yourself in the 50's, knowing what you know now, which side would you have been on? The "whites" or the "blacks"? I for one will NOT stand around and say "Oh well it was just a common misconception at the time, I'm free and clear because I went with the masses."

    Even if this passes there's NO CHANCE it will not be repealed within the next 10/15 years.

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  91. Bernadette said... (since I don't know how to avoid the Anonymous label option)
    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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  92. 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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  93. @Bernadette - If you are a Bible believing Christian, then you must recognize that there are 9 specific references to homosexuality in the Old Testament and 5 in the New Testament and is always discussed in the Bible as a serious sin. Jesus did reiterate what Moses taught (Genesis 2:24) about marriage and family. Anything contrary to this—any sexual relationship outside of a committed marriage relationship between one man and one woman—demeans the institution of marriage and is unbiblical. Jesus was quite clear about his contempt for sexual immorality.

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  94. For those of you yelling "SIN, SIN"!!! In a panic as you wring your hands and pace the floor, check out godhatesshrimp.com


    Oh, and Really? What did Jesus say about homosexuality? Just cite what Jesus said, chapter and verse.

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  95. Also, Really-do you or have you ever braided your hair? Worn gold or pearls? The New Testament says that's a no no too.

    Or we can get into Leviticus, oh, the fun we can have there! Hope you are not eating those sinful shrimp cocktails!

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  96. Thank you so much for your amazing and thoughtful post, Eric Shepherd.

    I believe we are currently living in the 21st century's Civil Rights Era, and it is a duty of each of us to take a stand on equality. Being neutral never helped anyone! I am so happy that you as a heterosexual father have told your story and made your opinons known. Hopefully you will help open people's minds with your careful rationality and heartfelt personal experience. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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  97. @Really - you are a bigot. Stop using your religion as your excuse.

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  98. How weird that I was making these same arguments in my head on the way home this morning from dropping my kids off at school. I Also want to point out that when you make a "religious" opinion in to a political law you at setting yourself up for a time when your view is no longer in the majority and someone else will have the right to tell you how to live your life based on their religion. Oh and that the bible teaches that loving and respect your neighbor is one of the most important things you can do.

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  99. I am no bigot. You people are trying to open Pandora's box. Again - explain to someone why they can't marry their mother. Or sister or a minor child. Why can't a person then have multiple wives or husbands? Any of that ever cross your mind or did you just crank up the "go-gay" machine and set it to auto? What can of worms are you opening?

    Now everyone seems to be Bible experts? Good grief. Christians no longer live under Mosaic law. That ended the moment Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross. Google it if you are unclear as to what Mosaic law was and what it means now.The gold and pearls? Really, people, that verse in Timothy makes the point that a person's true beauty comes from within and is properly expressed by good deeds rather than showy clothing and jewelry. Keep things in context please. Please do read Leviticus again, keep things in context. Godhatesshrimp.com is silly and in fact misleading. It is spreading fear and in all honesty a bit of hate because without studying those verses you'll come away with exactly what that author wants and that is for you to think Christians, God or whoever hates you. Shame on him or her for attempting to use the Bible and SCARE you into thinking what they want you to think. Do you have any idea why Moses taught about not eating bottom-feeding types of fish and animals? I am guessing that you don't. Think about it a minute and you might figure it out on your own. It wouldn't have anything to do with something as simple as undercooking and disease would it? Would it? I have found that more often than not it is the homosexual community that attempts to use the Bible as a weapon and the only people that they are hurting with it are those that have no clue what is in it or what is in it actually means. Let me make this clear. GOD DOES NOT HATE YOU. GOD HATES SIN. GOD LOVES THE PERSON.

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  100. Excellent article, well put, and supported with great information. I also hope your boys grow up in a state and nation that embrace committed couples and families, no matter their sexual orientation.

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  101. Your article was wonderful. I will pass it on to as many as I can.

    Interesting comments. Those that are open hearted accept and appreciate. Those that are close minded fear and disparage to make themselves feel better. So sad.

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  102. We all feel bad for you, Really. Maybe someday you'll be loving person like the rest of us. I'll pray for that.

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  103. this is absolutely beautiful. thank you so much for writing this - it's going viral as we speak (literally, at least six people on my FB alone have shared it in the past 24 hours).

    and Really? let's revisit not eating shrimp because of diseases & undercooking. if you're going to use a logical argument for that, then you need to also consider a logical argument for the "no homo" part of Leviticus: perhaps, since the world was so new, that particular section was added to continue the population of the world. as we've evolved and are now both overpopulated & in possession of tools that will help us cook shrimp until it's fully done, I think it's safe to say that the laws of Leviticus are irrelevant, eh? of course, the fact that the laws of Leviticus were written SPECIFICALLY for Israeli priests doesn't even seem to factor into your "logic."
    also, someone wouldn't be able to marry a minor child because IT'S A MINOR CHILD. minors don't have rights as legal adults do - because they're CHILDREN. people who use that preposterous argument are frantically grasping at straws - you know it, I know it, we all know it. as for your incestuous arguments, if you'll go back & read that Book you hold so dear, you'll notice that there are PLENTY of incestuous relationships running rampant. and btw? first-cousin marriage is legal in more states than equal marriage - look THAT up.

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  104. @ Really?
    You keep bringing up this issue of "explain to someone why they can't marry their mother. Or sister or a minor child. Why can't a person then have multiple wives or husbands?" In terms of the issue of relationships between family members (in other words, inbreeding) it surprises me that someone as educated as you seem to think yourself does not understand that scientifically and genetically, inbreeding has been shown to bring with it a number of negative side-effects. Ever taken high school biology? Ever heard of the British royal family's increased incident of hemophilia as a result of inbreeding(http://www.as.wvu.edu/~kgarbutt/QuantGen/Gen535_2_2004/Inbreeding_Humans.htm)? To address your equating an adult entering a relationship with a minor child to the issue of homosexual relationships, this comparison does not hold. The issue of gay marriage concerns the relationship between two consenting adults; comparing this scenario to the scenario of pedophilia is the same as comparing a heterosexual marriage between adults to pedophilia. This same argument holds for your comparison to Polygamy, in that there is absolutely no basis for the comparison beyond the fact that you seem to consider both things to be abnormal. If you want to make drastic comparisons to catch people's attention, at least make sure they're educated and not just based on your own personal views.

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  105. Your article was well articulated, but did not change my beliefs - and I still oppose gay marriage.

    I support gay couples being able to enter into a civil union, where they can enjoy the same legal benefits as married couples. I believe that homosexuality is NOT a choice, but just feel that marriage is a sacred institution that should remaing for men and women.

    I'm happy to live in a society where we are free to discuss our beliefs. However, your side of the argument of late has been hateful in its argument, dismissing the fact that there are millions of people out there who think and feel like me - we don't hate gay people, we love them as neighbors, brothers and sisters, co-workers and friends, yet we still want to honor the institution of marriage.

    Hope this helps.

    Me.

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  106. 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. http://vimeo.com/25573237

    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

    Many blessings and love to all of you!

    Shannon Foster

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  107. Shannon:

    Thanks for your insights, and again...don't hate those of us who do not support your beliefs. We love you, and we respect your right to live in peace with your partner. We want you have the same rights as married couples. We do not want you to be discrimated against. We want the same things as you - but want to keep marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

    Having your own institution for a union will get you where you where you want to be - where you will be equal to marrige, just called something else "Civil Union," etc.

    Me

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  108. Watch out, he'll be announcing his campaign bid soon! My feelings from the beginning have been that those on the ballot in NCs Primary want a way to get the most votes possible. So, they add this to the docket to get this target group out and voting. This move has not been made for moral, ethical, or civil reasons...it's purely political. End of story.
    Lisa, NC

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  109. To the most recent Anonymous:
    I appreciate your tone and the respect with which you are presenting your view. I would just like to caution you however on the approach that you are taking. Many people, whether within the gay community or not, rebel against the view of marriage as an institution that must be preserved because it is, in fact, NOT an institution at all. Marriage has existed in many different forms around the world throughout history. To say that it is an institution would be to say that it has always existed in the same form and with the same set of designations, and this is not true. I am going to make an assumption that may not hold true for you but at least holds true for many: in the U.S. what many consider to be "the institution of marriage" is based off a Christian concept. As a presumably secular nation, that concept is therefore not a valid foundation of legislation and policy, and does not deserve to be the sole factor in defining what marriage is in our country.

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  110. Thank you for this. My partner (of 18 yrs) and our twin 3 yr olds thank you.

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  111. As long as there are truly religious people in a democratic republic such as this, religion must have a say in legislation. The reason is because legislation means law, which is supposed to determine what you should or should not do or can and cannot do. Religion provides moral perspective for people that believe it, so religious people must, if they truly believe, include the considerations of what they believe morally based on their religion into what they think should be in law. As long as any attempt to define morality in law exists, religion has a say. There is still separation of church and state because the state will not be backing any specific church or making the priests or pastors any legal authority, but you cannot divide the religious laws from the moral mind of any true believer. Thusly, I don't care how much you say it, religion is valid in this debate as long as there are religious people that believe it.

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  112. Why is not ok for two loving adults to stand up in front of the world, make a commitment, promise to love, support, care for each other, possibly raise a family together....but it is Ok for two adults to raise a family together, unmarried & without a commitment to each other or their community etc. IE the many unmarried couples..many idolized in popular magazines and Hollywood. Living "in sin" and raising a family too, that should rile some feathers.

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  113. Amen. Or, if you prefer, So Say We All. ;)

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  114. Awesome post -- you've explored this issue in a very even-handed way.

    My son is gay. When he came out to me and my wife, I was probably as ignorant about the subject as most people that have not associated with a homosexual person (or at least not knowingly associated, as it's highly likely that most people have at least one acquaintance that is gay; they just haven't been made aware of it). Being as clueless as I was, I held some vague notion that "those people" had chosen to live like that, and was not above hurtful name calling (even in the presence of my son prior to his coming out to us -- which makes me cringe even now).

    After my son came out to us, my wife and I worked to educate ourselves so as to better understand our son and the challenges he'll face in life. I'll be honest: we fully supported him, but even so, I was having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that my son was gay, and that he was "choosing" a path through life that would likely be a difficult one.

    The turning point for me happened one day when my son described how he reacted when he saw a guy he found very attractive -- the mere sight of this person took my son's breath away. Hearing this, I looked back to my own experiences with the opposite sex, and recalled the times I've met a gal that made me react in exactly the same way. It was then that I realized that this wasn't a choice on my son's part, any more than it could possibly be a choice for me -- when I see the kind of woman that is "right" for me, I don't think, "Wow, she's beautiful; I think I'll let her take my breath away." No, my shortness of breath is a reflex. It's an automatic, fundamental part of who I am. Just like my son. Just like everybody else.

    The converse is also true -- the type of people I (or anyone else) personally find *unattractive* is a reflex; it's also not a choice. If I (for example) find red hair unattractive, I am just not going to be interested in a woman with red hair. Additionally, being a heterosexual male, my in-built response to another man is also going to fall into the "unattractive" category -- a fact which, I imagine, also drives some of the disgusted reactions you sometimes see when homosexuality is discussed. I think this adds "fuel to the fire" for those that condemn homosexuality (i.e., "as a man I personally find the idea of being sexual with another man highly unattractive; therefore, I cannot see how any other man could possibly feel differently.")

    I think the issue of choice is at the crux of the problem that religious people have with homosexuality. If a religion has the concept of proper and improper behaviors, and that behaving in an improper manner is a willful choice, then any improper behavior (as defined by that religion) that is *not* due to a willful choice presents a paradox -- if the religion holds that a behavior is improper, yet that behavior does not arise from a willful decision, then either: A) the religion's categorization of that behavior as improper is wrong, or B) the religion's categorization of that behavior is correct, and a person's undertaking of that behavior is due to a willful choice. Add in the "I'm not attracted to people of my gender; therefore no other person of my gender can/should be, either" factor, and it's pretty clear that, more often than not, this paradox will be resolved by choosing "B".

    Anyway, just my $0.02...

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  115. Excellent post. The takeaway for me is that marriage equality is an issue that should have broad societal support. It affects straights couples as well as LGBT families in terms of defining the type of society we want to be part of.

    I would like to propose that anti- and pro- sides focus instead on what they can support together. Can we all agree that marriage is good for society? Not because it enshrines sexual passion, but because it affords legal recognition and protection to families. And by family, I refer to a social unit of greater than one. Society confers certain rights and responsibilities to the family because people – and societies – fare better when they are bound to others.

    I've written more about this on my blog post: "In the Name of Love - Same-sex marriage and the right not to be alone."
    http://wp.me/pIqKe-3vJ

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  116. @eshep I just want to point out none of your arguments/reasons mention anything about the T in LGBT (an acronym you seem happy to throw around). I urge you not to erase the T (my family calls it LGB fake T, because gay/queer communities tend to not include trans people).

    These are some great personal reasons to care about the issue. There are also some good *legal* reasons as well, things like health insurance, visitation rights at hospitals, inheritance tax, etc...

    I think Clint Eastwood sums up my thoughts about it (emphasis mine):
    “These people who are making a big deal about gay marriage? I don't give a fuck about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We're making a big deal out of things we shouldn't be making a deal out of. … Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want.”

    It's one of those things I can't believe we have to talk about... there are so many more important things to care about.

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  117. @Daniel (via Daniel said @Freeze Frame):

    "Also, all married couples with no kids should be forced to get a divorce if they have no offspring after 3 years. The human race is dying out, everyone must reproduce, or be punished."

    WHAT?!?!?! Excuse me but this has to be the single most ignorant reason for opposing gay marriage. The human race is FAR from dying out and we could probably stand to have our numbers thinned out before overpopulation and subsequent poor living conditions from impromptu shanty towns give us the REAL health problems that will be near impossible to isolate and treat. Take a look at the overpopulated mega cities like new york, tokyo, mumbai and mexico city - viruses travel quickly through densely populated areas and often mutate into new strains before they can be treated. That would certainly mean more money for the pharmaceutical companies as they continually have new viruses to deal with......almost makes me want to entertain the idea of a conspiracy where the drug reps are behind the push to make same-sex marriage unconstitutional. hahaha, maybe not...that's a little TOO far fetched. But seriously...divorce after 3 years if they don't procreate? What a heap of rubbish.

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  118. I am a woman in a long term relationship with a man. We are getting married next year. It's all about love. If my man was a woman I'd still love, cherish, and marry my partner. It's all about who you are and what makes you the happiest... love is never about the "whats" - the right color, age, sex, religion, etc. This blog post has made me so happy - not only because I'm a huge supporter of marriage equality (I volunteer for marriage equality groups in my state) this is well written and presents facts clearly. Also , you have used the best diagrams!!!! :) I will be sure to share your blog. Please keep writing and we will keep reading.

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  119. I SO agree with the author EXCEPT this statement "Your religious arguments against same-sex marriage belong on that heap of nonsense." Just as we are asking people not to hate us, we have an obligation not to hate them or degrade them or dismiss their religion. Just as we want people to be fair to us, we have to be fair to them. It's not fair to lump all Christians into the "Bigot" or "Haters" category just like its not fair to lump all gays into the "adulterous" or "bad parent" category. "Religion Bashing" or "Conservative Bashing" just like "Gay Bashing" is not going to get us anywhere.

    I'm in a same sex relationship and I am a believer! What I believe is that God loves me, I am a "Whosoever". I sin, just like we all sin. Whether it is because I covet my neighbor's right to be married or if it is because you are a murderer or if your neighbor is a thief. We all sin. God forgives us if we ask Him to. Our aim should be (both for believers and non-believers) to live the best life possible. For me that means working for the Lord, loving people unconditionally, showing the love of Jesus every day in everything I do. I have decided that I'm not waiting for man to determine if being gay is a sin. God has already determined it, he knows. He keeps blessing me and my "family" to do his will and that is what we will do. As for me and my house we will serve the Lord. I have a feeling that when I die, God will evaluate the years that I spent doing his will and his work and he will see a person (not male, female, Jew or Greek) that loved him and sought his kingdom FIRST. And when you die, God will see (hopefully) the same. Not your orientation, not that time you stole gum from the corner store, not the time you lost your virginity in 11th grade.

    So for all those "Christians" out there, ask yourself this: Would Jesus encourage us to treat other humans as second class citizens? Is that what he did when he was here? Was it EVER Jesus' goal to withhold and oppress?

    It's not about "Forcing" religion to accept sin. It's about allowing EVERYONE the right to choose. God allows us that right (to choose Him or not, to choose Life or Death, to choose Good or Bad), he doesn't FORCE or PREVENT us from anything (unless we ask for his guidance after choosing Him) why can't man allow us the same right?

    Politically, I'd like the right to get "Married" but I'll take "Separate yet Equal" Civil Unions for now.

    I also have to say that America has some really great people who have historically fought to the death (sometimes, literally) for the rights of its citizens. Especially for my, rights, three times now. (1.African Americans, 2. Women's Rights, 3. Gay Rights). Regardless of the outcome of this battle,I am truly thankful to those people!

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  120. Thank you so very much for a beautifully written article! As a lesbian with a legally married wife, although I had to go to another state to get the paper and spend hundreds of dollars in legal fees, I appreciate ANY person who goes to any length to help us get the simple basic legal protections. I worry about basic things like getting old together and being able to make legal decisions, or if I die how she'll pay for the estate taxes or even if she'd be able to stay in our home. These are basic things that a heterosexual couple never has to even consider.

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  121. As a hetero father of three in NC, kudos to you for capturing my exact thoughts regarding the apparent position of so many NC GOP'ers.

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  122. chloe from durham, ncSeptember 16, 2011 at 12:52 PM

    A few people said something like: go ahead and have equal rights and responsibilities, but "marriage" is special, please just keep your sticky little gay hands off an institution that has very special meaning to me.

    If you're one of those people, you *must* vote NO on Amendment 1.

    If you support "civil unions" or "rights for gays to choose their partner as the person to make health care decisions, get inheritance, be responsible forever for children they have parented, and hundreds of other rights and responsibilities currently bundled with a marriage license"-- then you *must* vote no on Amendment 1.

    If you vote *no* on Amendment 1:
    -- gays can't get married, because that's the law in NC *now*.

    If you vote "yes" on Amendment 1
    -- gays can't get married, (see above)
    -- *and* gays can't get "civil unioned" (which, actually, we can't do today either, but could do if the *law* was changed. The amendment passing will mean future changes will require another change to the constitution of NC),
    -- *and* non-married couples (of any gender pairing) can't be sure their wills, trusts, and end-of-life directives will not be overturned by a court.
    -- *and* municipalities, like Durham and Chapel Hill, offering health benefits to non-married partners (of any gender) are going to have to drop that coverage.

    Check it out: http://equalitync.org/news1/unc-law-professor-impact-of-revised-anti-gay-amendment

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  123. This is a FABULOUS article! This says EXACTLY everything that I'm feeling inside about this amendment. Thank you SO very much for this. I unfortunately do not have a very eloquent way with words and this is an article that I can share with others to explain exactly how I feel on this. Thank you again!

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  124. PLEASE READ Chloe's post above! If you are for civil unions but against gay marraige, READ THE AMENDMENT! This amendment will completely bar civil unions/domestic partnership rights/legal rights/insurance etc...

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  125. Really-are you female? do you talk in church? At all? do you ever teach other men? Do you keep completely silent? Do you cover your head?

    How do you get to say "oh, those things just mean this, how silly you are"...but then choose what you want to focus on and say that's not silly?

    Also, still waiting for the chapter and verse where jesus talked about those gays.

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  126. Oh and did you really just talk about using the Bible to scare people? For real?

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  127. well written!!!!! i agree wholeheartedly keep up the fight for freedom for all people!!!!!!!

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  128. You are amazing. I am 100% certain of one thing about your boys: they will grow up to be incredible human beings. Family values, humanism, decency, awesomeness, so much more: y'all are definitely doing it right! Thanks for posting, and allowing people to repost and spread this.

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  129. Just awesome! Reposted everywhere.

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  130. Thank you for posting this. I tried to summarize my own feelings a few days ago at https://plus.google.com/114787510452958217350/posts/5AaLQAM9WqJ . My version pales in comparison to yours.

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  131. Thank you for this well written article. It needs to appear in every newspaper across the country. You hit every objection with facts that are well documented and the person notes gave it life. As a gay man who would love to marry his partner one day, thank you!!!

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  132. Does the thought of one male penetrating your son's rectum sit well with you? That is to say, bringing one another to a sexual climax either through oral means or otherwise....does this make you think twice about whether you care if your son is gay or not? Think about that and then get back to me. The intimacy shared between two men or two women has no end to its' means. It is purely a selfish, sexually gratifying act....of course nobody really wants to address the sexual acts of the GL community because that would require talking about the pink elephant in the room. But of course, I am a homophobe because the thought of some guy doing my son makes my skin curl.....just sayin'!

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  133. As a heterosexual father of three sons, like you - that is one of the best articles on the subject I have ever read. Bravo!

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  134. Lauren - Logic states that you think that you have a good grasp on what is being taught in the book of Leviticus. But I feel that you are just using a smoke screen by attempting to discredit the book of Leviticus by just tossing out there that it was written for Israeli Priests. It does not appear that your response is from years of study and research but more of social circles and Google. That's logical. But seemingly flawed. If the only things you are learning from Leviticus is that God hates shrimp and those rules apply only to Israeli Priests then you have simply made a choice to cherry-pick verses or skimmed through it.

    Emma - I understand full good and well that scientifically and genetically, inbreeding has been shown to bring with it a number of negative side-effects. That is not the point. The point is about having a choice of who we can and cannot marry. People want the choice to marry who they wish, love who they wish, to have a choice. My question is where do you stop allowing choices? Where is the line drawn? If the door is opened who are you to decide what is right and what is wrong, what is socially acceptable and what is not?

    Anonymous adressing me ... please see Matthew 19:4, John 5:46-47, Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, Deuteronomy 23:17, John 16:12-15, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. But there is hope. See 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. I suppose that you'll want me to expalin how all of those all realate to Jesus' view on homosexuality. Don't make the mistake of thinking that you understand the entire Bible by reading it like a comic book or just by reading a verse here or a verse there. Don't twist the scriptures and give them your own meanings by using your singular scope of view and don't try and put words into my mouth. I said Jesus did reiterate what Moses taught (Genesis 2:24) about marriage and family. Anything contrary to this—any sexual relationship outside of a committed marriage relationship between one man and one woman—demeans the institution of marriage and is unbiblical. Jesus was quite clear about his contempt for sexual immorality. Why can't I speak in church? Why can't I teach men? Why cover my head in church? I see....these are the things that you think you completely understand about the Bible, Mosaic law, Old Testament, New Testament, Greek/Roman society and how all of these things are applied directly to today's situations in life. C'mon, really?

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  135. A lot of people are claiming that research is conclusive that children do better in families with a mother and father. Could you point out that this is not what the research says? the research says two parents; two parents isn't qualified to be different genders.

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  136. @ Melinda - that is a fantastic post.

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  137. But... homosexuals already HAVE the same rights anyone else in America does. They can vote, marry the opposite sex, etc. What the author means is that we haven't given special rights to gays, nor have we redefined marriage to suit their desires.
    I'm very tired of hearing the words 'equality' and 'love' in reference to legalizing gay marriage. I LOVE my gay friends as much as I love my straight friends!... and they all already have every opportunity and freedom that anyone else does in America. Legalizing gay marriage has nothing to do with love nor equality.

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  138. “If you allow gay marriage, then what’s to stop you from marrying your mother? Or your dog? Or five women and five dogs?” Or [insert your own terrible and disgusting thing here].
    Ah, the old Slippery Slope argument. If you don’t have a good argument against gay marriage, then say that it invariably leads to something else that is bad. This is like saying “If you allow women to vote, then what’s to stop children from voting?”
    Here’s a novel idea: Why not discuss gay marriage on its own merits? And if you’re really worried about somebody marrying his mother, you can amend the constitution for that.

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  139. Completely laying it on the line, here. Thanks SO much for an INTELLIGENT viewpoint with this article!

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  140. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

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  141. There are arguments against gay marriage....the left has just benn so damn good at shutting them down by referring to anyone who opposes gay marriage as a bigot or homophobic. So we can all sit around and tell this fella that this is a great article....and it is...well written....very insightful and yet at the end of the day...wrong. This guy is being dishonest when he says that he'll be OK if one of his boys turns to men for his sexual gratification. He's lying....point blank....no ifs and or buts. He can say what he wants but deep down in places nobody wants to go to.....he would be devastated. Just being honest!

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  142. Very well stated! I love the points of "when did you choose to be heterosexual" and the lemon test, that no arguement has been made that does not invoke religion.
    Thank you for being open-minded and helping to buck some stereotypes.

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  143. Really-you aren't making a bit of sense. Where did Jesus talk specifically about homosexuality? You know, those red words in your KJV? I know the Bible. I was once like you. I got out of it, thank goodness. I don't read it like a comic book. I was immersed in it from the time I was born til I was in my 30's. Do you speak in church? Do you cover your head? Do you? Those are New Testament. And that's all that matters, right? Don't forget the gold jewelry! OH, that's right, that doesn't apply to you, taken out of context. Hmmm.....

    Do you understand the roots of the word "homosexual" as it relates to the Bible? Have you studied that as well?

    And anonymous up above--really-you know the blog owner would be devasted if his son is gay, even though he said he wouldn't be? How do you know this? Marvelous that you know strangers so well! What is your talent? How do you know when people are lying? Tell your secret! What makes you know all? Fascinating! You say you are "just being honest" and calling him a liar McLiarson-how did you delve into the blog owners psyche and figure it out?!?

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  144. And, hey Really-don't twist the scriptures yourself. Don't cherry pick the Bible. Don't say "read leviticus", "now don't read it, it doesn't matter". "Those verses mean something else", "those verses mean this and that's it!" Because that's what you are doing. Over and over again, and it's obvious to all. Stick with the whole thing.

    Oh, and here is what Jesus said about those gay folk:




    Yeah. Nothing.

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  145. And one more thing-Your personal religion should NOT matter. So really, you can be as close minded, cherry picking and hurtful as you want to be in your personal day to day life. But you shouldn't have the power to ruin everybody else's good time. Keep your religion to yourself. It makes you happy, great! Enjoy! Let everyone else be happy. No one is trying to take your Bible away from you. So stop trying to take freedom away from others.

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  146. Hey Jim, I think I see something ahead. I can just make out the sunlight peering in through the ceiling. Give me a boost up to this ledge so I can get a closer look. YES! Do you see it, too? Grass, Jim, grass! We're getting out of here! Hold on, buddy, grab my hand! Jim!!! I'm losing your grip! Hold on tight, buddy! Nooooooooo! Jim! Why??!?!

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  147. To the two 'anonymous' commenters (It seems you might be one person) who made statements about my children: First of all, I find the commenter at 1:37pm today to be completely out of line. I thought I might delete your tasteless and wholly inappropriate comment, but perhaps its demonstrative to show what we're up against here.

    Second of all, no I am not lying. In no way would I be devastated if any of my sons were gay. Thanks for attempting to read my mind, but you're wrong.

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  148. @Ben from NC:
    Regarding the person who wrote that married couples who haven't had children within 3 years should get divorced. Um.. pretty sure they were being sarcastic, and showing that idea would an equally foolish one.

    This is a fantastic article. It's unfortunate that some people are so afraid of their world shattering along with their beliefs. Convincing someone to change their beliefs is about as easy as trying to convince someone to like a movie that they hated. I know, that sounds trivial, but if in their core feelings, they believe something to be true, no amount of arguing or evidence or logic or even humor will convince them otherwise.

    Okay, I return you to regularly scheduled program... Modern Family (the top-rated TV comedy... with the funny gay couple and their adopted child).

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  149. I am a VERY Conservative Christian, but like most have had to open my heart and mind as times change. The article and all the comments were very thought provoking and all had great points to consider. I support gay couples being able to enter into a civil union, where they can enjoy the same legal benefits as married couples. I believe that homosexuality is NOT a choice, but still feel that marriage is a sacred institution that should be for a 1 man and a 1 woman only. Now, that may be from my upbringing, religious affiliations, or my concept of the Bible (that I don't read often enough), that I just can't shake off, today. 2 people of the same sex can raise children very well, probably better than I did being a single mom, though it's still hard on the children of today. Most Gay people have been with one partner longer than I have, go figure. I am comfortable living in a society with freedom of religious or sexual choices as long as it does not harm others, re: polygamy, porn, incest, and mostly killing of others in the name of religion. I don't hate gay people and love many of my friends, family, and acquaintances, that have taken this path and do not begrudge any human the right to love and be loved. I, myself, have taken many paths that are not necessarily right and feel it is not up to any of us humans to judge others. I feel uncomfortable with some of the Gay population that have needs to advertise they are so, as I do not feel the need to advertise that I am heterosexual. I am no better than any other human of this earth that wants peace and safety for all. I AM very against the government trying to take away our freedom one piece at a time, every day. We already have the Constitution, and the 10 Commandments... How much more needs to be said? Could some of it be outdated for the people of this day and age? Live Laugh and Love! Vivian RN

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  150. Dude,
    Just being honest....you know it and I know it. What's a guy like that going to say, "oh and by the way I feel this way but if my son were gay I would be devastated!" Hell no, he'll be the all loving, all caring father and say that he's fine with another man violating his son or he's fine with his son performing oral pleasure on another man.....yeah right!!!! Be honest dude......

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  151. Great post.

    I would however, remove the "Homosexuality is not a choice" section of this argument.

    Whether its a choice or not is irrelevant. You know what's a choice? being religious.

    the whole Choice / Not a Choice debate seeks to classify homosexuals in one of two camps

    Choice = Perversion
    Not a Choice = Sickness that's not their fault

    The bottom line is, people should be free to make that choice if they want and love who they want and marry who they want whether driven by biological imperative or simply bucking the status quo to find happiness.

    Thanks for you support

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  152. If you are truly being honest then I commend you. We should make you a saint and hail your ability to overlook or turn a blind eye to what surely would disappoint or displease most fathers. The pink elephant in the room dude.......it has to be talked about at some point.

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  153. It's beautiful! I wish Jim were here to witness this! I haven't had the feeling of sun kiss my pallid skin for some months now, too many to remember. I wonder if Sarah is still looking for me? She couldn't be, could she? Oh how I long for her embrace, to hear her laugh at one of my corny jokes! No, she will have moved on. I guess it's better to have loved and lost than to not have loved at all. Still, one can hope.

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  154. eshep...
    Don't get mad at me because I questioned your veracity and ability to be truly honest with yourself. You're not at a cocktail party and best as I can tell, you're not running for any office. But when guys like you pick up this virtuous mantle and want to run with it, guys like me, a father of two boys, must speak his mind too. I could care a less about gay marriage rights...in fact I will vote for it...I care that this country is closer to closer to accepting that homosexuality is not a deviation from natural purpose and intent.

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  155. Regarding religion: I am in no way against religion. In no way do I indicate in the post that religion cannot co-exist with a pro-equality viewpoint. What I am saying is that religious arguments against same-sex marriage are not valid legally (and, to me, logically). I do not subscribe to religion. I am a taxpaying citizen. I don't entertain the supernatural, including the concepts of sin, damnation, the afterlife, etc. That does not mean that I don't respect your right to practice your religion. I absolutely do. It's your right. It just means that it is unconstitutional to deny me (or others) rights on religious grounds (especially those to which they do not subscribe).

    If you disagree, then you might ask yourself if you would be okay with Sharia Law being imposed here in America.

    It's a slippery slope. It's best to keep religious arguments out of legislation, and that's exactly why the Establishment Clause and the Lemon Test exist.

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  156. Wonderfully written. A friend forwarded me this because he initially thought I wrote this post. I'm a heterosexual, father of three young boys, here in Raleigh. I've lived in NC most of my life. I've been married for many years, but have gay friends who have been committed nearly as long (I had the honor of standing with one at his ceremony as he stood with me at mine), and gay relatives faithful to the end with their partners, through many decades of the family looking the other way. I stood at the protest at Halifax Mall this week when we heard the news from the Senate. I worry about the hate my boys will have to see for the next eight months. Thanks for continuing to speak a simple message of love. That's all we really need. If we can speak loudly of love, NC will live in the history books as the first light that breaks a sea of darkness.

    For those concerned for NC and the hateful speech and fear that is in our future, I encourage you to make a donation to Equality NC (equalitync.org) and help spread the simple message of love.

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  157. @ Really?

    The reason why incest is illegal has to do with scientific fact. You marry your mother/brother/sister/father/other family member, you increase the risk that your child will have genetic defects.

    So what is the valid scientific reasoning behind banning gay marriage? There is none. It's a question of people being afraid of what is different.


    The same thing happened before the Loving decision about interracial marriage. People were like "OMG letting interracial couples get married would destroy the institution of marriage" etc etc. And it seems ridiculous to suggest that now. I agree with Mr. Shepherd. Our children and their children will look back on this era and just think "WTF was wrong with some of our parents? They were so irrational."

    Mr. Shepherd, this particular article feels like an extremely powerful combination of the arguments in support of gay marriage. Your rhetoric is amazingly well crafted.

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  158. There, that should do it! She may not be lavish, but she's sea-worthy. Barring any inclement weather, I should reach the coast in a day or two, tops, and the bounty of fruit offered by this land will sustain me longer if necessary. So long you God-forsaken island! Wait! What's that noise?! Jim? Is that you? Oh my! How did you..? But I thought... You old snake in the grass! Come on, I've got plenty of supplies. Let's get out of here. Good to see you, old friend. Compass, don't fail us now!

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  159. Thank you so much. It is incredibly encouraging to have someone else speak up and point out the very instances, examples and real-world issues that I deal with all of the time. People usually respond by saying that I am biased to the issue because I am homosexual - so it is a relief to have someone write with such eloquent words who is not. Again, thank you. :)

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  160. Anonymous, you are a coward and a liar. Shame on you. Since he's too inarticulate to explain he's objections, I will let Louis CK do it for him.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPvVnrV1tow

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  161. As an also straight mom of three boys, I'm damn near standing up and cheering in my office cubicle after reading this. Thank you for taking the time to get this all down and writing so well, and being brave enough to put your opinion out there.

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  162. Wonderful, logical, well-argued, amazing. Thank you. It gives me hope that we will indeed move past this terrible setback, perhaps with the next generation.

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  163. I think it's *so adorable* that there are still people who think "separate but equal" is in any way acceptable. It's like nobody ever taught them about the intense bullshit in this country's history, or handed them a copy of Animal Farm. Discrimination is discrimination, you filthy bigots. Take a look in the mirror, and get some perspective.

    To the guy who has a problem imagining his own son having gay sex - you're downright pathetic, and it sounds like you spend quite a bit of time thinking about sodomy, for someone who claims it "makes his skin curl". Maybe stop worrying about it so much?

    As for the @Really? troll, probably best to stop feeding it.

    Wonderful article, I agree with every word.

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  164. This brought tears to my eyes, it's great to see someone stand up and speak their mind without the fear of being ostracized.

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  165. It's so difficult to readjust, to feel, well, normal again. Had I been gone for 7 months or 10 years? Everything is so strange, so foreign. I've taken too many things for granted, even room temperature cans of chicken-noodle soup and plastic spoons! No more! I'm going to live every day as though it were my last. I look forward to seeing everyone from my past, my friends, my family, but that will wait till tomorrow. I need sleep. I wonder if Jim made it home? Huh? Was that a knock? Yes, I'm certain it was. Who could that be so late in the evening? Hello, how can I...SARAH!

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  166. Thank you!!! I wish your post could be translated to many languages - I am sending (my translation) to my immigrant parents to read.

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  167. Great article. I've never understood why other people get so enraged. I mean, I understand the root cause - simple prejudice disguised as morality. But my overwhelming attitude toward gay marriage is this: Who cares? I don't. I don't mean that in a nasty way. I simply don't care if men love men. Or if women love women. It has no bearing on my life. Why people get so ANGRY about it honestly confuses me.

    I have better things to do with my life than poke my head into others' bedrooms, trying to dictate what they can and can't do.

    I wonder, though, what those righteous fools will do when they eventually become the target. Because if there's one consistency in the history of moral bigotry, it's that they'll always find a fresh target.

    Love is love, and more importantly, love isn't something to be divied up, saved only for a select few.

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  168. Thank you so much for posting!!! Great points and very well-written!

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  169. Interesting read! I did have to laugh at the pie chart. However many of his arguments are not actually based in scientific research, they are slogans of activist organizations. He blatantly ignores real scientific studies as to the repercussions of such a change including the high rates of pathogens, depression, molestation, and suicide present in homosexual situations both affecting the partners and the children. I mean, I'm not a scientist but those sound like bad things to me ;)

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  170. To the person above who commented on homosexuality being a sin, do you know where that is in the bible? it is the law book of the old testament so you'd best not be eiating bacon and be offing burnt offerings of burned up livestock on the altar to God because this law is in with all of them "we are no longer under the law" unless it regards those homo's "okay we can throw out all those archaic laws now that we are saved by faith, and "behold all things are clean unto me" dang it unless it has to do with those homos! we don't live by the law except we need to keep that homo law!!! so we can hold back those people! BS!!!!! suggested reading "Dirt, Greed,and Sex" by L. William Countryman!!!!

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  171. Thank you, for this wonderful blog article!!!! by the way, same anonymous as above

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  172. As a misplaced North Carolinian, now living in Iowa, I watched the NC House via live feed the day they debated and voted on this issue.
    I was appalled. It made me feel not quite as bad about no longer living there.
    Thank you for voicing my feelings so perfectly.

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  173. To Mike Rentas,
    Once again....you proved my point. When the discussion of gay sex comes to topic it becomes a pink elephant. But you keep attacking those of us that are willing to discuss it openly and we will keep doing what we have to do to protect our beliefs. You see interestingly enough, it is the gay left that doesn't want to get into a meaningful discussion about gay sex. The actual act of two men being intimate. No way......it has been and always will remain off the table of discussion. Why? Because it is a perversion of the basic, natural concept of life and procreation. You can't argue that.....nobody can. You keep calling us names and we will keep arguing logic.

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  174. I wish I had the time to put this more eloquently, with in-depth comments as to why I support gay marriage (aside from the fact that I'm a gay male). That said, beautifully written post, and all I can say is that I hope our country opens its eyes soon and realizes how oppressive it is toward our community. We need more people like you on our side.

    Thanks a lot!

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  175. Anonymous: What "meaningful discussion about gay sex" would you like to engage in? I'm perfectly happy to discuss it with you.

    I don't think anyone has this problem discussing gay sex you seem to think they do - it's just not a topic for polite conversation, any more than a graphic description of vaginal intercourse would be. You, however, seem to be rather fixated on it, specifically anal sex between men. I notice you don't mention lesbian sex, or anal sex between a man and a woman, although those serve as little "practical" purpose, by your standards, as anal penetration between two men. Not to mention the fact that your initial post wasn't so much about intercourse as it was "imagine your son being raped" - which would be a rather horrifying prospect regardless of the gender of perpetrator or victim, and you should be ashamed of yourself for even attempting to equate the emotions that go along with that image with gay sex and marriage.

    Moreover, procreation is not the only reason we engage in sexual behavior. I absolutely can and do argue that gay sex is not a perversion at all. Between two consenting adults, it's an act of love. You're arguing not from a place of logic, but one of fear and ignorance.

    I'm calling you what you are - bigot, hateful, ignorant. If you think that's "name calling", you're missing the point.

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  176. This was absolutely incredible and uplifting. Thanks for making my day.

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  177. @ Anonymous from 9-16, 6:24PM More heterosexual people have AIDS than homosexuals. Just sayin'.

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  178. Saw this on Metafilter, where someone else linked to this:
    http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/09/14/2606142/amendment-puts-gop-at-odds-with.html

    It also reminded me of Nate Silver's projection
    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/04/will-iowans-uphold-gay-marriage.html
    that this sort of bullshit will not last, and in NC will not last much beyond 2019.

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  179. Thankyou for standing up for injustice whether it affects you or not. Excellent writing.

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  180. I agree that homosexuality does appear to be a sin in The Bible and is even mentioned in the new testament. The old testament is part of the old covenant, so in the same way that we all recognize that there is no problem wearing mixed fabric clothes we understand that we don't need to adhere to old testament Jewish law.

    In the new testament though its fairly vague, seeming to be more about promiscuity than homosexuality (Mark, 1st Corinthians, Romans, 1 Timothy, etc...) but does seem to paint it as a sin. With that being said though, can someone point me to the biblical teaching that we should ostracize, judge, or treat sinners in a different way? What's that... you say that Jesus often positioned himself on the side of those cast aside by society? And golly gee batman, there is also a plethora of instruction in The Bible specifically saying not to judge people, that it is not your job to do that? Well that seems to absolutely punch a hole in the religious defense of hatred towards homosexuals.

    Jesus died to take away your sins, not your minds. Read The Bible with an understanding of the time it was written and stop using it as a tool to hate. The Bible doesn't tell you to treat homosexuals any different or to limit their rights, so stop using it as a crutch and excuse for your hate.

    There are no reasons to oppose same sex marriage BUT THAT IS NOT EVEN WHAT AMENDMENT ONE IS ABOUT. Voting No on Amendment One does not legalize same-sex marriage, it does not do anything to it.

    Stop the hate, and if you are supporting Amendment One because you think this all is "icky" or something else silly you should really step back and take a look at the trickle down effects this legislation will have with regards to opposite sex non-marriage relationships and to the rights of domestic abuse victims. There is no reason to support Amendment One.

    Vote No

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  181. Speaking as a life long Christian I have to say that God condemns homosexuality... NOT the homosexual! If it was a by birth condition He would not condemn it. Going by the Bible God only recognizes marriage between a man and a woman. You can allow yourself to believe its not a sin, but then you have to take God out of the picture to do so. Once you do that you take your eternity into your own hands. As far as human rights are concerned though, if they want to marry...let them marry. But you will never convince me that its not a sin.

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  182. Hate to tell you Ken, Really, and the myriad Anons who keep reiterating that "God/the bible tells us that homosexuality is a sin". Since the bible is a work of man, not of any god (let alone a divinely inspired one), is this simply the words of a few *very* *very* dead people being used to attack other very much living people for differences that matter not at all reality. And, in a similar vein, all of the yokels who feel "compelled to defend their beliefs and/or religion from this supposed sinmongering and/or slander", really should stop and think for a second: if your God truly cared, why would you have to fight his battles for him? Surely he could do so without your help. In other words, by to vehemently defendinf your religion and right to believe (due to its supposed validity), you are actually tacitly admitting thar your religion is one created by man, for man, since the only one capable of defending it in any form of moral/ethical context is...wait for it...man!

    In short, those of you whose panties are in a collective bunch due to this excellent posting: grow up. Feel free to grouse and complain, but stop interfering in other people's lives. After all, who do you think you are when you claim to speak for God? Hmmmm? Someone blasphemous perhaps. Or mayhap unhumble. Either way, its anti-Cristian behaviour. So who not spend the time more constructively - say, through self-flagellation. That way you can feel put upon and actually have legetimate scars to show for it!

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  183. As a mother of a beautiful gay daughter, I want my daughter to have the same rights that everyone else has without question. Love doesn't see race, color, religion, gender. Love is all inclusive.

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  184. This article is incredible. Thank you for writing with such passion, and for sharing your thoughts with the rest of us. I will be passing this article along for many to read.

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  185. i especially love the "what's next, a man can marry a dog!??" argument. that's my fave, having one party in my marriage being likened to a dog. how can anyone with a functional brain compare a man wanting to marry a dog with a man wanting to marry another man, and still expect to be taken seriously? statements like those not only expose ignorance, but also the deep level of contempt that so many people have for the LGBT community. we are not even human--hence the opinion that we don't deserve the same rights. you should do a follow up piece where you address each of the arguments raised in this comments section: procreation, the parenting issue, etc. once the arguments are taken apart logically, it really does seem unbelievable that this is still an issue.

    -Peg:legally married with children & living the dream in Massachusetts

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  186. I have read through this article and most of the comments that followed and it makes me sad that there has to be a fight over any of this. I am a Mormon, LDS, (not to be confused with FLDS). Many people in this world see Mormonism as a cult, and believe that we all have multiple wives in our marriages, and that we don't believe in Jesus Christ. This is exactly what the problem is, ignorance. Mormons (LDS) do not practice polygamy, are not a cult and Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of our religion. It doesn't matter what you believe, if you are religious or not, if you are gay or straight everyone deserves to be treated equally. Read up on your facts before you comment, learn about the people you are condemning before you decide to judge them. I am also Gay or bi-sexual by some standards. I was married to a man for 20 years, had 3 wonderful children, lived the ideal life of a heterosexual person, but it was not who I was. My 20 year marriage ended and I met my current partner who is the most wonderful person in the world. I have been on both sides, I have a homosexual step son (who I did not raise) and I have no problem with him having a partner. I have a great-great-grandfather who was a polygamist and I don't condemn him even though I don't practice or believe in it. I guess you could say I have been there done that. It doesn't take a lot to see that these people who oppose this are living in ignorance. If you stopped to think about what you are saying you would see that it is self centered of you to deny anyone the basic right to be married. To not call it a "marriage" is still a denial of basic rights. Would you like to be excluded? Would you like it if someone came in and said "we don't believe you should be allowed to marry because it is against our religion", would you like it if you were denied any right that anyone else has being given? Do we not live in the United States? Where all people are equal? Sin or not? Is it your place to decide that it is a sin? Is it your place to tell people that your religion forbids it so it shouldn't be allowed? Is it your place to stand and say it's in the Bible that it is wrong, and then pick and choose what things to take literally or not? It is up to us to ask the Lord what is right and what is wrong. He will tell you if you ask. He told me, he guides me every day. It is ridiculous that Homosexuality is only mentioned in the Bible a few times, and many other sins deemed to be much less of a sin are mentioned hundreds. In fact most of the references on homosexuality only refer to Sodom which never even mentions homosexuality, just implies that is "the sin" they are punished for. The Bible reads differently to everyone, that's what makes it a great book. No my religion does not accept gay marriage or even gay partnership. But I can't believe that Jesus would stand up in front of me and condemn me for living the way I do when God created me the way I am, and he doesn't expect me to change who I am to please anyone's idea of who I should be. It is an ideal straight out of communism to believe that everyone needs to conform and become the same or be persecuted, denied basic rights or put to death. I am not in NC and wish I could vote on this issue. I would always stand up for human rights no matter what the cost. Because we are all afforded the same rights in the US under the law, except the right to choose our partner, file taxes with them, share medical rights with them, child custody rights with them, etc. There is supposed to be a separation of church and state. I am very religious, I go to church every Sunday, I know what the Bible says but it is not right to bring religion into this. It is about rights, not religion and should be looked upon as such. It is sad that our children are more open minded and accepting of others than we are.

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  187. To Jonathan, who posted at 7:21 PM,

    Yes, Jesus did often spend more time with the obviously sinful people than with others. Then again, He encouraged sinners to "go and sin no more". If Christians are to be like Jesus and strive to behave like Him, they should most definitely not encourage others to sin or condone their sin. If homosexuality is recognized as a sin in the Bible, which it is, as you point out, then the loving Christians, those acting the most like Jesus, should be caring about homosexuals, treating them as real human beings, and encouraging them to sin no more, not condoning their sinful behavior and encouraging commitments to their sin such as marriages. I do completely agree that Christians should not be hateful to homosexuals.

    To Mr. Non Cogito who posted at 9:36PM,

    Let me summarize your first argument:
    Since [unproven premise], then it is simply [invalid and unsound conclusion].
    Excellent job. It does it not follow that if, in the hypothetical situation that the Bible is merely the work of very dead people, that either it or its principles have no bearing at all in reality (since, of course, the works of Ptolemy and Pythagoras, who are also very dead, have plenty of bearing today); therefore your argument is not sound. The very fact that people believe in the Bible means it and the principles it teaches about morality have at least some bearing in reality, if you suppose that any human activity makes any difference that is.

    Furthermore, the Bible has many people speaking for God, in a sense. Many were prophets. However, when God's commandments are clearly written down, it is not blasphemous to point to them and repeat them. Many many people did that in the synagogue, including Jesus. That is most certainly not "anti-Cristian behavior", unless "Cristian" without the "h" is some special code word.

    Lastly, defending the beliefs of a religion does not prove that the beliefs were fabricated by man. That's absurd. To use an analogy, if an idiot claimed that 2 + 2 = 5 and that the principles of mathematics (which would contradict his conclusion) that I was trying to teach him were just made up by humans and don't have any bearing in reality, then my defense does not prove his point, not even if humans are the only ones able to defend those principles. The principles of mathematics obviously cannot defend themselves, but they do indicate truth with or without the help of humans and exist without humans, though having humans teach them makes things easier. Similarly, the laws of God exist without humans teaching them or defending them and their defense indicates nothing of their origin or trueness/falseness. God, of course, can defend His own Law. It does not follow that the fact He doesn't yell out at us whenever He hears us arguing about His Law means He is either inability or uncaring about it. That is horrible logic. Defending the principles of the Bible doesn't make it any less true or any less believable and it definitely doesn't prove the Bible was not inspired by God.

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  188. a-fucking-men. beautifully written.

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  189. I cannot, legally in my state, get married. I'm not getting all of my legal and civil rights, so I don't wanna pay all of my taxes.

    Wait, what? I have to pay just as much as everyone else for less rights?

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