44 to go.
Yesterday, New York became the sixth State to legalize same sex marriages. This is huge, because of New York being one of the larger States in the country. One more place that friends of mine in a same sex relationship can legally get married. I celebrate with them today.
Before I go any further, I just want to say that I am not writing this blog to try and convince anybody to think the way I do, I am just telling you how I feel. I also want you to know that being unmarried doesn't make me gay, not that there's anything wrong with that (thanks Seinfeld). If you are offended by anything I say, all I ask of you is to keep an open mind or stop reading, because I am not going to make any apologies for how I feel about the topic. I am proud that today I can stand by the people I love and be happy about their victory.
Rewind back to about 25 years ago and I may not have been celebrating this day. I would have been thinking to myself, "Legalization of one more sin." All I knew then was what I was taught. I was taught that it was wrong for two people of the same sex to be in any kind of relationship other than a casual friendship. I remember the feeling of horror I felt when watching the movie Deathtrap, and seeing Michael Caine lock lips with Christopher Reeve. Anyone who remotely exhibited any kind of leaning toward being gay were mercilessly ridiculed. Somewhere deep inside I knew this was wrong, but didn't have the words or the reasoning to articulate it. I knew that people with the inclination to love someone of the same gender felt that way because they didn't know any other way to feel. But because everyone was doing it, I just stood there as a bystander and watched gay people being tortured for who they were. I didn't do anything about it. I didn't know what to do or how. And I still believed that being gay was a choice.
As time went by, there were circumstances and situations that led me to meet so many people, some of whom were gay. I had come to the point in my life where I had learned not to judge people. It didn't matter anymore to me what their sexual orientation was. I began talking openly about the questions I had in my mind. One of the questions was how and when they knew they liked people of the same gender. The responses I heard were quite astounding even to my perceived open mind. I learned that some people knew all along. Not when they were teenagers, but when they were as young as three years old and it felt better to sit on the lap of the parent who was the same sex as they were. It had nothing to do with that parent loving them any more or any less than the other. It just was the way it was. I learned from another person that they were in numerous opposite gender relationships which never felt right. The way it was described to me was that it would feel the same to a non-gay person to be in a same sex relationship. This was my a-ha moment. The thought of me physically being in a same sex relationship repulses me, only because that is not who I am. That is why I truly understood what it was like for a gay person to be in an opposite sex relationship.
One thing that dawned on me was of all the friends I made, the friends who were living in same sex relationships were the kindest, most openhearted and loving individuals I had ever known. They had known hate and they didn't want to pass it along. They had come to terms with who they were and they were happy. It didn't matter to them anymore if their lifestyle was accepted or not. Many of them were in relationships that lasted longer than marriages. Which brings us to the topic of the word marriage. Many people argue that gay relationships can be legalized by a civil union instead of defiling the word marriage. I am not sure I understand this. How does a word get defiled? How does the sanctity of marriage become any less because of who is allowed to be married? I am not married so maybe I don't know from a married person's standpoint. If there is anyone out there that can provide a reasonable argument for this, I am more than willing to hear it.
Then there's the question of a straight person being approached by a gay person to be in a same sex relationship. That happened to another one of my friends. I don't pretend to understand how that makes anyone feel. I know it makes a straight person question their own sexuality and makes them wonder if they are giving off some kind of gay vibe. I don't have an answer to that question. But I would imagine that it would be the same as my being pursued by a man I don't want to be in a relationship with. That, to me, is more than traumatic. In no way would I want to trivialize what my straight friends feel or may have felt at the time. Again, I hope this opens up a dialog that can bring healing or resolution into this type of situation. I am willing to hear from either side of the table how this needs to be addressed.
Anyway, for now I hope that more states join the existing six in legalizing same sex marriages. Because when you get down to it, all it is about is love.