Mind Set

Come on now people. Haven’t you ever watched a couple – at a family reunion, while at the beach, at any of our daily activities – and given a thought of how uncomfortable you might think of those two people being sexually attracted to each other. Perhaps sometimes they aren’t – but often they are. We might find it gross, or amusing, or repulsive, icky, or strange. But we usually are willing to not want to intrude on that couple’s right to private sexual experience. Come on people. We don’t deny people who are in apparently loving relationships be denied of those relationships – not if they are adults, and especially if that relationship is also caring and loving and mutually supportive and monogamous. Most in today’s America are, if not reluctantly tolerant and overlooking of a gay couple living together, are more accepting. It is more and more of a fact in our experience as we see more gay couples in our daily experience and in the images we see in media.

How do we in our civic mind, our sense-of-fairness mind, our intelligent mind, our caring mind, deny a gay couple the opportunity of civic equality? Who am I or who are you to judge a romantic matching? Or to deny full participation in the promise that is being an American? Is your constitutional amendment going to create some great good? Right some wrong? Or will it further distance our communities from gay individuals, gay couples, gay families and their children? Have you ever taken just a small moment to weigh this in your mind, or to imagine how life is for many who live life in the shadows you somehow insist they must reside? Please consider voting against the Virginia marriage amendment in November. Please consider opening the door to full civic acceptance to almost half a million gay Virginians and welcome us into the full participation of and contribution to this great state.


Anonymous said…
I could not agree with you more!
rwilymz said…
While I agree with your conclusion, Bill, I do not agree with the sanctimonious, self-righteous sneering by which you arrive at it.

You ask Who am I or who are you to judge a romantic matching?

The reality is: a majority of people don't want gays to get married.

Another reality is: we live in a democracy [±], and the general public gets to decide whether or not certain people get to do what they want to do.

Gays get married, beer drinkers drink beer in public, risk-takers not wear seatbelts, dog owners own "dangerous" dogs, et cetera.

This is the "problem" with democracy: I get a vote in whether or not you should be allowed to do what you want. The other problem is that you get the same vote over me.

To do anything else would be for someone to erect himself as dictator and impose his will on others. The dictator, or course, is going to think his will is just and appropriate and benign, but there will be scads of dissenters who will beg to differ. Many will demand to differ. Some will differ loudly, and probably a few violently. Cuz that's just the way political imposition works -- if you've paid attention.

Stop sneering at democracy working the way it's designed. You aren't so important that your will is better than the majority's. You aren't so wise that your opinion trumps every other opinion out there. In short, get over yourself.

There's enough self-righteous toads trying to pass this amendment; we don't need more self-righteous twerps on the other side. It is enough to merely stop them from gaining the necessary super-majority.
Bill Garnett said…
First, let me say I’m flattered to have anyone read my blog, much less take the time to respond. Thank you.

Although there are aspects of your response I can agree to, I do see that democracy can become a tyranny for a minority unless some basic protections are afforded. At the time of Loving vs. Virginia (the Supreme Court case that outlawed misogenation) there was an overwhelming public disapproval of mixed marriage. I see some analogy here to gay marriage.

I have empathy for heterosexuals who are uncomfortable with the idea of gays, gay sex, and gay marriage. But I find it difficult to see how your comments like, “Gays get married, beer drinkers drink beer in public, risk-takers not wear seatbelts, dog owners own "dangerous" dogs, et cetera” add to the debate.

A comment by Jon Steward to guest Bill Bennett on a recent Daily Show catches my point of view:

Bennett: Look, it's a debate about whether you think marriage is between a man and a woman.
Stewart: I disagree; I think it's a debate about whether you think gay people are part of the human condition or just a random fetish.

Homosexuality is not a random fetish; it is a human condition and not chosen by the individual. Here, at 63 and having been gay all my life, I can attest - fortunately this is also the general concurrence also of science now. I knew that this was my sexual orientation long before I knew there was another gay person in the world and frankly I wasn’t aware that there were people like me who were looking for romantic relationships until late in my 20’s.

I have seen how being gay often adds enormous burdens to one’s life. I have met many gay people who have lived lives of duplicity, fear, and estrangement from family due to a condition that they did not choose. This is of far more import that publicly drinking beer or not wearing seat belts.

I have lived my life in the straight world, but often straights have no appreciation of what it is like to live as a gay person – to live perpetually in the shadows, to feel this inferred second-class citizenship. And I am puzzled at how vociferous many in the straight community are against granting gay equal civil rights.

Perhaps we are judged incorrectly by the visible tip of homosexuality, which is often caricutured, as effeminate, promiscuous, pedophilic, campy – but enlightened individuals know that the vast majority of gays are indistinguishable from the straights in their experience.

I have lived in three countries and traveled in 22. I have experienced fundamentalist governments and peoples and progressive governments and peoples. And I am a student of history. It takes courage to show acceptance much less tolerance to those who are different – to handicapped, other races, other religions, lepers, mentally ill, and on and on. However, in lieu of any real and compelling moral argument, I cannot understand why you or anyone else would deny me the full civil rights that you take for granted.
Anonymous said…
I don't think it matters that homosexuality is innate or not. Mental retardation is also innate, IMHO so is pedophilia and zoophilia. Being "born with it" doesn't mean jack squat to me. Homosexuality is a abnormality that happens to be socially viable.
Comparing the feelings that humans all over the world feel for homosexuals to the discrimination faced by the black people that were forcibly brought to this country by a genocidal race is an affront to my intelligence. Homosexuals are equal up to but not including marriage just like other sexual deviations that aren't allowed to marry the object of their abnormal sexual desires. The homosexual union is not a "normal" human union and should not ever share the name "marriage" with the heterosexual one.

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