Monday, November 07, 2005

Hi Straight Friends....

It's good to talk to you again. Yes, I know it's been a while....what with the pressures of work, church, volunteering, and so on, it seems like we hardly can find the time to see each other. Is your mom doing OK? How did your daughter's recital go? Yep, my partner's doing fine....he said to say hello and that he was working on getting that T-shirt you loved so much when you saw our picture.

Look, it's really good to catch up....but there was another reason I stopped by today. Have you been reading in the papers and seeing on the news about the vote tomorrow? Yeah, I know....another election. Seems we can't get anything done in Texas without amending the constitution, thank you very much, Santa Anna! Oh yeah, it's the usual...can the state do this, should they do that, little stuff.

But there's one big question on there.....Proposition 2....that really hits close to home for me. This one amends the Texas Constitution to permanently ban the state from recognizing any form of legal relationship except between a man and a woman. Yeah, that one -- the one about protecting families.

Look, you and I have been friends for a long time. Think back to when you first found out I was gay. I know it was a shock to you, just like it was to my mom and dad....I seem to remember you saying, "But you played football! You chew tobacco! You listen to country music! How can you be gay -- are you SURE?" Oh, don't need to apologize...heck, I barely knew what being gay was about then.

You and I have learned a lot about each other. Do you know how scared I was to tell you? After all, you're a pillar of the community -- Bible study leader, soccer coach, happily married, gorgeous kids -- it's like an advertisement for "family values". I'd heard you before clucking your disapproval about how it just wasn't right for these gays to be parading around in public. I'd even heard you and your family say, "That's so gay," or taunt each other with "Bend over and take it, ya faggot!"

Oh, that....well, yeah, I noticed too. The time we met up in the grocery store and I asked when your son's birthday party would be...I saw that little look, that little, "um..." in your speech. I know your significant other wasn't comfortable with me being around -- remember that first dinner you held where I came after they found out about my little secret? Talk about icy cold conversation (laughs).

But you know, that's not what I remember at all. I remember coming into work down about the hot guy who had just dumped me and you grabbing me and saying, "Come on, let's do lunch. My treat." I remember the look of joy on your son's face when he got to ride in my Jeep with the top down, you and your spouse sitting there watching, beaming as he laughed, the wind blowing in his hair. I remember sitting there holding you in the waiting room as they rolled your dad into the back, both of us crying, praying, hoping for the best.

So I know you're comfortable with me, at least. But I also know this whole gay marriage're not sure. There's so much displacement and destruction in today's society, so many kids without parents, so many families breaking apart, so much abortion.....I mean, I know you're not like that, but those other gays you see on the TV parading around half naked, that sort of thing....screaming about how gay rights are abortion rights, how religious people or conservatives are nothing but superstitious, ignorant idiots...I...I just can't get my head around marriage like that.

Hey, it's OK....I understand. But you gotta believe me when I tell you....what you see of gays on the TV isn't reality. Sure, the loudest of us out there never saw a Democrat they didn't like, never saw a Republican they didn't hate, and never saw a moonbat cause they wouldn't support. But most of us aren't like that. Most of us want nothing more than our slice of the American Dream -- to have a good job, a nice place to live, the chance to go out every now and again, to be involved in our community, to have good friends like you -- and to have someone special with whom to share your life.

Now the big thing about this amendment is that it's not going to stop those things. It's not going to take away my house, or my job, or my volunteer work, or you; it won't even really change what I have now with my partner. Despite what the moonbats are saying, it's not going to abolish marriage in the state, nor is it going to cause a plague of locusts. It in the vast majority of cases won't even affect the domestic partner benefits gays get from our employers, or existing legal contracts that gays have to give us a semblance of spousal rights. But what it will do....and what is most scary to that it freezes things like they are forever.

Think about that -- and just how much your attitudes have changed since you found out I was gay. Before, you might not have thought it was important that someone's partner be allowed to visit them in the hospital -- but remember that ass-chewing you gave the nurse who tried to keep me out? (laughs) You, the classes I teach, several other people have all told me -- you know, it's just not fair that you can't do this or that, you and your partner are more committed than some straight couples, yada yada yada. I don't think it's outside the realm of possibility that you'd say, "You know, why CAN'T these guys have some kind of civil contract or something that at least acknowledges they're a couple with some rights?"

Because Amendment 2 says so.

Zero, zip, zilch, nada in the way of contracts, civil unions, domestic partnerships, or things that even LOOK like marriage. Absolutely forbidden, can't be done, get out.

Right now, you're not ready for gay marriage. Heck, I'm still reluctant on several levels to support it myself. I do think it's ultimately where we'll end up, but only in the future.....and as an overhaul of how we view BOTH gay and straight relationships. We can't continue with 24-hour Britney Spears marriages being the norm and with over half of all first marriages ending in divorce. It affects all of us, gay and straight, and most of all, it affects kids -- our futures. Radical, I know, but there's no choice -- we have to do something.

But voting against Amendment 2 isn't voting for gay marriage, or to redesign the world of marriage as we know it -- it's simply leaving our options open. We're going to keep growing as friends and as a society in how we view each other, straights and gays. To tie our hands now and to lock us down is to just perpetuate the "it's not fair" and the avoidance of the real problems that bedevil marriage and commitment in our society. It's letting the "religious" right make scapegoats of people like me that value and honor commitment between couples because they don't want to confront or challenge their beliefs and way of thinking. It's taking away the dialogue between us and our ability to be creative in fixing a lack of commitment and family life that is very threatening to our country and our way of life as a whole.

So if there's one thing I can ask you as a's to vote. Let your voice be heard on Amendment 2. All I ask is that you think through the issue....that you seriously consider the ramifications....and that you do what you think is best.

And no matter what you decide.....we're still friends.



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