As a married lesbian (legally married on 2/26/2008 in Toronto, Canada) living in Ohio, where my marriage is not legally recognized, where there is very limited possibility of being able to adopt as a homosexual couple, where we are only protected under hate crime laws in certain areas of the state, where it is still legal for restaurants to choose not to serve us if they so desire, I still have one right that I can practice freely – freedom of speech.
I sometimes wonder if people spoke up just a little bit more if more issues that affect the glbt community would surface and more rights would be established instead of quietly brushed under a piece of carpet in hopes that no one will notice what has been hidden. Of course many heterosexual individuals have no reason to care if those issues are swept away, it may make many of them more comfortable to act like the issues do not exist. For those heterosexuals out there who are allies and accepting and supporting, I personally would like to thank you for putting your level of comfort to the side in order to have your voices heard.
On the subject of comfort, for those heterosexual individuals out there, please take a moment to think about how it would make you feel if a person told you that you could not marry the person that you love and want to spend the rest of your life with. Some of you are thinking “hey marriage is just a piece of paper” to those of you thinking that: sure, marriage is represented by a paper marriage certificate along with love and a promise of commitment – are you married? If so, why are you married, if it is “just a piece of paper”? I am sure there are thoughts of “but it is different for me, I am a woman and I married a man or vice versa”. For those of you with those thoughts, does loving the opposite gender somehow grant you super powered love that can not be duplicated by another couple? Besides what goes on in the bedroom is there really a difference between heterosexual and homosexual couples? Maybe the thought of “protecting traditional marriage” came into your mind. Please ditch this so called “traditional” cop out. Why? Because it was once “traditional” for women to not be allowed to vote (women think about that next time the elections come around), it was once “traditional” to segregate and discriminate against others based on their race, interracial marriages were not allowed, if you go back even further in the time line, it was even “traditional” to enslave individuals against their will. Would you like to go back to those “traditional” ways? I highly doubt it. Of course there is always the cry that “homosexual marriages will ruin the sanctity of marriage”. So, heterosexuals can get married and divorced multiple times, get married one day and have it annulled the next day – what does that say about the “sanctity” of marriage? Here comes the last thought I am going to respond to “God says homosexuality is wrong, so you shouldn’t get married”. Since the United States of America has this great thing called Freedom of Religion, separation of church and state and also we have no country wide forced religion, why exactly are you using your “God” as an excuse to discriminate? Do you think others of different religions should not marry? If our country stands by freedom of religion, this should not even be a thought.
Lets take a minute to think about those people who will not speak out, either because it is controversial, their spouses do not agree or they are uncomfortable. Remember, speaking out can spark a change. It may start as a small spark and take a very long time to spin itself into fruition, but it is a start. It is a start that some are afraid to embark upon. Former first lady Laura Bush recently revealed her true opinion on gay marriage (read about it by clicking here), I can’t help but wonder what may have happened if she would have spoke out sooner. She is a republican conservative and is not against gay marriage (I could not help but rub my eyes as I read that article to make sure my eyesight was not failing me). Although I can not help but be disappointed that she did not speak out when she was in a more influential position.