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December 3rd, 2009

Not Special, Just Equal

This morning a comment was directed towards me at HuffPo on yesterday's article about the NY gay marriage failing, New York State Senate Votes Down Gay Marriage.  I had left a number of comments on the article; commenting on others' comments, agreeing wholeheartedly with some and arguing the finer points of marriage with others (few know its actual history...that's a forthcoming blog post).

A comment, by user mg moore, in particular, bothered me.

Originally he had said:

Maybe now NY can get on to something useful.

I, and others, disagreed with this sentiment.  I stated:

Such as? I think this is a pretty important issue - as do most people.

mg moore disagreed, naturally, that the issue was important at all.  Apparently human rights are of no concern to him, and living in a hypocritical country - promising equality for all but denying rights to some - fails to stir him.  He responded with the comment that irked me enough to bring this debate to my blog:

If most people thought it was important it would have been reflected in the voting of the legislators. The outcome reflected the relevance. Gays should quit pretending they are as special as Faberge' eggs and simply stop whining. Their lifestyle choices put them outside the mainstream. Deal with the consequences.

I don't understand people that think this way.  I am trying to, but it's hard.  Can anyone help me out?  Is there anyone that agrees with this man's assertion that can offer me some insight into your mindset?  I won't judge you or condemn you; I am genuinely seeking answers here.

Part of my responses to mg moore were as follows  (I left two):

1) Gay people don't they think are "special" - that is the entire point of this whole thing! They wanted to be treated exactly the same as everyone - equality is the issue here, not "special". If you don't see that, you are missing the entire point of all of this, as are the people that voted down this legislation.

This whole idea that gay people are asking for some kind of "special treatment" when all they are asking for is "equal rights" infuriates me.  How is it "special treatment" to, simply, be afforded the same rights and benefits as the rest of society?  How is it "special treatment" to ask that Americans stay true to what this country stands for - freedom and equality for ALL?

Homosexuals are people - they are no different than you or I, except that they prefer the same sex as opposed to the opposite sex.  Homosexuality is natural - it exists in nature - and normal.  Fear and ignorance keep people from treating our gay brethren with respect and amity; fear of the unknown and ignorance of the truth that gay people are no different than straight people.  And they deserve the same rights.

Indeed, there is no good or logical argument for denying them these rights - all fall flat and resort back to simple bigotry, ignorance, and condemnation; usually based on religious morals and ideals.  Where in your Bible does God or Jesus preach to treat others as inferior?

2) And if you honestly and truly believe that gay people choose to live a life of condemnation and ridicule, then you are far too ignorant for my impassioned plea to reach your ears.  I am sure you are a very intelligent person, but on this issue itself you remain ignorant; I can assure you - it is not a choice.

If it were, then choose to be gay for a day and have sex with someone of the same sex - just do it, it's just a choice.

I'm sure you find the idea repulsive and ridiculous - just as someone who is gay generally finds the idea of being with someone of the opposite sex! It doesn't appeal to them because that just isn't who they are or how they are made! It is NOT a choice!

Ah, the age-old "choice" debate.  This one never gets old.  I fail to see how being gay is a choice; why would anyone in their right mind choose a life in which they will be judged, condemned, and ridiculed?  Who would prefer a life that very well - and often does - ostracize them from family, community, and the religion they were raised with?  How could they, willingly, accept a lifestyle that takes away their rights, and would not allow them to see their mate of decades as they lay dying in the hospital or make any decisions about their care?  Trust me when I say to you that no one would choose this.

People are born gay.  It's that simple.  I know gay people and I know people that have been gay since childhood (when I also knew them).  As the realization came to them, they - like so many others - fought a great and virulent internal battle.  They tried to be straight.  They chose to be straight.  Some married and had children.  But in the end, the "choice" to live a false life could no longer be upheld; eventually they had to be true to themselves.

Understand this - that is the only choice in it - the choice to be who they were born to be.  Every gay person I know suffered through the I-can't-be-gay battle during puberty.  Some embraced it, many others denied it and tried to be someone and something else.

It is our society that teaches them to hate what they are, to question it and fear it.  Some, as you know, commit suicide.  Why?  Because it isn't a choice, and if it was - many of them - at least in the beginning, would choose not to be gay.

Why?  Because society condemns them for being so, and they know they have a hard life and treacherous path before them.  They may lose family, friends, jobs, community, and their religion.

And, yet, you think they choose this?  You think they flaunt all conventions and decide to just "have lots of gay sex" and, therefore, have no right to demand equal rights?  People like mg moore do think this way, and that is a sad state of affairs.

What bothers me, too, is that in all the hubbub and din, all the people decrying "gay sex" as deviant and gay people as aberrant for engaging in - just for larks, of course - is the idea of Love.  Being gay isn't just about - isn't really at all about - who you have sex with or want to have sex with.  It's about who you can and will Love.  Yes, homosexuals are sexually attracted to the same sex.  But do not forget, that attraction - just like with straight people - can and does lead to more than just meaningless sex.  It becomes relationships, it becomes lasting partnerships, and long-term affairs.  It becomes Love.

And that is what this battle is really about.  No one can choose who they fall in love with - not straight people, gay persons, bi individuals, or anything in between.  And, therefore, it is not a choice for the lesbian who falls in love with the woman who becomes her partner of 20 years or the gay man who falls head over heels for the person he knows is his soulmate, no more than it is a choice for the woman who marries her high school sweetheart or the man who rekindles a romance with the woman he never got over from college.  We don't choose who we love...love has it's own agenda.

The most beautiful thing about this is that Love always wins.  It will prevail; it always does.  And gay people will win their rights.  I guarantee it.

In the meantime, to all the naysayers, I say think long and hard about the reasons you are against homosexuals or gay rights/marriage.  Remember what this country stands for, and take some time to re-read the teachings of the man you base your religion on.  You have a "choice", now - and the choice is to choose acceptance, understanding, and compassion over denial, ignorance, and hatred.  You like to ask, "What would Jesus do?" and so I posit that to you now - what, indeed?

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