Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Love is love is love.

I'm not a politically savvy person. Hell, sometimes I think I'm not even qualified to talk about anything remotely debatable or controversial at all. I don't claim the ability to make in-depth analyses on today's pressing issues, and admittedly there are times when my opinions are based on nothing more than thinly-researched information (thanks for the easily digestible articles, Slate). 

But, there is a particular issue that I feel passionate about that doesn't need much explanation, except to say that it's driven by this simple rule that governs us all: Do unto others what you want others to do unto you. I'm a supporter of LGBT rights, because I believe we should all treat each other with the same respect and love. I am invigorated by the changing attitudes about LGBT rights in the US. The Supreme Court ruling on DOMA and dismissal of the Prop 8 case just show to me that we're evolved enough as a people to understand and uphold something as pure and straightforward as the Golden Rule.

Our life is governed by rules, both universal and specific. I think the reason why people have such a strong opinion on this issue either way is because it either challenges or reinforces the rules they choose to live by. I know of people (relatives, family friends, acquaintances) who oppose same-sex marriage due to religious codes they follow. I can relate; I used to attend a church that espouses (no pun intended) that marriage is between a man and a woman. So, these recent rulings, as well as the same-sex marriage victories in 13 states + DC (so proud to live in Minnesota), can be really startling to people who have this narrow definition of marriage. Startled, maybe even angered, but I really don't think they will be harmed by it. Honestly, how can my two gay friends getting married be a threat to your marriage? I mean, I can see a fierce competition in the wedding planning business once we have more gay weddings (just remember to take your Xanax for Gay Summer Weddings). Kidding aside, what opponents of same-sex marriage fail to see is that while allowing same-sex marriages will do nothing to harm heterosexual unions, banning it can and does cause great injury to LGBT individuals. Again, think of the Golden Rule, or alternately "putting yourself in someone else's shoe." How would I feel if I was wantonly denied the right to marry someone because of their gender? I know of many solid, committed same-sex relationships that have the requisites of solid, committed marriages, so I believe they should be given access to the personal, social, and economic benefits of marriage accessible to opposite-sex couples.

I could definitely keep talking about the different reasons why I support gay rights, but I'll end with this:

Growing up in the Philippines, we were fortunate enough to have two housekeepers live with us, Ate Liza and Ate Jenny. I love them both very dearly, and they were great at running the house, picking us up from school, watching after us as we skated outside our apartment building, etc. Ate Jenny is what I'd call a tomboy; short hair, boyish clothing, and I was aware at a young age that her and Ate Liza were an "item." One day, when Ate Jenny picked me up from school (I must've been around 7 or 8), she went to use the restroom. I was confused as to why she went to the ladies' restroom; I remember asking her why she did that. I thought Ate Jenny and Ate Liza were a couple, so why would Ate Jenny use the girl's restroom? Like any 7-year-old, though, I quickly forgot about that moment and just went on my carefree, innocent life. Ate Jenny and Ate Liza remained a couple for a few more years, even after Ate Jenny stopped working for us. They would sometimes get into fights and break it off for a while, then get back together. I remained unfazed by it all, because really, what 7-year-old cares about adult stuff? It wasn't until years later that I finally realized that they were a gay couple. When I put this together, I different. No different towards Ate Jenny and Ate Liza, who I still keep in touch with. No different towards their relationship. No different towards my relationship with them. I did, however, start to question my relationship with the church I was attending. It wasn't heavily discussed, but I knew where the church stood on homosexuality, and I was confounded that they taught us to "love one another," unless you're gay. I also became more cognizant of family members who are gay, and wondered what would make them any less deserving of anyone's love and respect. I couldn't come up with any reason, because there was and is none. So, I started thinking for myself, and realized that I don't have to accept tenets that frankly don't make sense to me. It's been a looooong while since I've been to a church, and I don't feel compelled to find a new one, although I think it is beautiful that there are plenty of denominations that embrace the full meaning of 'love one another.' 

It's really that maxim, along with the universal Golden Rule, that has guided me to a strong and steadfast position on gay rights. I may not be the most active supporter out there -- my contribution to defeat Amendment 1 in MN was modest -- but it is individual voices like yours and mine that create this tide of change. 

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