I'm not suggesting I'm getting a divorce. But if I were to get divorced from my beautiful, understanding, intelligent, pretty-much-perfect wife and want to marry someone new, I hope I’d be able to marry whomever I chose. Depending on where I live, that might not be the case.
More importantly, twenty years from now, should my son decide that he wants to enter into the tenuous bonds of matrimony, I hope that he'll have the opportunity to marry whomever he wants to. Even if it happens to be a man. Sadly, there are no guarantees.
I’m moving to North Carolina in a few weeks. I don’t yet know for how long, but in the aftermath of a law that was recently passed banning same-sex marriage – a state law, but one that reflects an ongoing national battle – a short-term stay seems more likely. I don’t want my son to grow up in a place where inequality is legislated.
|Photo courtesy of Fox News|
My son is only two. I have no earthly idea if he is gay, straight or asexual like Morrissey, and I don't personally have a horse in this race, except as a member of the human race. Same as Asians, Republicans, Scientologists, little people, left-handed guys, ambidexterous girls, people who can't roll their tongues, people born with tails, people with spina bifida, even people who like Nickelback.
People are people. And whether they want to get married or adopt a kid or buy a car or go to prom, it’s none of our business. We are all equal. I don't care about the specifics, because specifics don’t matter. We are all the same, regardless of superficial differences, and I want my son to live in a world where such equality is taken for granted. A world where, just as it’s universally understood that 1 + 1 = 2, it is established that man = woman = white = black = gay = straight.
|Not totally sure North Carolina is ready for this.|
This isn’t a matter of tolerance. “Tolerating” something means forcing yourself to withstand it; it implies superiority. That negative connotation immediately poisons the conversation. Unfortunately, in this country, the idea of “tolerance” has come to replace “acceptance” as our default stance, and that is a corruption of the ideals upon which America was founded. True equality doesn't require tolerance. Inequality requires tolerance; in fact, tolerance is what allows inequality to thrive. This is one of the first lessons I want my son to learn: it's not enough to merely tolerate other people, you must accept them for who they are, even if they may not always accept or even tolerate you.
People are people, regardless of the way they’re born or the choices they make; regardless of how different from you they might look or act or sound. No person has the right to judge another. The sad reality is that we are all equal in our imperfection; not a person among us is without room for improvement. So how can we presume to pass judgment on someone else when we ourselves are flawed? How can we deign to prevent someone else from enjoying the same benefits of our long-term relationships, to deny them the same (untainted) recognition we are granted when we marry the love of our lives?
It’s basic human decency. We are all equal and thus each of us deserves, demands, and requires equal treatment. And that includes having the right to marry whomever we choose, whether we live in North Carolina or Vermont, Texas or Massachusetts.
People are people.
Very well said. You took an extremely volatile subject, personalized it, and presented an argument without - in my opinion - being insulting or condescending to the other side. Even though one could argue the other side is a bunch of bigots. And thank you for the Morrissey link. Huge. One quick tip for which you will not be judged: Make sure your links open in another window. There's usually a box to check when you add the link. That way you're not sending people away from your page. But I thought you hit a home run here with a well-written, passionate post.
-From Daddy Knows Less
Excellent job with bringing your kid into the mix here. I could totally relate as I have to little boys and who knows what they will turn out like. Amendments should be INCLUSIVE not EXCLUSIVE. Your whole paragraph on tolerance was just brilliant and the way that you peppered this with bits of humor made this a very easy read. Great post.
-From Daddy's In Charge?
I liked your turning the tables on equality and tolerance. I found myself nodding my head in violent agreement there. But I'm still wondering about "man = woman = black = white = gay = straight." Nice piece, just a few bumps in the road for me.
-From The Klonopin Chronicles (Guest Judge)
Nice job on a very divisive topic. I like that you didn't belittle the other side or come off as a pompous jerk for believing in your side. The tolerance vs. acceptance angle was wonderful in and of itself. There were a few instances where the sentence structure seemed a bit bumpy but for the most part I think you did a great job.
-From Non-Stop Mom
I love the topic. I love it when people aren't afraid to speak out on controversial issues (especially when they have the same opinion as me! HA!)
I can tell you feel strongly about the topic, and that's a great thing.
I had some issues with certain sentences, specifically the one that starts, "Same as Asians..." I felt like that sentence was almost condescending to all the types of people you listed there. Nothing specific you said made me feel that way, it's just a feeling I got. That whole list just rubbed me the wrong way.
That said, I loved the paragraph about tolerance. I hate the push towards teaching tolerance these days. It's just not good enough. We need to teach acceptance.
Not your best work, but overall a fine post about a great topic.
-From Pinwheels and Poppies
I like how you showed that tolerance is different from acceptance and that "tolerance allows inequality to thrive". But like Pinwheels and Poppies, the statement that started with "Same as Asians" seemed condescending for those listed there. But I do understand the point for that statement. Overall, it was a very good post!
-From Bay Area Mommy
I could say a lot here- but the other judges beat me to it- I agree with all above. I do want to add that I admire you for hanging your ass out there and acknowledging your very own son could grow up to be gay, bi, whatever and that takes a lack of fear for backlash. I LOVE it when writers go all in! Also loved your careful explanation of tolerance and acceptance... I will be more careful when I use "tolerate" henceforth. Well done, well done, well done!
-From Honey Badger Press