For months people have asked me:
Why do you give a damn about gay marriage, Kelly?
I have heard things like:
What does it matter to you?
And I’ve sat through conversations that, when boiled down, seemed to be saying:
Kelly, you’re a happily married heterosexual white woman and mother. None of this will have any impact on YOUR life.
I find the questions offensive. I find the assumptions ignorant.
Image: Mike Licht via Flickr
First, let’s fix the language. When I hear “gay marriage” my skin twitches. It is an incredible simplification of the issue. The goal of marriage equality bills is to create an environment of equality, not to find more labels to apply to people and families. The hope of marriage equality bills is not to define marriage—or redefine it if that is how you see it—but to remove the limitations the law erroneously and arrogantly set.
Second, equality matters to me because I have been on the other side. I have been the one who is unequal and deemed unworthy. I have been the odd woman out, the devil in disguise, the little Jewish girl who drinks the blood of Christian babies (kid you not—I have had these accusations directed at me more than once in my life—ain’t the South grand).
Third, it is because I am a mother that this will most assuredly have an impact on my life. My children have been told that they matter. They have been told that their feelings are important. They have been assured that their emotions are valid. How can I stand by when not just the occasional hypocrite but a group of leaders tells them not all feelings deserve recognition?
My children have been taught to respect the right for others to hold differing beliefs and opinions. But more importantly they have been taught that all people are equal and should be treated as such. How can I as a parent look my children in the eye and say “Yes, dear, all people are equal and worthy of love except for….”
Equality can have no caveats.
And so this IS my fight.
This White, heterosexual, happily married woman is proud to by an ally of equality and prouder to be passing on those ideals to her children. Congratulations to my current home state of Minnesota for becoming the twelfth state in these United, though so very often divided, States of America.
We should all be so equally blessed.
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