I am currently seeing this really great girl. She’s smart, sweet and really fun to be around. We agree on a lot of things. We both hate the death penalty, love pizza and enjoy hanging out—sometimes illegally—on rooftops overlooking New York City. There is one thing, however, that we just can’t see eye-to-eye on. It’s not, as you would think, what to do on Saturday or where to have dinner or which baseball team is the best. Surprisingly, the issue that we butt heads on the hardest is gay marriage.
I am totally in favor of same-sex marriage and have been ever since I can remember. I think it’s a really important issue and am outraged on a regular basis that it isn’t allowed in 45 out of 50 states in this country. After Tuesday, when voters in Maine repealed a gay marriage law, making it the 31st state in the country to fully outlaw marriage between same-sex couples, I had steam coming out of my ears. My girlfriend, on the other hand, didn’t really care. She doesn’t want to get married and thinks there are more important things to worry about.
I could dismiss this as a weird quirk of hers if she weren’t one of the many gay chicks I know who doesn’t give a crap about this issue. The last girl I dated also didn’t care. She once even voted for a candidate who was completely against it. When I pointed this out to her, she said something like, “Who cares? We have bigger fish to fry.”
I agree. There are more important issues, but that doesn’t mean we need to ignore this one. Gay rights, like the civil rights and women’s suffrage movements, is a struggle for equality that is never going to go anywhere if we don’t get behind it. Martin Luther King Jr. was outraged when people told him that he just had to be patient about segregation. Similarly, I am irate that, in a society that claims to be so darn fair, I cannot marry someone I love because the person I love happens to have a vagina.
I am not comparing the gay rights movement to the inequality that African Americans faced, and still face today. We are not being herded to the back of the bus or drinking out of separate water fountains. However, earlier last month an openly gay man in Queens was beaten to within inches of his life by a bunch of thugs who yelled “f**got” over and over while they tried to kill him. Doesn’t sound so dissimilar now, does it?
I know a lot of very loving gay couples who are extremely eager to get married. Some say pretending is the closest they’ll ever get. To be honest, I don’t know if I’ll ever want to say, “I do.” But it’s not all about what I want. This is about an entire group of people—10 percent of the population of the United States, in fact—having the right to make whatever choice is best for them.
For me, gay marriage isn’t simply an issue of marriage. It’s about the whole gay community being treated as equals. Maybe it doesn’t seem like such a big deal that same sex couples can’t get hitched. But it’s a big deal when people become targets for admitting they are gay. If these things seem unrelated, well, they aren’t. They are all just pieces of a big, un-assembled puzzle. It’s a puzzle that can’t be solved in one swoop—it has to happen piece by piece. But we have to start somewhere. I think gay marriage is the perfect place to begin.