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 Tuesday, 18 July 2006
Tuesday, 18 July 2006 14:34:07 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) ( )

According to the Star Tribune, our state government has chosen to avoid enshrining discrimination into the state constitution. My words, not theirs, btw.

It is kind of odd. Through my youth and into my early twenties I was rabidly anti-gay. As in "line 'em up and shoot 'em" rabid. Much like the anti-gay people of today, I was motivated by ignorant hate and fear. Bigotry, in its purest form.

All that changed when one of my best friends chose to come out to me. First, before even coming out to his parents. Why me? For a couple reasons. First, he and I were, and are, like brothers and he figured it would be at least as difficult to tell me as his parents. Second, he knew how blindly anti-gay I was at the time, maybe even moreso than his parents, and he thought I would be good practice. (yeah, I know that sounds harsh, but he's a very cautious and thoughtful person, so its cool)

So there I was, caught between my blind hatred of something of which I knew nothing, and my best friend who I love like a brother. Really there was no contest at all (which is not to say this was easy for me or him) - I immediately set about reordering my worldview to accommodate the fact that my friend was gay.

First is the acknowledgement that my friend is the same person he'd always been. This revelation changed nothing about my friend.

Second is the acknowledgement that my relationship with my friend is the same as it has always been. Well, perhaps not the same. The fact that he chose to take this incredible emotional risk by coming out to me first strengthened our friendship. There’s no way something like this could be anything other than relationship-changing (either strengthening it as happened, or breaking it entirely had the darkness and fear overtaken me in that brief moment of decision).

Third, and perhaps most sweeping, is the realization that I could no longer view gays as being some abstract and distant thing to fear and hate. Hating gays would mean hating my friend, so the choice was clear.

But to be honest, this third realization took years to internalize completely. It isn’t like you can change from being as ignorant and hate-filled as I was, to realizing that gays and lesbians are actually human overnight. Yes, I meant what I said – I viewed them as being sub-human – and I’m sure the anti-gay people today have that exact same view – deviant, not worthy of living.

The thing is, after working through to the conclusion that gays are human the rest (for me anyway) was relatively easy. I have had a very strong sense of personal integrity since… well… since I can remember. (probably since my first encounter with a black person when I was in 3rd grade – but that’s another story)

So here I sit, a strong proponent of gay rights, because they are simply human rights. And gay equality, because this is human equality.

And I find the idea of amending a constitution – state or federal – to enshrine discrimination against a group of human beings to be abhorrent. The purpose of the constitution (especially the US Constitution) is to bring liberty and freedom, not oppression. It is a document of bravery and light, not of darkness, hate and fear.

 

In the article is a quote:

Supporters [of the amendment] said, nevertheless, that Tuesday's vote will make a difference when people got to the polls in November.

Darn right. Some, and I would hope an ever increasing number, of us will look at who voted for to enshrine bigotry and who voted for freedom.

And of course others out there, blinded by fear and hatred like I once was, will look at the reverse: who voted to preserve the “sanctity” of marriage, and who voted to give equality to those sub-human deviants. You know, the ones who should be lined up and shot.

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