I feel like someone famous once sang something about “respect.” I don’t know. I’m sure he did a great job at it. 😉 But after reading a series of comments regarding gays, particularly same-sex marriage, I have a few things to say about respect.
In one of these comments, someone who does not support gay marriage for moral/religious reasons mentioned having numerous gay friends. This person simply asked for the respect that this person gives to gay friends, despite differences. That’s absolutely a fair thing to ask. We all have disagreements about the important issues of our times and the least we should provide each other in a debate is civility and an ear willing to listen to one’s argument. Otherwise, we’d
be members of Congress get nothing done.
But there’s a difference in arguing for or against gay marriage and arguing about something like the best type of bread or best cheese. Because when I’m arguing my case for wheat or monterey jack, I’m not arguing with you about my right to purchase either of these. I’m just talking about which one I prefer. It’s a choice. Arguing for or against gay marriage is also different than arguing over something like how to fix the economy or subsidized health care. There are valid arguments on both sides. I have yet to hear what I consider a valid argument against gay marriage. I didn’t choose to be attracted to or fall in love with a guy. It just happened. And I’m not arguing about a preference, I’m arguing about a right that millions of other people have that I don’t have for no other reason than it makes people uncomfortable, mostly on religious grounds.
So to all who respect my belief that I deserve the same rights as you, thank you. I appreciate your respect and I respect your ability to disagree with me. But I do not – I cannot – understand how you can consciously walk up to a ballot box and vote to ban me – your friend, your family member, your neighbor – from having a right that you take for granted. So if I have to choose between deserving your respect and the same rights as you, I choose the rights.
I understand that, for many, marriage is partially – maybe even mostly – a religious ceremony. But I also know that, for many, marriage is purely just a right people enjoy in the eyes of the law. That’s known as a civil right. Not something for a ballot box. And if you’re a straight friend of mine and find yourself disagreeing with me right now, I ask you to do this: Put yourself in my shoes right now. Pretend our situations were reversed. What would you be saying to me right now? How would you feel right now? What would you do right now?
Equal rights. That’s what “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” means to me.