“I rarely offer opinions in this blog that might be construed as political, in nature. However, today’s post is the occasional exception. The recent North Carolina ballot initiative, and the voting outcome, has made me sick-to-my-stomach.
I have found the entire public discourse disgusting and distracting, Therefore, I’ve chosen to share a series of personal thoughts and observations, based on many life experiences.
Some people will agree with my points of view. Others might revile them. Yet others may be moved to think in greater depth about same-sex marriage and other issues of personal liberty. Regardless of where you fall on the issues, I simply hope you’ll consider these words.
Should you find this commentary worthy, you are welcome to link to this post.”
I grew up in a relatively sheltered, but free-thinking environment. My parents saw the sorry state of public schools in New York City and invest in a private school education for me. First, at Fieldston School (an Ethical Culture School); then at Riverdale Country School (grades 4-12).
Both schools offered an analytical view of the world around us, and nurtured critical thinking for its students, beginning at an age that others might find astounding.
On race and interracial marriage
As a child of the 1960’s, I grew up smack in the middle of the civil rights movement, Vietnam war, the cold war, the space race, recreational drugs, and more. In third grade the issue of interracial marriage presented itself to me.
One Monday morning, my class mate, Mary, told a story about a weekend outing with her parents. Their destination was a public fair. At the gate, security would admit Mary and her mother, but not her daddy. I came to understand that her mom was white; her father, black. It still didn’t make sense to me.
I sought out my mother for this confusing matter. She put it in terms any third-grader could understand. Ice Cream!! Flavors of Ice Cream. She explained that people, like ice cream, came in many flavors. These flavors were different from each other, but no flavor was better than another. Sometimes flavors are blended, in ice cream, and in people.
She explained that some people in the world were not quite as enlightened as I now was. I should treat all people, in all flavors, as wondrous individuals, and variations were part of their beauty. That bit of coaching has held me in good stead, all these years later.
Awareness Of Homosexuality
For me, it probably started in high school with observations of certain teachers. Mannerisms, speech patterns and such, stood out as different, but were unclear to me.
Again, my parents came to me with plain-English explanations of same-sex and heterosexual, attraction. They explained that this was part of the natural order of things and should be viewed and understood in that context. Homosexuality was nothing evil or something that should be, or could be, corrected. Again, I should appreciate it as part of the variety of human kind.
Homosexuality in the Adult World
My life as a nightclub and mobile disc jockey put me in settings rubbing shoulders with large segments of the LGBT community. Spending 26 years in San Francisco, both culturally, and in business, gave me endless opportunities to know, and work with people, who happened to be gay.
Since my 20’s, it has been quite obvious to me that people do not choose to be gay or lesbian. It is a matter of biology, not a lifestyle choice. The notion that significant segments of the population still believe the contrarian view, in their bubble, is both amazing and disturbing to me.
It’s hard enough to be a teenager in any fashion. To understand one’s homosexuality and deal with feeling, and being perceived, as different, must be an incredible burden and pressure… to say the least.
The Wheels of Acceptance Move Slowly
And that brings me to the current climate. It seems, as a country, we talk individual liberty, reasonably well. However, we tend to try to legislate the behavior, and limit the rights of other people.
In related matters, Jessica and I have lived together for about eight years, but because we are not married, we cannot buy health insurance as a couple. Nevada (as opposed to some others) grants different rights to people who cohabit, rather than marry. Why this should vary from state to state is baffling.
And leaves us with the legality of same-sex marriage and the incredible variance in law, from state to state.
Over decades, and reinforced, this week, I have come to a very simple view:
“If two people want to get married, in the eyes of the world and the law, there appears to be no rational reason, to me, why they shouldn’t be allowed to wed. The world will not crumble, anymore than it has from a high divorce rate among heterosexuals. People should be able to choose their acquaintances, relationships, and life-partners. I suppose, as a straight man, it would be easy to ignore the issue as ‘not my problem.’ However, I think the kind of shortsightedness on this issue disturbs me no end and I refuse to remain silent.”
Lest there be any confusion, since this is a wedding marketing blog, my key point has nothing to do with commerce. The notion of ‘this would be good for business’ may be other people’s point. It’s not my point.
My point is:
“Enabling two human beings to become legally married is the right thing to do. Nothing more, nothing less.”
I have seen many improvements in equality and personal liberty during my lifetime. In some cases, though, the progress has been painfully slow.
It would please me if issues of equality and individual rights would be seen by more people, using an open mind, rather than projecting and pushing their personal preferences onto others, via legislation.
As the button says: If you don’t support gay marriage, don’t get one.
Or as I like to describe Libertarianism, in its simplest form:
“Everyone should be able to swing their fist in any direction, as long as they don’t connect with another person’s nose.”
When you boil the fat out of it, I believe that’s what we have here.
It’s will a long, political season, this year. Think things through, be rational, take a stand, and have civil discussions.
With every best wish,
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog