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It’s Finally Fabulous Wedding Season

The Supreme Court ruled, in a 5 to 4 vote, that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.  This is something I never expected to see in my lifetime and something that makes me proud of this country.  Marriage should be a union between two consenting adults; there is nothing complex or confusing about it.  I’m excited to see what this monumental ruling brings down the road.

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What doesn’t excite me is the horrible attitudes of people who still strongly oppose same-sex unions.  The reality we live in is full of all types of couples; different races and social standings and genders and religions.  No one has to agree with every union out there.  I don’t happen to agree with an 18-year-old marrying someone old enough to be their grandfather, but I’m not about to parade the streets in protest.  Consenting adults get to marry whoever those consenting adults want.

A marriage of any kind affects the two people who are married, plus any children they have, any pets they keep, and any family members who live with them.  Outside of that, if you are affected by someone’s marriage, it is because you are choosing to insert yourself somewhere that you don’t need to be.  My brother, who was married last year, lives in New York and his marriage didn’t change anything in my world.  Two friends of mine also married last year, and their marriage (which was the best wedding I’ve ever been to) also didn’t affect me past the few pounds I probably gained from their amazing cupcakes.  If you are whining about how you are negatively affected by same-sex marriages, it’s your own damn fault.

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The whole “I don’t want it thrown in my face argument” isn’t valid either.  The people who are shouting this from the rooftops are the same ones who are heavily invested in reality television, who are keeping up with the Kardashians, and who gossip heavily on social media.  You are throwing nonsense in the faces of everyone around you when you drone on about the latest garbage on E! News, discussing the most recent celebrity weddings and hook-ups.  The world isn’t going to censor itself because you’re too fragile to handle it.  If you don’t want things “thrown in your face,” remove yourself from society, stop watching Big Brother, and log off Facebook while the rest of us carry on living our lives and enjoying the little pleasures each day brings.

“But I don’t want to see rainbows everywhere, or two men making out.”  First of all, rainbows are fantastic.  They are bright and colorful and happy.  If you hate the sight of happiness, I don’t know what to tell you.  Second, I can understand not wanting to see two guys making out because, personally, I don’t want to see ANYONE making out.  Excessive displays of public affection are uncomfortable regardless of the couple.  That said, if you are getting up in arms about two women holding hands, you need to take it down a notch and quit being so damn uptight.  PG displays of love are a part of life; so long as it doesn’t cross a line, quit obsessing and leave people alone.

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“But it destroys the sanctity of marriage.”  And straight couples getting married for the 4th or 5th time doesn’t?  Shows like Arranged, The Bachelor/Bachelorette and Married At First Sight aren’t destroying it?  Photographers stalking celebrity weddings and posting photos for greedy fans to devour doesn’t destroy it?  Sorry, guys, but a woman marrying a woman she loves isn’t destroying a single thing.  It’s working to rebuild the institution of marriage by opening the door for many more loving and deserving couples that want to marry in the eyes of God and/or the law.

When it’s all said and done, everyone has the right to their own opinion.  But I have the right to keep my distance from people who are stuck in the dark ages and who refuse to evolve along with the rest of us.  I have already deleted a couple of people from my life due to their ignorant and close-minded views.  I have deleted them because they are insulting, rude, and acting quite childish, not to mention quick to place blame on the so-called cowards who have joined me in dropping them as friends.  People who oppose equality and love don’t earn any space in my life.

Maybe these people will come around, and maybe they won’t.  What matters to me is that the majority is standing tall and proud, cheering this decision along with me.  My child will grow up in a better world than I grew up in.  Things are changing and it can only get better from here.  It’s a waste of time and energy to sulk, hating on people you don’t even know.  Stop hating.  Start embracing.

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The Religious Freedom Restoration Act

Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law this morning in a private ceremony, and I for one could not be happier!  For far too long, wonderful upstanding citizens have been forced to endure countless hours of agony thanks to the gay community.  Business owners have had to sit back while the evil gays make purchases in their stores, then be wished a nice day before those awful gays return to their life of sin.  Now, thanks to the savvy minds in Indiana, this is no longer a worry!

Business owners are free to kick out horrible lesbian couples, refusing to give them service because of who they choose to love.  Yes, CHOOSE, because being gay is 110% a choice and definitely not a way someone is born.  No longer will I have to go to my friendly neighborhood bakery and watch as two men DARE to hold hands as they leave after purchasing their muffins and donuts.  Gay, pink sprinkled donuts, no doubt.  Mike Pence has made all our dreams come true, and I’m so glad we are ushering in 2015 with this type of forward thinking!

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And no, before you say it, this is definitely not a cheap way of allowing people to hide behind religion in order to discriminate blindly against people they don’t understand, lifestyles they wouldn’t want for themselves, or other things that don’t affect them personally.  I’m not religious myself, but boy if I was, I would definitely use whatever interpretation of the bible I could in order to keep certain people at arm’s length.  It’s not hiding behind God, it’s doing His work!  Because if there was one thing we can all learn from Jesus, it’s that we are NOT all God’s children and definitely do NOT deserve equal treatment.

If Governor Pence didn’t take this amazing initiative, just think of what the great state of Indiana would devolve into?  Gays would run rampant through the streets, frequenting businesses in their community like the rest of us and enjoying life’s little pleasures.  They would likely demand that all local businesses cover everything with rainbows and glitter so they feel more welcome.  Our children would be corrupted by the sight of a loving same sex couple who has the NERVE to go out on a day trip to do some shopping.

Some local businesses are protesting the RFRA by putting stickers in their windows saying “This Business Serves Everyone.”  Clearly, these people need to find God.  Equal treatment for all is not what this country is all about!  In this day and age, we should be striving to move backward through time and return to the days where people were afraid of anyone who was different from they are, be it race or religion or sexual orientation.  They don’t call them the good ol’ days for nothing, am I right?!?

Open-for-Service-stickerSure, Indiana may be losing Gen Con, as the popular money making convention wants nothing to do with such a close-minded state, but we don’t need those costumed weirdos anyway!  The nice thing about RFRA is that not only can businesses discriminate against same sex couples, but they can also discriminate against other races, religions, tall people, guys with ponytails, you name it!  Even if you think someone LOOKS gay, out the door they go!  It’s brilliant!

Pence stated “This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way in Indiana, I would have vetoed it.  For more than 20 years, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act has never undermined our nation’s anti-discrimination laws, and it will not in Indiana.”  See?!?  This is not about kicking a gay couple out of your store to discriminate against them!  It’s about kicking a gay couple out because God says they are wrong for being who they are!  It’s totally different!  It doesn’t legalize discrimination, it just says that it’s totally okay to discriminate if you own a business and don’t like the personal lives of the people who choose to come around you.

It’s a proud day for Indiana.  Heck, it’s a proud day for the country!  Hopefully someone comes along to address my marriage next, because God knows I was totally wrong for marrying outside of my race.  And I also hope someone quickly holds an intervention for me so I can rid myself of every friend and acquaintance that isn’t 100% straight and proud of it.  This return to the dark ages is something we should applaud.  Thank you, Mike Pence, for signing this bill and making me realize how wrong I was all these years thinking that each and every human on Earth deserved equal treatment.  Thank you for teaching my child and children around the world that being different is something that should be punished.  Thank you for showing us that “separate but equal” is an idea worth returning to.  Thank you for opening my eyes to the fact that someone’s personal and private lives involving love and companionship is something we should blindly hate and publicly shun.  Thank you for showing me that I was wrong all these years I ignorantly assumed that I was doing the right thing by treating everyone fairly and openly.  Thank you, Mike Pence.  I applaud you.

Who We Love

Week after week, month after month, the post that consistently gets the most views on here is one I wrote about the pros and cons of same sex marriage.  It was written sarcastically, with the cons being silly things that people either speculate will happen (the sanctity of marriage will be destroyed) or things that are actually pros (same sex couples would earn the same rights and privileges as heterosexual married couples).  “Pros and cons of gay marriage” is the search term that directs the most people to my page as well, beating out every other topic I’ve ever covered.  While I’m happy that it’s on the minds of many, I have begun to worry a bit that there is a need to do research on the good and the bad that could come from legalizing same sex marriage across the board.

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Whenever I think about my own marriage, one thing that never comes to mind is the way other marriages are affecting my own.  The simple truth is that my marriage and everyone else’s are two separate and independent things.  Not once have I ever been positively or negatively affected by another person’s union.  My marriage becomes no less real when someone gets divorced for the 5th time or when two women say their vows under the moonlight.  My marriage is no less real when two loving men get married, nor is it less real when a woman marries a man for the sole purpose of getting her hands on his bank account.  I don’t care why two people choose to get married because not only is it none of my business, it just doesn’t affect my life, family, or personal happiness.

What does affect me is the sad fact that same sex marriage isn’t legal in this country as a whole, nor it is legal in many places around the world.  It affects me because unless things change, I will not be able to see some of my friends have weddings they deserve in the future.  They won’t be able to do so many things that I can easily do with my husband.  They are barred from these things because their union makes people uncomfortable.  It’s immoral in the eyes of many because the bible says so.  It’s feared because of outdated notions on what love and marriage are.  It’s wrong to so many people for reasons they don’t even understand.

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There is no reasons for a pros and cons debate when it comes to same sex marriage because there are no cons.  What, it makes you uncomfortable?  The woman popping her gum in the hallway at work this morning made me uncomfortable, so can we legally ban her from chewing gum in public?  It goes against your religious beliefs?  No one is forcing you to marry someone of the same gender or attend a gay wedding, so I’m unsure of how your beliefs are being affected.  Gay marriage will destroy the country?  Legal or not, women are loving women and men are loving men.  Nothing has been destroyed yet by that and it sure as hell won’t be destroyed if we just bite the bullet and let everyone get married.

While I do worry that the pros and cons are searched so often, I do hope that it’s being done because people are slowly coming to accept the fact that the right thing to do is to make marriage legal for all consenting adults, regardless of gender or preference.  Interracial marriage was once looked at as critically as same sex marriage is.  With the exception of a small group of idiots, we now look at the idea of making interracial unions illegal as silly.  In the future, the idea of same sex marriage being illegal will also be a ridiculous notion.  But how long do we have to wait to get to that point?  How long do we have to make couples wait before they are no longer made to feel as if their love is wrong?

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If you don’t support it, that’s your right.  Don’t go to certain weddings, alienate certain people, and do whatever makes you happy.  Post Facebook updates expressing your displeasure, write angry blogs, and leave comments on news sites.  But don’t think you have the right to control what others do with their lives.  Don’t think it’s okay for you to control who someone else marries and loves.  Don’t selfishly wonder how it’ll affect you if two men say their vows and the state recognizes that union.  The rights that leave you free to believe what you want, worship who you will, and say what you wish are the same rights that should allow any same sex adult couple to get married.  Stop wasting time searching for an easy reference pros and cons list and just let people live their lives.

New Year, New Stuff

2013 was a hell of a year.  As with every passing year, I am happy to close the book on this one and begin anew with 2014.  Even though it’s just a symbolic closing of one door and opening of another, I like to think that we can use it as a way to put the BS behind us and move forward into something positive.  There are things I am hoping to see more of in the new year, as well as quite a few things I am wishing into oblivion.  This is a very abbreviated list.

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Things I want more of in 2014…

Recently, I’ve not only been paid royalties for my Kindle ebooks (under a pen name), but I’ve also been making money with this blog.  With the ability to host ads, the new traffic, and the offers I’ve received, I was paid quite a nice amount just in December alone.  WordAds, hosted by WordPress, will hopefully pay me out next month.  Getting paid to write has always been a dream of mine, and it seems to finally be happening for me.  I want this to go to the next level in the new year.

More and more states are taking steps to make marriage an equal right for both gay and straight couples.  Two consenting adults in love should be allowed to marry, and thankfully more states are recognizing that and doing something about it.  There’s still a way to go, but I hope to see this continue on into the new year, and keep on going until the entire country makes the change.  I want my child to enter adulthood in a different world than the one I entered into.

My husband and I have been taking a lot of mini-vacations lately.  Whether it’s staying overnight in Indianapolis or leaving the state for a day or two, we seem to have entered a somewhat adventurous state, eager to explore new areas and experience new things.  It’s been incredibly fun and rewarding, and I want us to be able to continue on and explore many new places together.

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You know how any idiot can get YouTube famous?  Now with apps like Vine, shows like Tosh.O, and other outlets, people can get their 15 minutes of fame pretty damn easily.  But keeping it is a whole other story.  The desire to hold on to the little bit of fame has forced people to get creative.  Acting stupid on camera will get you noticed, but then what?  You either make something happen or you fade away.  I’ve seen some incredibly clever things on YouTube, Vine, Pheed, etc. lately and I love the efforts people are making.

Most restaurants have been on point as far as listing their calorie counts for their various dishes.  I absolutely love this.  It allows me to plan my outings and avoid dishes that contain a days worth of calories on a single plate.  I do hope that this trend continues and goes to the next level to list calories in mixed drinks (I know it’s not possible for everything, but I’ve seen it done and I think consumers deserve it).

Did you see the series finale of Breaking Bad?  I’m not going to ruin it for you if you haven’t, but if you have, you know how amazing it was and how the powers behind that show truly stepped up their game to give the audience something spectacular.  They put the work in and it paid off more than anyone could have expected.  We need more of that:  quality television shows put together painstakingly by brilliant minds and performed by brilliant actors.

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Things I want less of in 2014…

There seems to be a new diet pill, trend, or trick every couple of weeks.  Exciting new herbs and extracts, weird machines, body wraps, and god knows what else, all promising to burn fat like magic.  There is no magic, obviously.  I want less “easy fix” nonsense and more research.  I know that certain vitamins and herbs CAN help with weight loss.  I want information on what works and the truth on how effective it is.  No more “results not typical” in fine print.  Be honest about your products.

Miley Cyrus.  Just everything Miley.  I’m bored with her antics, tired of seeing her lick household items while gyrating in a barely there outfit, and simply over the desperate cries for attention.  What’s wrong with being noticed because you’re a talented musician?  Any idiot can flash their ass to a camera, and I’m done seeing Miley’s.

The final book in the Twilight series was made into two movies.  The Hobbit is somehow being stretched into three.  I believe the Hunger Games movies will also break the final book into two films.  Having read The Hobbit and all of the Twilight, I feel confident in saying that dragging them out into multiple films was not necessary.  Yes, they are out to make money, but I prefer quality over quantity.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d rather see one amazing movie instead of two or three drawn out films.

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Not everyone will get along with and accept everyone else in their community.  We butt heads, disagree, and dislike people for no good reason.  Unfortunately, with the internet being at our fingertips 24/7, people can disagree with a wider variety of others, plus they can spread their ignorance like wildfire.  I hate that stupid people can hide behind the anonymity of online postings and tear down others for no reason.  Sometimes it’s better to keep quiet, and I hope they can learn to do just that.

I hate stupid questions.  Hate them with a passion.  I hate being asked the same stupid question over and over again by a person expecting a different answer if they annoy me enough.  Don’t ask me if my boss is in the shitter (news flash:  he doesn’t tell me when he’s going there and I wouldn’t want to know anyway), don’t ask me to find a single person in a building of thousands (I don’t have a directory, no matter how many times you ask), and don’t ask me things that even a five year old would be ashamed to put into words.

I’m not sure when it started, but we are currently deep into a very bad habit of shortening names and words into silly abbreviations.  Whether it’s to sound hip or to report on news stories quicker, it seems like anything that can be abbreviated will be.  (Kanye West + Kim Kardashian = Kimye)  (National Geographic’s television channel = NatGeo)  (Robert Pattinson = RPatz)  It’s lazy and annoying.  Please stop.

No More DOMA

Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, was ruled unconstitutional today by a vote of 5 to 4.  This means that the federal government will now recognize same-sex married couples as married and deserving of the same rights and privileges that are afforded to heterosexual couples.  The 5-4 decision read: “DOMA violates basic due process and equal protection principles applicable to the federal government. Under DOMA same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways.”  This is amazing news for legally married gay couples who have been denied marital benefits, as well as for couples who wish to marry and for our nation as a whole.  I cannot imagine how happy they must be, but i know that I myself am ecstatic!

I encourage you all to get online, turn on your televisions, talk to friends and coworkers, and acquire as much information as you can about this historical ruling.  Unfortunately, this decision does not mean that gay marriage is now legal; it is still illegal in about 80% of our country.  But this is a huge step in the right direction.  This is a turning point and it means that there is one less obstacle standing in the way of loving couples who want nothing more than the marital bliss and benefits that I enjoy every day.  This is a sign that we are slowly but surely coming around.  This is a fantastic day.  Go celebrate, but don’t forget that we still have a lot of work to do.  But with this ruling, my hope is through the roof.  I see great things in the future.

Love And Basketball

NBA player Jason Collins has decided to come out of the closet and announce that he is gay, something he describes as mind-boggling and something he hopes will encourage other closeted homosexuals to follow his lead and be open and honest with the world.  He is the first active professional athlete to do this, making his actions into a milestone for the LGBT community.  He says he did not set out to be a trailblazer but he is happy to have started a new conversation about homosexuality in our country.  He has received a lot of support from fellow athletes and definitely has people talking.

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It’s bizarre that in 2013, homosexuality still is not accepted in this country.  We are split right down the middle when it comes to gay marriage, we still have people insisting that being gay is a choice and not something one is born as, and we still see people become extremely uncomfortable and sometimes filled with rage at the sight of two men holding hands or two women having a romantic dinner.  We see people become angry when a woman dates another woman who has a more masculine appearance, asking why she doesn’t just date a guy if she’s going to date a woman we think looks like a guy herself.  We chastise men for being “sissies,” mocking behavior we think is flamboyant.  For some reason, society cannot come together and simply accept that being gay doesn’t mean a person is flawed.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is a thing of the past for our military, something my favorite soldier at work is quite happy about, but it doesn’t mean that his struggle is over.  He still gets ribbed by colleagues who think if he just found the right woman, he would be “fixed.”  He’s even had a heart to heart with me where he considered trying to date women so his life would be easier.  Male soldiers are supposed to be macho and tough, something that most people don’t generally associate with being gay.  It’s the same for professional male athletes; they are tough alpha males who score the hottest models and who can have their way with whatever woman they wish.  These tough guys shouldn’t be gay because homosexuality doesn’t fit our view of what an athlete should be.

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I’ve heard a lot of people say that it’s not a big deal that Collins came out and that he should just shut up about it instead of being out there and trying to be some sort of hero.  I don’t see what he has done as an act of heroism though, I see it as no different from any public figure opening up about love or any other part of their personal life.  People like the Kardashians live their life like an open wound and it’s accepted, but a homosexual decides to be honest and that isn’t okay?  Collins isn’t dressing in rainbow-covered attire and dancing in the streets with men in speedos, he is simply making a personal statement and doing so in the hopes that his admission will move our society in a positive direction.  There is nothing to be upset about here.

Collins is right on the money by calling this mind-boggling.  As I write this, two of my coworkers are having a discussion about how this will negatively affect the team, the mood in the locker room, and the sport as a whole.  It’s mind-boggling that people still think that being a gay man means being sexually attracted to every single man they come across.  It’s mind-boggling that teammates could feel uncomfortable in a locker room with a gay man who has previously never done anything and probably will not do anything in the future to cause discomfort.  Sexual orientation is one piece among many that makes a person who they are.  It shouldn’t be the one defining piece and shouldn’t cause this much distress and outrage.

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I’ve been in a locker room with lesbians.  I’ve been in many restrooms in gay bars and clubs with lesbians.  I’ve been harassed and/or made to feel uncomfortable zero times.  The one time I’ve been harassed by a lesbian was while working at a shoe store.  There is no reason for alarm and no reason to think that a gay man can’t play a sport because his teammates won’t be able to handle the homosexual vibe in the locker room.  It’s not the gay person causing discomfort, it’s everyone else who won’t put aside their fears and who choose to focus on the fact that this man prefers the company of other men instead of women.  Yes, there are gay people out there who don’t know how to behave, but that can be said for straight folk as well.  The bad behavior of a few does not define everyone.

We need to treat the admission by Collins properly, which is to treat is as no big deal.  He took a step out of the shadows in order to grow as a person and to be happy.  He started a conversation that should be ended with acceptance and love.  His actions will hopefully show others that being gay isn’t something to be ashamed of and isn’t something people should be fearful of.  We need to rid ourselves of the stereotypical image of what a gay man or woman should be and accept the fact that gay people come in as wide a variety as straight people do.  We are way overdue to drop this terrible attitude towards the LGBT community.  None of us have the right to stand in the way of anyone’s happiness.  If someone’s happiness comes from loving the same gender, who are we to oppose?

Adam And Steve

Today marks the second day in a row that the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case on gay marriage, which is a major issue in this country that attracts a lot of attention and provokes intense feelings.  We are nearly equally divided as a nation, one side pulling for equality while the other side views same sex marriages as an insult to the institution of marriage, a sin, an abomination, or simply wrong and against nature.  Regardless of who you are and what type of life you lead, you have likely been touched by this issue in one form or another.  It will no doubt be interesting to see what results from the Supreme Court hearings.

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I am strongly in favor of equal rights across the board when it comes to marriage.  I believe any consenting adult should have the right to marry any other consenting adult, regardless of gender, race, religion, or other factor that has nothing to do with the love that exists between a couple.  If two people are of age and of sound mind, eager to commit to each other and build a life together, who are we to deny them that?  I will be celebrating my five year wedding anniversary tomorrow and I find it incredibly unfair that I get to do this while other loving couples out there are wondering if they will ever get to say “I do” and have it be more than symbolic.  It makes no sense whatsoever.

To this day, I have never heard a decent and valid argument against same sex marriages.  The various religious factors in existence that define marriage as a union between a man and a woman should have no bearing on the law.  We are not one nation under one God; many different religions are practiced and some people don’t believe in any sort of God or higher power, so beliefs should not be dictating our laws and practices.  The argument that marriage is meant to be the start of a family is invalid, as it would mean that infertile men and women also have no right to marry, which we know is untrue.  There is no valid reason for people to think that allowing same sex marriages would destroy the institute itself; if quickie weddings between two foolish people aren’t destroying anything, surely a loving union between two women won’t either.  Legalizing same sex marriage won’t affect the opposition personally; what these couples are doing behind closed doors isn’t hurting them now, won’t stop regardless of the law, and won’t affect them if the laws change.  This argument should be a no brainer.

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Being gay is as much of a choice as it is to be straight.  I didn’t wake up one day and decide that men were for me; it was ingrained in my mind and part of who I am and my intended path in life.  Likewise, no man or woman is sitting around, weighing their options before finally deciding that they would like to become gay.  Homosexuality is a part of who they are, just like hair and eye color or personality and intelligence.  To say that same sex marriages should not be legal is just as ridiculous as saying that natural redheads have no business getting married.  It has no bearing on the person in question; it is simply a way to discriminate against something we don’t like, don’t understand, or don’t approve of.

We live in a country where communication with anyone in the world can happen with a few clicks of a mouse or swipes of a finger.  We can visit a salon or a surgeon when unhappy with our looks to get something as simple as a new hair cut and color or something as drastic as breast augmentation and rhinoplasty.  We can achieve fame by self publishing a book on Amazon, being amusing on Twitter, or making a silly Youtube video.  We can cure all sorts of physical ailments and seem closer than ever to finding the cure for HIV.  We are quite the impressive nation, yet we still refuse to accept that a man can love another man so much that the pair wish to marry and enjoy all the benefits and privileges given to a man and a woman who wed.

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At one point, I was sure that in my lifetime, I would see same sex marriages legalized in this entire country.  I thought that surely people would see this battle as the modern version of the fight for racial equality or women’s rights.  I’m not so sure anymore.  I don’t know if the irrational fear can be set aside and the issue can be viewed through unbiased eyes.  I don’t know if the Bible can take a backseat when it comes to law and policy.  I don’t know if equality can exist in a nation that is also home to so many closed minds.  I don’t know if we can stop hating what we don’t quite understand and simply allow every consenting and able minded adult out there to marry any other consenting adult of their choosing.

I do have a few shreds of hope left that the Supreme Court will take a step in the right direction and that one step will be followed by many more.  The LGBT community cannot be ignored and should not be segregated.  What may have worked in the past is not always the same thing that will work in the present day.  Society evolves and laws must evolve with it.  It no longer makes sense to define marriage as strictly between a male and female and the laws should be changed to reflect that.  We must adapt and we must put a stop to this senseless discrimination.  If you want to hate homosexuality, knock yourself out, but your blind hatred should have no bearing on the law.  This is about love, the union between two loving souls, and the right of every adult to marry whatever other adult they choose.  Legalizing same sex marriages will bring about nothing but positivity.  We owe it to ourselves and to our country to make this into a reality.

Becoming Gay

I recently read about Timothy Kurek, an evangelical Christian from Nashville, Tennessee, who lived a full year of his life as a gay man.  His decision to do this came after a friend came out to him about being a lesbian and how her admission resulted in being shunned by her family.  He stated that his first reaction was to try to convert her, a thought that disgusted him.  His disgust at his feelings was so strong that in 2009, he made the decision to step into her shoes and live a year of his life as a homosexual.  He came out to his family, secured a job as a barista in a gay cafe, and convinced a friend to act as his boyfriend in public.

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The experience, which is documented in Kurek’s book The Cross In The Closet, changed his views on religion and faith while teaching him “what it meant to be a second class citizen in this country.”  His church, like many, condemns homosexuality and opposes gay marriage; it is a sin for a man to lay with a man and for a woman to love a woman.  Kurek states he was taught to believe that gays were all HIV positive perverts who he should fear and avoid.  This twisted type of education results in closed minds and irrational fear that keeps a massive group of wonderful people from having the same rights the rest of us are afforded.

Kurek stated that his mother would rather be diagnosed with cancer than have a gay son.  I can recall my own mother having similar thoughts while I was growing up.  Neither my brother or myself are gay or showed any signs of being gay, but she would always make comments about what her reaction would be if we were.  She would be horrified and embarrassed, she would get us therapy, she would rather us have a disease, and she wouldn’t accept what she called a decision, not something we were born with.  I can understand a parent being afraid, as homosexuality is still looked down upon by many and can result in violent discrimination, but to say you would rather have cancer is just terrible.

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Kurek’s experiment was very extreme and something that most of us wouldn’t ever dream of doing.  It was a drastic way of educating himself and thankfully it seems to have paid off, as he has a new understanding of homosexuals, of religion, and of himself.  His choice is not being well received by everyone though; Emily Timbol published an article on Huffington Post discussing how Kurek was wrong in his choice.  Her main issue with what he did is that he lied to everyone in order to learn what life is like for a gay man.  She went through something similar when her friend came out to her, but rather than pretend to be gay, she decided to educate herself without compromising her identity.  She states:

“My experiences changed me. They also changed my family, who have since decried the discriminatory attitude many Christians hold toward gay people. It wasn’t easy, and like Timothy, we lost some friends along the way. The difference is that those friendships were not lost over a lie. They were lost because some people couldn’t handle the fact that I was straight Christian who grew to love the gay community. That never changed. While Mr. Kurek might say the same, his love was never based on honesty. The importance lies in the sincerity. Every interaction I had was real, because I was me, and my gay friends were being themselves. No pretend.”

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I respect Timbol’s opinion, but I also disagree.  Yes, he lied about his sexuality, but the relationships he developed and the experiences he went through were not lies.  They are something he will carry with him for the rest of his life and they are things that will hopefully help others understand and become more open themselves.  It’s great that Timbol was able to change her mind by educating herself and attending events such as Pride parades, but that isn’t enough for everyone.  Each of us is different and each of us has built up different barriers when it comes to the gay community.  What works for one will not work for another.

It’s not realistic or logical to expect every person who views homosexuality as a sin to pretend to be gay in order to gain an understanding of what life is like for a homosexual and why the discrimination makes no sense, but it made sense for Kurek.  As a religious person, it must have been near impossible to become what he was taught is a sinner and to be that sinner for a full year.  I’ve seen people who are fully accepting of the gay community become uncomfortable when two men display affection or when they find themselves in a gay karaoke bar, so I have no doubt it was an incredible challenge for Kurek.  His experience changed his views and will hopefully change the views of many others.

Timothy Kurek

Gay isn’t going anywhere.  It’s ignorant to expect a gay man to ignore who he is and love a woman, just as it is ignorant to expect a straight woman to ignore her love for a man and seek out a woman for a romantic relationship.  I applaud Kurek for seeing that what he was taught about homosexuals was incorrect and for taking steps to correct his beliefs and outlook.  Everyone who still holds onto the belief that homosexuality is wrong should take a step in the directions Kurek and Timbol did.  It doesn’t have to be something extreme that would jeopardize who you are and who people see you as, it just has to be something that will shock your system and force you to learn and open your eyes and mind.

Hate and fear comes from ignorance, and we cannot be ignorant if we are educated.  Just about every downtown area of any city has a district that is classified as gay, so why not take a trip down there with friends and grab a drink or a bite to eat?  Expose yourself to a new community and see that they are no danger, that a gay man isn’t out to hit on every man he sees, that women won’t grope you in the restroom, and that there is no real difference between you and them.  No one should be judged on the gender they fall in love with; gay or straight doesn’t make a person good or bad.  If your belief system states it is a sin and you are unwilling to compromise, that’s fine, but be content in silently praying for people instead of shunning them and hating them for it.

imagesWe are all cut from the same cloth.  Regardless of whether you believe we are here because God made us or if you believe we slowly evolved over time, we all come from the same place and are all made of the same material.  Our judgment should be left for those who are cheating on their spouses, abusing their children, injuring and murdering others, and engaging in activities that are honestly harmful and repulsive.  When it comes to the homosexual community, our time should be spent learning, understanding, and accepting.  No more time needs to be wasted in hatred and discrimination.  It’s time to stop.

Straight And Narrow

“God created man male and female and commanded them to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:27-28; 2:21-24). Therefore homosexuality is rebellion against his character and will.”MinnPost Article

“Homosexual activists and their congressional supporters are making the outrageous claim that protecting marriage is a form of discrimination.  But the reverse is true – failing to protect marriage and overturning marriage laws will result in reverse discrimination against people who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman.”Shari Rendall, director of legislation and public policy with Concerned Women for America.

“The US is a country where sodomy was criminalized in many states until 2003. Until last year, you couldn’t be openly gay and fight for our country. According to a 2012 report by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), in 29 out of 50 U.S. states, a homophobic employer can still legally fire an employee on the basis of sexual orientation.”Michael Solis

“Governor Romney supports a federal marriage amendment to the Constitution that defines marriage as an institution between a man and a woman.  [He] also believes, consistent with the 10th Amendment, that it should be left to states to decide whether to grant same-sex couples certain benefits, such as hospital visitation rights and the ability to adopt children.”Bay Buchanan

I have to ask, what is everyone so afraid of?  Again and again, I read stories in the news about same sex couples who are deeply in love and who want nothing more than the same rights granted to my husband and I.  They work the same jobs as the rest of us, pay taxes as we all do, become frustrated by the same traffic jams, and share the same love of life’s little pleasures.  They have a mother and father, some can say they are supportive and some can say they are awful, the same praises or complaints that everyone with parents has.  They are no different from anyone else in the world except for one small detail; who they fall in love with and who they physically share that love with.

I do understand that certain religions consider it a very serious sin to be homosexual, but God is not the law and should have no bearing on it.  I do not wish for anyone to change their religious beliefs, but I do wish for tolerance.  If you believe homosexuality to be a sin, that is fine, but it needs to be recognized as a victimless and harmless sin.  No one is suffering physical or mental injury.  Property isn’t being destroyed.  Two people are in love and desiring to make that love recognized in the eyes of the law (and of their God when applicable).  It is not an insult to your religion to be tolerant, nor does it mean you are accepting homosexuality.  A big part of religion is loving your neighbor; love them and pray for them, don’t deny them the right to marry.

It needs to be understood that denying rights to same sex couples is no different from denying rights to mixed race couples, those with different religions, or discriminatory practices based on job, social standing, or any other superficial quality that doesn’t fit our definition of “normal.”  It is a baseless and ridiculous thing to focus on and, while it is a key factor of what makes a person who they are, is not a negative thing and shouldn’t be treated like a disease.  We are never going to have equality until this is repaired.  Women are voting now, we don’t have any more people who are only 3/5ths of a human, and we should be proud of that but it’s not enough.

Is anyone out there affected by the heterosexual sex I have with my husband?  Outside of a couple unfortunately hotel neighbors (thanks to thin walls), my sex life has no effect on anyone but myself and my husband.  If I was banging a chick, the result would be the same.  My marriage also doesn’t affect anyone outside of my family, which would also be the same if I had a woman on my arm.  The law isn’t about making you happy and comfortable, it is about what is right, just, and fair.  At least it should be.  A man should be able to receive all the marital benefits he is entitled to regardless of whether his spouse is male or female.

The definition of certain words and laws must change over time in order to adjust to the current times.  Ignorance and fear can no longer be used as an excuse to deny basic rights to citizens of this country.  I don’t like the fact that an 18-year-old girl can marry a 70-year-old man and use him for his money or be used herself, but it’s legal and it doesn’t harm me or my family.  Why is their unusual pairing acceptable, but two 3o somethings can’t marry just because they happen to share the same genitalia?  Marriage, in this current day, must be defined as a formal union between two consenting adults.  Like it or not, same sex couples are everywhere, and they deserve every right that I have as a heterosexual woman.

Cows Hate Gay People… I Guess

My very first job, outside of the local babysitting, dog walking, and grass cutting I did for my neighbors, was working the drive-thru at Chick Fil-A.  I was a powerhouse; working long shifts with a five minute break if I could fit it in to scarf down some deliciousness.  The pay was meager at $5.35 an hour, but a job is a job and it was a good place to start.  I loved my job and loved most of my coworkers, but the greatest parts of that job were finally having a legitimate job history for applications and the free food.  Chick Fil-A is absolutely delicious.

Chief Executive, Dan Cathy, has thrown his business into the spotlight over the last few days, but for all the wrong reasons.  Cathy spoke out regarding gay marriage and his opposition to it, which resulted in an uproar from the public and a new disgust for eating “mor chikin.”  The rage is quite understandable, as it’s pretty ignorant to still be denying equal rights to consenting adults in love simply because they love someone of the same gender.  That said, I’m not agreeing with the bans, calls for boycotts, and attempts to block new Chick Fil-A’s from certain areas.

Chick Fil-A, as with nearly every business out there, is not made up of one man, or even a handful of people.  Cathy doesn’t hand pick employees based on their stance on gay marriage and their religious beliefs.  Most of the employees have never even met Cathy, dealing only with the group of local people employed at their location.  Some may have the job as an after school gig while others may be in management as a career.  Regardless, they are hard-working people who had nothing to do with the comments made or with the general opinions in the corporate offices.  Yes, a boycott would hurt Cathy, but it would also hurt everyone below him who are doing nothing but trying to earn a living.

It’s no secret that the business was built by Catholics and it’s no secret that the Catholic church interprets the Bible in such a way that is unfavorable to the LGBT community.  Cathy’s comments should come as no surprise to anybody.  He has every right to believe what he will, and he believes gay marriage is wrong.  That’s idiotic, in my opinion, but perfectly fine.  I don’t react kindly to people telling me my beliefs are wrong and I doubt he does either.  Perhaps he should have gone about things differently, but he had every right to say what he said and to believe what he believes.  In turn, we have the right to disagree with him as vocally as we so choose.

What I hope is that the anger about these comments will be directed at the right person and not at the entire company and the people who are purely innocent.  Pulling away from Chick Fil-A is going to take its toll on the little guy.  The location I worked at employed managers who started working there when they were just 15 (on a special work schedule) and who worked their way up into management position slowly, looking for the day when they could have their own franchise.  If one town shuns one franchise enough, they are putting people out of business and hurting families who had nothing to do with the anti-gay marriage statements and who, for all they know, could be a member of or a supporter of the LGBT community themselves.

If you’re angry, be angry.  Just don’t be angry at one guy and a company made up of people who didn’t make you angry.  Lash out in the proper directions and call for a change in the legal system.  You can’t change the mind of a person who is already cemented in their beliefs.  Laws, however, can change.  Even if your efforts don’t produce great results, at least you’re taking action in the proper way.  Hurting Chick Fil-A’s business isn’t going to bring equal rights to the LGBT community, nor is it going to teach anyone a proper lesson.  Fire personal attacks at Cathy all you want, as I think he’s earned a bit of a verbal beat down, but leave the company and its employees out of it.

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