I am not gay, never have been, never will be. I always have been sexually attracted to men. It is who I am to the core of my being. Heck, I never even knew gays existed until I was in college (how I lived in such a bubble I will never know). But I do remember that fateful day I learned about homosexuality. I was in a play production at Northern Illinois University and sitting in the audience during a rehearsal of a scene I was not in. I was watching the actors on stage especially admiring a handsome young man in the scene. I turned to the guy sitting next to me in the audience and said something to the effect of “how gorgeous is he” and he said, “I know, he’s my lover.” I almost fell off the chair.
I went back to my dorm room and called my mom. I asked her if she knew about gays and she said yes. When I asked her why she never told me she simply said the subject never came up. I was floored. The thought had never occurred to me that someone could be sexually interested in someone else of the same sex. I remember at the time the thought of it did not repulse me, just confused me. As I was trying to sort out my feelings, I started thinking about my friends in the play. Up to this point they were my friends. Does it change now that I know their sexual orientation? What happened if someone decided not to like me because I was a heterosexual? Does any person have the right to make those types of judgments? I thought long and hard about it and decided that since I had no desire to be judged, liked or disliked because I liked the opposite sex, I was in no position to judge, like or dislike someone because their sexual orientation differed from mine. Defining moment for me. And from then on, I’ve had a wealth of friends gay and straight and do not or will not differentiate between the two of them.
Heck, I’ve even been propositioned by gay women. Once my husband and I were in our favorite restaurant in Chicago “Two Doors South” (a restaurant owned by two gay men on Clark Street that is no longer in existence) and I needed to use the ladies room. The restaurant had one toilet for women and one for men. The women’s bathroom was locked and so I waited my turn. A young woman came out of the bathroom and stopped in front of me. As I began to walk around her toward the bathroom she touched my arm and said, “I’ve been watching you all evening. You have the most gorgeous eyes. Would you care to meet me for a drink sometime?” I smiled and said to her, “The gentleman I’m having dinner with is my husband, but thank you, your compliment just made my day. I appreciate you saying such nice things but unfortunately it will not be possible to meet you for a drink. ” She smiled and said, “You can’t blame a girl for trying” and we went our separate ways. I remember thinking I was pleased that another women found me sexually attractive, but it did not change the fact that I wanted my sexual partners to be men. Being involved in theatre in Chicago I was propositioned many more times, always appreciating the compliment but it never changed from my sexual orientation. To this day, some of my closest friends are gay, the best man at our wedding was gay, I probably have as many if not more gay friends than straight friends. But I really don’t even put that monicker on them anymore, they are all my friends. What they do behind closed doors is their business. I love them for who they are and the friendship they bring.
So why are we so polarized about gay marriage? To me it is so simple. If two people love each other and want sanction that union legally, who are we as a society to say they cannot. Heck, if the straights have it so figured out, why is the divorce rate in this country so high? What is the big deal? Why is government compelled to interfere? If it is a religious conviction, then I think we’ve forgotten that a long time ago our forefathers made it very clear in the constitution that there is to be a separation between church and state. If a religious group, as part of their religious organization, wants to ban gay marriage – go ahead. It’s their purview. But government cannot ban something based on a religious conviction. So the way government tries to get around it is to define in legal terms the definition of marriage as a civil union between a man and a woman. Then they have the legal right to ban it. In my mind there are a wealth of other social issues that need much more attention.
I am so tired of all of this. Banning gay marriage is simply wrong. Those who oppose it need to get their noses out of other people’s business and concentrate on their own lives and relationships. It’s time to change this abomination. This issue, no doubt, will be on the forefront of the presidential election campaigns this year. Nasty rhetoric will fly and lies and half truths will be fed to the American public. Throughout all of this I have only one piece of advice for those who will be doing all the mud slinging: Judge not lest thee be judged…