A friend of mine who is a former journalist and spunky enough to ask anybody anything asked an ultra conservative legislator if he planned on voting YES to the same sex marriage bill.
He rolled his eyes and said, "No."
She asked him "Why? Is it moral reasons or religious ... or..?"
He cut her off and said, "It's strictly for financial reasons. I'm basing my vote on money!"
I had to ask.
"What do you mean, financial reasons?" I quietly asked him in an inquisitive tone.
He replied with great conviction and gi-nor-mouse hand motions and complementary facial expressions, "Look, I don't care what you do. I don't care what they do. That's between them. But I don't want to pay for THEIR benefits. Why should THEY have the same rights as married couples and get the same tax breaks?"
Because I work for the state of Maryland and was at this function as part of my job, I said nothing, which was the proper thing to do. I don't get paid to have political opinions or express them.
But I'm home now at my personal computer on Sunday and I have something to say to the Senator.
Gay people aren't like African Americans or Asians or Latinos. You can't tell what constituency they represent just by looking at them. Gay people are everywhere. And they have mothers, and fathers, and siblings and close friends who love them deeply. And who would be repulsed by your comments.
Anyone who knows a gay person intimately - sibling, close friend, child, parent - knows that he or she is a human being who happens to be gay. Gayness is not a trait or a choice.
I figure you must think being gay is a choice and not an inherent part of a person's human composition. I'm basing this assumption on your comment, "I don't care what you do." That seems to define the gay person by sexual behavior alone. Is that how your marriage is defined? Is it possible you are wrong, Senator? What are the repercussions of your behavior - if you are wrong?
This is civil rights issue. My gay loved ones should not be denied their civil rights because you think it's an unfair burden on the tax payers - any more than we should deny children the right to an education, or citizens the right to public safety... both burdens to the tax payer.
And lastly... I will NEVER forget what you said. If I live to be 114, I won't forget your words and how they stung. Those comments will be forever associated with my memory of you and what you stand for. And someday, when those yet unborn look back on history, you, Senator, will be one of those remembered for marginalizing these people and denying them their civil rights.
photo from Huffington Post