Category: Your Voice Published on Thursday, 27 June 2013 15:30 Written by Tom Watkins
With a bang two landmark U.S. Supreme Court rulings bolster gay marriage
Giving full rights and dignity to gay and lesbian people has been gaining
momentum in the last year. It took center stage in the last presidential
campaign. President Obama switching position and coming out for gay
marriage and his GOP challenger, former Governor Romney, fiercely against
I must admit I find my Republican friends twisting themselves in knots
trying to explain what business government has interfering in the most
personal decision adults make, who to love, who they have sex with and who
they marry. Isn’t the GOP platform about less government and keeping it
out of our personal lives?
Growing up in the shadow of our nation’s capitol in the 60′s, I heard
older boys talking about beating up “queers.” I had no idea what it
I had some friends who I thought “different” than me. Some were
different, like Calvin and Francis, because their skin color was black and
brown, some because they had long last names that ended in “ski” and
some went to “church” that they called synagogue on Saturdays. Some
friends seemed different in other ways that I was too young to adequately
It Is About Equal And Human Rights
Later in life, in retrospect, I understood a few of my childhood friends
were gay. What did I care? They were my friends.
Everyone has a right to experience love and to marry if they choose to.
I moved to Palm Beach County, Florida as a “male trailer,” following a
successful former spouse in the mid 90′s. My first job there was to help
salvage a nonprofit organization, Hope House of the Palm Beaches, an
organization serving persons dying of AIDS. The previous director was
accused of stealing half the agency’s budget and the board chair, Hal,
was openly gay.
We became friends and later neighbors. I got to know him and his lifetime
partner, John. They have a relationship that any one of us would envy.
They were best friends, supporters, partners, and yes, lovers. It was
watching and learning from John and Hal that I concluded that love and
marriage belongs to all.
Watching these two human beings who so obviously loved and cared deeply
about each other made me realize it would simply be wrong to deny them the
ability to express their love in a man-made ceremony called
President Barack Obama attributes his change of heart and embracing the
concept of gay marriage to a series of key conversations and experiences.
He decided after talking to people on his staff who are gay as well as gay
military members in committed relationships, it made it impossible to
justify why he or anyone else might deny someone the right to marry.
In a 2011 poll, the Washington, D.C.-based Public Religion Research
Institute found that support for gay marriage is twice as high among
people who have a close friend or family member who is gay. While 47
percent of Americans favor gay marriage, according to the poll, that
number rises to 64 percent among people with close ties to someone who is
At a commencement address at Barnard College in New York recently,
President Obama summed up his view that gay couples should have the right
to marry, saying that the country has never gone wrong when it “expanded
rights and responsibilities to everybody.”
The Supreme Court now agrees with him.
To know someone in love and deny them the right to express their love
through marriage is simply wrong. Marriage equality is a fundamental
Thank you Mr. President and the Supreme Court for saying so.
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