Not Gay? Perfect, Read This Immediately — The Fairer Sex Files
If Google analytics are correct, then you, dear reader, are a straight male, like Macklemore here. I dare you to read this anyway.
(Editor's Note: No one told me to say this, but the opinions below are mine, and don't represent the website. Since no one told me to do this, I am also free to tell you that I AM RIGHT. (Subnote: That opinion is also mine, and does not represent the website. And so on.)
Regardless of your political swing, you may not currently empathize with the plight of the gay community's struggle for marriage equality, because empathy means understanding what someone else is feeling because you have experienced it yourself. We straight folks are allowed and encouraged to get married (don't get me started), should we ever manage to find someone who doesn't inevitably make us want to pull our own hair out in chunks by year two. Some of us even do it in spite of that, which usually works out really well.
You can empathize, though. Despite straightness, we are all different in some way that makes us feel alone. You know those times when you're discriminated against because of your differences, and you wonder why anyone cares, if it doesn't affect them? Yeah. That. There's your empathy.
Today is an important day for supporters of same-sex marriage, as Supreme Court judges are currently arguing over the Defense of Marriage Act, and whether a federal law can deny equal benefits permitted in states where gay marriage is legal.You can listen to the live feed right here. That's why half of your Facebook friends have different variations of this image as their profile photo, though this one by Abby Bland is my favorite:
People get married for a lot of reasons. Some of them very terrible, and some of them pretty damn sweet. I don't pretend to know which reasons are the right reasons, because I'm only 29 years old, and I have not managed to figure out very much about the way things work in life. It would be ludicrous for me to place value judgements on anyone else's choices, considering I have no idea how sustainable happiness works. Do you? If so, please email me.
From what I've seen though, the best things in the world -- and the ones that create sustainable happiness and peace -- are rooted in love. Though it's included, I don't just mean romantic love. Here's love:
Which makes us feel understood and accepted by someone, and reassures us that we are never alone in the world.
Which is mostly the same as above, but offers the addition of context, and usually a longer timeline of understanding. We love our family because they teach us how we have become us, which assures us that we can continue to change and grow and become better.
Compassionate and Empathetic Love
The love we see in strangers on the street when they do something kind and without motive, or the love that we witness between other people. It's powerful because it's rare, and it is a source of hope. Seeing an ancient, melting-skin couple who love each other reassures us that we are worthy of love, despite our flaws. I'm not talking about your cranky grandparents; it's rare.
Love of Pursuing Passions
Your favorite album is (hopefully) your favorite because it was made with love. People who love what they do change the world with whatever it is they do.
A few weeks ago my dad told me the backstory of his relationship with my mother, which ended when I was 2 1/2. And thank god, because I cannot even imagine them being in the same room together, let alone making decisions about lifeplans; they are two of the most different people I know. At the time they thought they understood what it took to be happy. They were too young to understand that love and need are different, and that's a mistake lots of us make in our lives. Sometimes over and over again. I don't judge them for it, and I sure am glad they made that mistake, or I wouldn't be here. As Americans, they were given the right to make that mistake. Currently, not everyone is.
A Federal acknowledgement of same-sex marriage will not correct the disparity between marriage and love, and that is not the goal of those fighting. Gay people don't think they know how to do marriage better than us. Every day we see people who marry for reasons that are not love: money, security, fear, advancement, pressure, protection... We may judge them, but we don't stop it from happening, and we shouldn't. There are also people who get married because of love, and knowing what we do about the power of love, it's ability to change the world and the scarcity of it as a resource, every day we remain a nation who doesn't accept love in all it's forms is another day that we look like fools.
If same-sex marriage is acknowledged by the Federal government, there will definitely be gay people who will marry for the wrong reasons, and it will be probably be terrible for everyone involved. This legislation just lets them catch up to us, and how screwed up we are. After everyone has the same rights, then we can start talking about how we're scared idiots.
Mackelmore put it pretty succinctly:
"No freedom until we're equal, damn right I support it."
If you read this and you like it, share it. As a straight person, you are the most important messenger.