On Tuesday, voters in North Carolina passed a ballot initiative to add a state constitutional amendment that ensures the definition of marriage is legally written as:
“The way God intended, er, I mean in His image, wait, nope, how do we write and justify this in secular language? How about between one feller and one lady?”
A day later, President Obama gave his support for same-sex marriage. It didn’t surprise me that he holds these views, as I have always assumed he supported marriage equality, but I also assumed he would wait to publicly support the issue until after the election. Bravo, Mr. President for being congruent with your values and making Rick Santorum cry.
But those anti-gay tears (which conservatives call, ‘bald eagle juice’) can be a rallying cry to ramp up support for the less-than-exciting, Mitt Romney to defeat Obama in November.
However, what rationale would the opposition be arguing? There is none. There is no rational argument against marriage equality that doesn’t stem from a person’s religious beliefs. Oh, you thought of a logical, secular argument against marriage equality? No, you didn’t. Whatever you are thinking, whether it’s believing same-sex marriage will destroy families, harm children, or lead to the legalization of marrying a deformed donkey, the argument is not rational.
So here is my challenge to those opposed to marriage equality: recognize the difference between personal beliefs and legal rights. You can hold onto your archaic beliefs and attempt to pray the gay out of this country. You can believe that homosexuality is a sin. You can write articles, organize protests, and speak out against anything you disagree with. But recognize that the freedom that allows you to engage in these behaviors applies to everyone in the country.
That’s what this issue is about: freedom. Marriage equality doesn’t mean you have to attend services at a church that will marry same-sex partners. It doesn’t mean you have to start volunteering for PFLAG or GLAAD. And it doesn’t mean that you have to marry your childhood friend that you had that “experiment” with when you were both eight years old. Marriage equality means adults have the right to enter into a legal contract with other adults, and you have to simply tolerate that right.
Let’s face it, you already tolerate a lot of behaviors that are counter to your personal beliefs. You tolerate people of other faiths or no faith at all; you tolerate people not giving up anything for Lent; you tolerate the Amish doing whatever the Amish do.
I have to tolerate Pat Robertson’s television show, Westboro Baptist Church protesters, Disney movies, hipsters, and children in restaurants (especially restaurants with chopsticks). I don’t have to like it and I am free to criticize it, but I do not have a right to stop it.
It is that simple. You don’t have to respect the behavior, but living in this country and valuing freedom, you do have to respect the right. And the time is long overdue that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals have the right to marry. Tolerate it.