Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Ten Steps of Evolution to Gay Marriage
President Obama has now says he approves gay marriage. Before he said that his views on Gay marriage were “evolving.” I understand that. 20 years ago I thought that the word “marriage” should be reserved for heterosexual couples, for whom at least the possibility existed for bringing children into the world. I no longer think that. Many people are "evolving." Here is what I think happens in this “evolution.”
1. Awareness that some people engage in sexual acts with persons of the same sex. Before the Stonewall riots in 1969, it was possible to live in a bubble where there were no gays.
2. Awareness that some people are naturally inclined toward persons of the same sex.
3. Awareness that there have always been such persons with homosexual orientation. They hid “in the closet” and were kept there by society. I made it through the first 3 steps in 1957, when I wrote a paper in Junior High on Tchaikovsky. What could be wrong with someone who wrote such beautiful music?
4. Awareness of family members, friends, family members of friends, or co-workers who are gay or lesbian.
5. Acceptance of the existence of gays and lesbians, because you know some.
6. Awareness that many gays and lesbians live together in committed relationships. I realized after the fact that one of my aunt’s friends in Omaha, who lived with another woman, were probably a lesbian couple.
7. Awareness that gays and lesbians are discriminated against, unfairly.
8. Acceptance of the need for gays and lesbians to have civil rights equal to heterosexuals.
9. Acceptance of the need for legal civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. In 1986 I had gay co-worker friends. Within a few years some of them married. A few years after that they were dead from AIDS.
10. Acceptance of the need for legal marriage and adoption to be extended to gay and lesbian couples. I reached this step by 2000.
For members of Christian churches, there is another step, probably tied with #8 above, that allows for gays and lesbians to be ordained as ministers. This was never a problem for me.
Attitudes towards trans-sexual persons probably fall along the same ten step program.
I have not included bi-sexuals because I don’t know what I think about that yet. I am still “evolving.” The reason I think that I am evolving is that I understand hetero-homo-sexual orientation is a continuum for all of us. Some of us may be 95% heterosexual, but occasionally entertaining homosexual fantasies. Or some other percentage. I have no doubt that there are people who are 50% straight and 50% gay, but I don’t know how society can normalize this. It threatens the idea of commitment, which most gays claim in their unions and marriages.
I think this “evolution” can take a lifetime. Maybe never for someone born and raised in an environment of hatred towards gays and lesbians.
I was heartened when the supreme court of Iowa declared gay marriage legal. I was shocked when the population of my home state voted these judges out of office. I was glad earlier this week when the Kennedys awarded them the “Profiles in Courage” award.
I am disappointed that North Carolina voted Tuesday to make constitutional prohibition even of civil unions for gays. However, I heard one of the best sermons on any topic ever preached this past Sunday:
Watch and listen here. (Sorry about the commercial, and sorry that I can't post it for live feed here.) This is The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, the pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina, and president of the NC NAACP.