When you recently chose to rule on Marriage Equality nationwide I was elated. I thought to myself, “Finally, after centuries of oppression, both my community and myself would be getting a place at the table in the country where the words ‘Equal justice under the law’ truly mean something. Couple that with the fact that I and millions of LGBT Americans might finally start to feel safe in the country that we call home, because the most powerful court in the land might very well validate our rights as citizens, and we got us a win-win.” But then, in almost that very same instant, my thoughts took a very unexpected turn and my elation was quickly washed away by a flood of anger.
All of a sudden there was a myriad of free-floating negative emotions swirling around in my head and each and every one of them seemed to have their roots firmly planted in a soil rich in anger and resentment. Why? Because for decades I have watched my heterosexual counterparts be united and recognized by law as not just a couple, but as a family, once they chose to take ownership of one very simple word – “Marriage”. And after this miraculous union, born out of love, was fully officiated these couples were granted certain rights. Rights that, because of ignorance and intolerance, neither my community nor myself would ever be entitled to… Rights like being able to sit with our partner of 20 years in a hospital room without outside interference or fear of retribution from ignorant family members… Or the right to have our history and memories protected from greedy relatives who might swoop in like vultures if, God forbid, there was a sudden tragedy… But the real anger, the truly blood boiling, head-exploding fury, came from something that had nothing to do with legalities. It stemmed from the fact that our love has always been marginalized and mocked by ignorant, uninformed people who continue to perpetuate the lie that says, “The hearts of gay men and women are different”. And these very same people, who have bullied, tortured and killed LGBT men and woman for centuries, have made it their mission to prevent members of my community from experiencing the joy and security that comes from being in a committed, loving relationship. And it is because of that “mission” that I felt a need to clarify something for some of you.
I, and the rest of my community, love just as deeply as you and yours do. Our spirits take flight and we are born again in that instant we meet the one that we believe we are meant to spend the rest of our lives with. We yearn to feel the warmth and comfort of family and friends. We, like you, become better men and women when the miracle that is love finally finds us. And sadly, like you, cry with the same grief-filled tears when love leaves too soon. There are no differences between our hearts and yours except for that imaginary ones that you choose to create to maintain your own misguided sense of superiority.
There is something else I would like you to know about me, and a large number of LGBT men and women. Like you, we are people of deep and abiding faith. But we, unlike some of you, do not use that faith to oppress or belittle others. We really don’t care about what someone else chooses to call “God” or even if they choose not to believe in one at all. We do however care deeply about the fact that we live in a country that is supposed to rejoice and RESPECT religious freedom and celebrate the idea of “Separation of Church and State”. Problem is, some of you do not. You continue to make decisions based on a religious text that was written thousands of years ago… A text that has been translated numerous times by men who themselves were blind to the rights of others (woman and people of color just to name two). And then you and countless others pick and choose which parts of that text you will ignore and which parts you will acknowledge… And by those choices, seek to steal the rights of others to suit your own skewed idea of “god”… And proof of my statement lies in the words of one so call “christian” florist in Georgia spoken just one short week ago. Here’s what she said in regard to serving an adulterer over a homosexual, just in case some of you missed it: “it’s a different kind of sin”. And sadly, here particular brand of bigotry has been endorsed by a legal system that has allowed hypocrisy like that to be the law of the land for far too long.
Well, dear court, know this: You stand on a precipice. Right now, in this moment in time, you have the opportunity to move us forward as a nation and to reaffirm the absolute truth… That “Human Rights” are just that “Human Rights”… And it is not up to one group of individuals to decide who should have them and who should not. This truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity for all of you to affect and create real change.
But please, also know this: The real life altering change, the real “there is no going back regardless” change, has nothing to do with the decision that you will ultimately hand down. The real life altering change has already occurred because as a collective consciousness The LGBT Community has finally woken to the fact that we are worth more… That we are deserving of love and respect…. That we will no longer live in a closet built by narrow-minded bigots and religious zealots who believe that their love is somehow superior to ours… And every day more and more of us are choosing our own best interest over someone else’s oppression. And that, ladies and gentleman of the court, is the real “Win-Win”!
So, regardless of what you decide, we know that justice will eventually prevail because the choice to live our lives with pride falls on us. There will be no more hiding. There will be no more pretending. There will be no more shame, or guilt, or fear and that has NOTHING to do with the decision of any court. It has to do with us, and who we have become and will continue to become as individuals and as a community.
Victory is already ours because everyday, from this moment on, we will stand proud in the knowing that we are perfect as we were created.
Thank you for taking the time to listen and we look forward to seeing you in court.
Very truly yours,
Los Angeles, California