Pencil to Paper

The Daily Life of a Compulsive Writer

A letter to those who do not support gay marriage: July 28, 2012

I’m sure you’ve all heard about the Chik-fil-A controversy. I’ve been embroiled in more than my fair share of battles on Facebook over it, believe me. In the end, the excuses make me angrier than the intolerance. If you are going to strike out against a group of people, own up to it. Here’s my message to those who ‘hate the sin and love the sinner’.

Too often, I see people say they don’t support gay marriage but have no problem with gay people. “It’s not discrimination,” they argue. “I just believe marriage is sacred”, etc.
Fine. In your religion it’s sacred. However, marriage is also a legal institution with real world applications, and denying a couple marriage is going to have real world consequences.
It can lead to legal, financial, property, and custody tangles. It can lead to partners of decades not being able to hold their loved one’s hand when they’re hurt because they’re not registered as ‘family’. It can lead to one partner dying because they can’t be treated under their partner’s health insurance because they’re not married.
It can also lead to that awkward catch in the throat when you say “partner” instead of “husband/wife” because no one will let you earn that title. The pang when someone asks “Are you married?” and you have to say “No.” The belief that your relationship is less real, less valid, because you don’t have the right to wear a band of gold on your finger and sign a piece of paper because of what’s written in your chromosomes.
Let’s get this straight. These ‘harmless comments’ you make about homosexuality being wrong or gross or sickening or wicked…. they can see it. Friends, family, coworkers…. you don’t know who your words can hurt.

LGBT people all over have killed themselves because they feel completely alone in a culture you help create. Others are attacked, abused, or even killed by family or strangers because of who they love. Your hands may not have been on that bat, and your finger may not have been on that trigger, but you contributed all the same. It’s not far to go from ‘wrong’ and ‘wicked’ to ‘must be punished’. And then some people have the gall to say it’s the victim’s fault.

People keep justifying stuff to me with religion. We’ll see when He comes back, they say. They say it’s in the Bible, a ticket to heaven or hell, a sin, some stain on your soul that won’t come out.
I’m an atheist, ok? I don’t see god or sins or souls or heaven or hell. What I see is people hurting people when they don’t have to, and in my wacky godless morality, that’s wrong.

Your beliefs are your beliefs. Justify them as you will. I accept that you consider them valid and you do not anticipate their change. Just don’t tell me that you’re not hurting anyone. You’re hurting a lot of people. Your opinion sways politicians, and your vote may even come into play. When it does, you are affecting people’s lives, and you are not doing it for the better.

These views feed into a culture where gays are seen as sub-human and less valuable. It promotes an atmosphere where things like this can happen: http://loobypls.tumblr.com/post/27815060532/today-my-hometown-was-struck-by-a-disgusting

and people don’t care. It shows that we consider a group of people less than, not as good, below, not important. It shows that we find our own comfort and the knowledge that our religious convictions are being upheld more important than the dignity, livelihood, happiness, and in some cases well-being of our fellow human beings, who may not share those convictions. It shows that you in some way, whether you acknowledge it consciously or not, think you are better. Better. Armed with a book and a god who may or may not exist, you are ready to step on the rights and happiness of other human beings. So do so, and I hope you sleep well at night. But I will be there to speak out and say it’s not ok.

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