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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Why I Support "Gay Rights" and Equality

I want to write about why I am so involved in fighting for marriage equality. But before I get to that, I need to write a bit of backstory.

First of all, when I was a young newlywed I decided that I did not want to have kids. When I started telling people this, some didn't understand why I would get married if I didn't want children. I went to a "Childfree" message board and someone mentioned gay marriage and how some people believe that gays shouldn't get married because they couldn't have kids. The idea was planted in my head how unfair that was. I wondered, "so what does that mean to my childfree marriage?"

I remember I read an article about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and how they said they wouldn't get married until everyone had the equal opportunity to get married. I thought that was a great stance.

And then, in the Fall of 2010, I took a Gender Studies class at school and that completely changed everything for me.

In my Gender Studies class, we talked a lot about society's role in creating Gender Roles. Gender is a social construct. We talked about "what it means to be a man and a woman." We learned that in some countries and cultures, there are not two separate genders, but there were three or even more. Another thing we discussed was the human sexuality scale, and how there is a sliding scale between heterosexuality and homosexuality. We learned about a theory where people are on a whole spectrum of sexualities, that many people are not purely heterosexual or homosexual.

Everyday I came home from class with my mind absolutely blown! I loved these topics and couldn't get enough. I would go home and tell my husband all about what I learned, and he looked at me like I had two heads. Over time, I feel the way I thought about people and the way my husband felt about people contributed to our growing apart.

Also, over time, I began to stop really believing fully in genders. I never really felt like I was the same as other "girls", but I was never really like "boys" either. I was something in between. I have grown into a person who thinks of people as people, not of people as separated into men and women (even though having a man-hating party would make one think otherwise of me.)

 It is because of my belief that we are all just people that makes me believe in marriage equality. Because one is  a person, they should be able to marry who they love, or who they desire to marry solely because they are a person, and a person should not be defined only by their gender which society has forced upon them.

Oddly enough, when I divorced my husband and announced it publicly on Facebook, I announced my stance on marriage equality shortly after that. It brought up the inevitable question from my aunt (I love her dearly, it was an honest question, she wasn't attacking me or anything. She herself is in favor of marriage equality.) She asked,  "I have to ask because you got divorced and came out as in favor of marriage quality around the same time. Are you a lesbian?"

I just laughed and told her, "No. I am definitely straight. The reason I announced I was for marriage equality around the same time as my divorce was because I felt like I could finally announce the fact. My ex-husband didn't really want me to tell people I was for marriage equality. But now I finally feel free to."

Announcing I was for marriage equality was kind of difficult. I come from a very religious family where most of them are opposed to marriage equality. It seemed the majority of my friends were also opposed. But I knew I had to show my support. 

Marriage equality is so, so important to me. It makes me very sad that a large group of people are denied rights to marry the person of their choosing. Having two failed marriages does not change my views. I am of the opinion that getting married is really only a conceptual agreement with the government and with your spouse. You receive a certificate that says you share property, perhaps a last name, etc. What really matters is your commitment to be with that person for the rest of your life.

Having said this, I think everyone should be able to enter into these contracts with who they love, who they desire to leave their things to in case one of them dies. Just because I believe marriage is mainly a piece of paper doesn't change my views on how important it is to a lot of people. 

I can be for marriage equality even if I don't completely believe in marriage. 

Why?

Because a person is a person. And each person should have the same choices and the same rights as another person.

This is why I am joining in the fight and why I will continue to make my voice heard until everyone has the right to marry. We have a long way to go, but I know it will be accomplished. And I will be very happy to be included in the group of people in the annuals of history who stood up for Human Rights.    

  

2 comments:

  1. Angie, I remembering admiring your individual strengths and views from the first day I met you (remember when we were handing out ads for '8?'). It is such a breath of fresh to find someone who recognizes fairness and stands for everyone. Thank you!

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