It’s 5:37 as I am writing this in New York. I can’t sleep. I’ve been tossing and turning for the last hour or so and I finally gave up. Once my mind starts going, even the littlest bit, I’m going to be awake.
I’ve had a pretty amazing month, so there is lots to think about. I’ve interviewed one of my biggest hero’s for my podcast, I was interviewed by Wired Magazine yesterday about a project I’ve been working on, I saw the sun set behind the Beverly Hills Hotel essentially replicating the album cover from Hotel California, and I became an ordained minister and married two great friends of mine. Its been a good month. However this morning, I am sitting awake typing this thinking about how I will be feeling by the end of the day. Today is the day the Supreme Court will rule on marriage equality, and I dont know about you, but I’m scared shitless.
First, a little bit about me. I am not a homosexual. In fact, one of my male gay friends is often fascinated with how I have zero to no homosexual tendencies whatsoever. The reason for that is because I was born a heterosexual male. I didn’t choose to be one. Contrary to conservative mythos, no one chooses their sexual preference. To loosely quote comedian David Cross, who would make a choice during the most difficult time of adolescence to bring upon more hatred, bigotry and beatings from your teenage peers at the most awkward phase in your life? No one. You’re sexual preference is determined before you are born. It is not a choice.
I was also raised by parents who taught me to be honest about who I am and who wouldn’t judge me. As long as I’m not hurting anyone and being true to myself, they would support me no matter what. I realize that I am extremely fortunate for this. I have friends who are not so fortunate. Some have to hide what they really are because they don’t want to hurt their relatives feelings. Some don’t want to bring shame to their families because of the type of community they live in. Some have lived in secrecy. Some have had parents who have disowned them for their sexual preference. I am thankful every day that I didnt have to deal with that. In addition to that, I was raised around homosexuals. I saw from a very early age that there is nothing different about someone who is attracted to members of the same sex. We are all the same.
Being raised around homosexuals, particularly gay men in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s, was amazing. The gentlemen I was around threw great parties, told great stories, gave great advice, and were hilarious. They offered incredible insight into a world that I was just starting to figure out, and I am eternally grateful for their influence. It was also a time of sadness. One of my mothers best friends, Ted, died of AIDS when I was 13. Watching a brilliant, beautiful, loving human being deteriorate in that way was something beyond heartbreaking. Anyone who knew someone living with HIV or AIDS at that time I’m sure would agree. It was a very difficult time. You didnt have to look further than MTV to see the struggles of Pedro Zamora broadcast into your living room every week on The Real World San Francisco, to see someone succumbing to this terrible disease. Pedro Zamora in particular, I am convinced, has been a huge influence on my generation’s ability to see homosexuals and people living with AIDS as human beings just the same as everyone else. There is no question that that man played an enormous part in showing a younger generation that there is nothing odd about being gay and that people are just people, love is love, and we are all in this together.
Today, the Supreme Court is ruling on a civil rights issue. Right wing fundamentalists will tell you that it is not that. They will tell you that they are ruling on the sanctity of marriage. This sacred bond between one man and one woman that for millennia has been the core of the family unit. One thing they are neglecting to mention is change. I know that that is a word most conservatives fear more than a group of black youths standing on a street corner, but their fear of change is really the core issue. Something that a lot of people who are opposed to gay marriage seem to forget is that the definition of marriage has already changed, and it changed before they were born.
Marriage was initially something that happened as an exchange of property. “Take my daughter’s hand in marriage and I will give you three oxen. two cows, and that shitty dried up half acre over the hill for you to do with it what you wish.” That was originally how it worked. In a current civilized society, that is not how it works anymore. We have evolved, or so we hope. As marriage has evolved, we have been told that marriage is what happens when two people love each other and they want to start a life together, and they decide to make a commitment to one another forever. There is something beautiful about that for a lot of people. Homosexuals grew up very similarly to how you did. Watching the same movies, reading the same books, listening to the same music and a lot of those things talk about what love is. What it is to explore the depths of another persons being. Physically, mentally and emotionally. So much so that you feel as if the two of you are one. That, to me is what love is and that is what people who want to marry want to explore for themselves.
Today, when you are sitting at work or at home and the Supreme Court ruling comes in, no matter what the outcome, take a moment and think about what love is. Think about people that you know that have loved. Think about people that you knew that are no longer here that got the chance to love and commit their lives to someone. Then take a moment and think about the thousands of people who have been fighting for equal rights just because they were born being attracted to someone of the same sex. Take a moment and think about the people that died fighting this fight. Whether they succumbed to the AIDS virus when treatments were nothing like they are today, whether they died from a hate crime, or whether they died from a broken heart because people were to ignorant to see that we are all the same and we all deserve the same rights as the next person. Just take a moment and think. If you do that, and you are true to yourself, no matter what happens today you will know in your heart that marriage equality is necessary, beautiful and eventually going to happen.