Some people like Coke and some people like Pepsi. I won’t hold it against you if you’re a Pepsi drinker. I certainly wouldn’t judge you based on your religious preference or political affiliation. However, some issues are simply black and white. Concerning gay rights, there is no middle ground. It doesn’t merit debate. It’s common sense. If you disagree, you are feeble minded. I give you no leeway.
The gay and lesbian community is the last openly oppressed group in America today. It boggles the mind that in this era we would deny civil liberties to citizens based on something as trivial as sexual preference. We proclaim ourselves to be a free nation. But until everyone, regardless of sexual preference, is allowed to marry, we are not living in a free country.
At a young age, I moved from Southern California to Little Rock, Arkansas, where I lived for a little over five years. It was here that I bore witness to a great deal of bigotry and homophobia, which served to solidify my disgust for those who participated in such acts. Most of the kids I knew would come to school parroting things they’d learned at home from their parents. They didn’t understand what they were saying. These ideas were being ingrained in their minds before they even had the ability to decipher right from wrong. They were simply continuing their family’s legacy of backwards thinking. And it’s this sense of “tradition” that makes change so difficult.
Granting the gay community the right to marry affects no one but the gay community itself. We’re not talking about the right to wear a tuxedo. It’s about the right to see your partner in the ER when they’ve just been critically injured in an automobile accident. It’s about financial security if that partner were to die. We’re talking about not paying taxes to a government that doesn’t even consider you when making important decisions.
We are the next generation. We have the power NOT to pass these fundamentally flawed values on to our own children. Just fifty years ago, African Americans were still fighting for their own civil rights. It speaks to how much progress can be made in half a century. But it begins with pulling the veil from the public’s eyes. It begins with the enlightenment of all people that no, we are no different. We are all humans who wish to love and be loved.
Cameron Leahy is the singer/guitarist of the Downtown Fiction. Sometimes, when he's not writing songs, he likes to write essays about “stuff” and “things.”