Saturday, July 29, 2006

Letters to the Editor

I have a slow fuse. The anti-marriage Supreme Court decision this week grows more and more troubling as the days pass and I think of the implications. This morning I collected my thoughts to write a Letter to the Editor of the Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Whether it makes the paper or not...its nice to have a blog...

Letter to the Editor : July 28, 2006

The "activist judge" accusations of the religious and political right must be hitting home. The Supreme Court decision against marriage wrote, ""while same-sex marriage may be the law at a future time, it will be because the people declare it to be, not because five members of the court have dictated it." If the courts of the 1960's had followed this logic, we might still be waiting on civil rights legislation.

As much as I wish the court had decided for same-gender marriage, I still appreciate their truth that marriage equality will become law when "the people declare it to be." Last summer I unicycled for five weeks and 1,000 miles to gather stories of gay, and lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. I also asked hundreds of straight people what they thought of equal rights. Even for those who thought homosexuality was a sin, when I told about specific couples, and the specific hardships which the Supreme Court noted in last weeks decidsion, almost to a person, people responded, "Yes, they should have those rights."

The fastest way to the privileges and responsibilities of same-gender marriage is to recognize that that we're talking about real people, and real gay and lesbian families that already exist. Getting beyond political and religious polarization will require us to tell our stories, listen to one another, and believe what we hear. A young gay man during my tour last summer, defined an ally for me. "Allies listen. And they believe what they hear." As soon as we act, as soon as declare it to be, we can achieve marriage equality.

STRAIGHT INTO GAY AMERICA: MY UNICYCLE JOURNEY FOR EQUAL RIGHTS has just been released. It's my way of adding a voice to the equal rights movement. A neighbor who is reading my book addressed me with some frustration, "You're making me think about things I've never thought about before."

"Good," I replied to this mother of two young girls, "If your daughters grow up lesbian, now you'll be ready to keep loving them." So many gay and lesbian, bisexual, and transgender families have been torn apart by hatred of homosexuality. Real family values don't tear families apart. Marriage equality will give dignity to all families. Let's do what the court says, and "declare it to be."

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