How I Changed My Mind About Marriage Equality
By Kathy Benson on March 27, 2013
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I have wanted to write and share about this for a while. With this week being so pivotal in the United States Supreme Court, it seemed to be the right time for me to do so.
I haven't always believed in marriage equality and I am the first to admit that. The idea made me uncomfortable, especially because I didn't know anyone personally (or at least didn't realize that I did) whom it effected.
I thought that marriage was supposed to be about the love and procreation that happens between a man and a woman. I didn't necessarily have a problem with civil unions, but I believed that marriage, which is considered a sacrament in my Catholic faith tradition, was sacred and shouldn't be allowed for those who chose to be with others of the same gender.
I wasn't the only one who felt this way. Our own president campaigned in 2008 sharing my thoughts and feelings on this issue at the time. I felt safe and justified to believe what I did.
But I know that it is possible for open-minded people, like me, to change.
I am proud to say that and to mean it.
Every now and then something happens in our lives, new information comes to light, and our hearts and minds can be changed.
That is what happened with me over the past few years.
It wasn't a sudden revelation or an a-ha moment.
It was more subtle.
In part because of Facebook, which I joined in 2008, I became aware just how many of my old friends who I reconnected with were living happy and healthy lives as gays and lesbians, some of whom were committed to partners of the same gender.
At first I was surprised, why hadn't I known so many men and women from my past were gay and lesbian? In some cases a small part of me might have suspected way back when, but it didn't really matter.
It took me some time to accept that some of my old friends are who they are. But the beautiful thing about that process was that it is because of my old friends who were just living their lives and loving who they love, that I was able to come to embrace marriage equality.
From my perspective there was very little difference between their lives and mine. They choose to love who they love, in many cases commit to spend their lives together and in some instances build families together. Their status updates and the photos they shared on Facebook weren't much different from mine, just expressing their day-today challenges and celebrations of life, love and parenting.
After struggling with secondary infertility for so many years, I also came to appreciate that not everyone gets to have a baby the old-fashioned way and whether that means a person or couple chooses to try to adopt or use Assisted Reproductive Technology to bring children into their life and family, should not be anyone's business but their own (unless they want to share about their experience, as I did).
The bottom line: It is about loving and spending ours lives with the people who mean the most to us.
Why does it matter who those people are and what their sexual orientation is?
I no longer believe that it does.
I get that there are still many people who do not agree with this way of thinking.
I understand that many religions and faith traditions, including my own, do not officially embrace marriage equality.
For now I try to accept and make peace with that, while still praying for and supporting my gay and lesbian friends who want, and I believe deserve the right, to marry the men and women who they love.
I believe that God embraces marriage equality and have trouble now imagining a God who doesn't think and feel that way.
I am not looking to debate this, so please don't take this as an invitation or an opportunity to do that with me.
I just feel that the time is right for me to share my thoughts and feelings about marriage equality and how they have evolved in recent years.
People can change.
People do change.
I changed (and for the better).
I hope and pray that there will come a day when it will be as surprising to our children or our children's children that there was ever a time that marriage equality didn't exist in the United States. Just as my generation finds it hard to believe that there was a time when African-Americans and women, among others, did not share the same civil rights (including being able to vote) as white men.
Thank you for reading and hopefully keeping an open mind and heart about this issue.
Cross-posted on my blog.
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