Opposition to gay marriage offends me
The Kansas City Star
Many things keep a man up at night. In this chaotic world, it seems a peaceful night’s sleep is almost impossible to come by these days. I tossed and turned and one thing kept me up last night.
I hadn’t planned on writing this. But I won’t be able to rest peacefully until I do.
This week, 61 percent of voters in North Carolina voted to ban gay marriage. As straight men often do when talking about this subject, I should let it be known that in no way does this amendment affect my life in a tangible way.
Nor do any of the other similar amendments in various states, including my own, which passed its own gay marriage ban in 2004 with 71 percent of the vote. I have gay friends. Some open, some not. Not one of them has asked me to write this. Nor do I ask them or anyone else to read or share this. I have other friends who are in the majority. Those who refuse to believe that two gay people should have the right to get married.
To my friends who believe that two people shouldn’t be allowed the chance to share happiness, I’m starting to question what your friendship really means to me. To be fair to these people, in almost every other aspect of life, you are truly wonderful people. If I had a problem, you would be there for me. If I just needed a smile, you would be there for me.
If I were the one getting married, you would be there for me. Yet here I am, questioning how important you really are to me because of an issue that doesn’t affect me.
There are several aspects of this controversial issue. There is the political side. There is an even larger religious side. I’m not one to preach the faults of these institutions to you. I have used to term “fag” many times in my life.
There are still many times in my life that being around the gay culture makes me uncomfortable, makes me want to be somewhere else. Yet I stand with them because during my life I have come to a few conclusions.
Politics divides us. Religion divides us. Cultures divide us. Almost everything seems to divide us.
What combines us? What are the only true things that connect us as human beings? Not Americans, not Republicans, not Democrats, not Christians, not Atheists, but what makes us human beings?
Hope and love.
On every corner of the earth you will find people want two things: hope and love. Most of my friends who are religious are of the Christian faith so most of the people I know who disagree with gay marriage are of that faith. To them I will be very brief because this is not meant to be a crusade against them. I have been very blunt about my beliefs. To the faithful, I must point out the obvious. Christians, your beliefs are 2,000 years old. Muslims, your beliefs have been around 1,400 years ago. Jews, more than 4,000 years. Marriage has been around for 10,000 years.
Love and hope? Those two ideas predate every religion or any other dividing characteristic of society by thousands of years. Why? It takes years for a person to learn about politics and even longer to try to comprehend religion.
For every human being, love and hope happen instantaneously. It is not something you learn, it is something you feel.
God, whichever one you believe in, does not sanctify marriage. Love and hope sanctifies marriage.
Many of my friends are beginning to get married or already have and are starting families. Your marriage has a 50/50 chance of making it. The other half will end in divorce.
Did gay marriage make that happen? Perhaps there is a more plausible reason. We brought this statistic upon ourselves. We let politics divide us, we let religion divide us and we use those institutions to justify our inexplicable need to hold on to the label of marriage.
For what? What is it to you? It affects you the same as banning gay marriage has affected me; it doesn’t.
I was blessed to have been born into a family whose parents have stayed together for more than 25 years. Politics didn’t keep them together. Religion didn’t keep them together. Love and hope kept them together.
To those in North Carolina, to those in Missouri and to those in all other states who have attacked the thought of gay marriage: I hope someday that you will find the hope and love which I so strongly believe in. It is obvious you have not done so yet.
Gay marriage is not about defining marriage. It is not a reflection on straight marriages. It is not even something which should be a debate.
Hope and love is not a bargaining chip, it is not a talking point and it certainly not something you should be able to deprive others the opportunity to have.
Be courageous. Don’t deny hope and love, embrace it.
Eric Bennaka is a 21-year-old college student from Independence, MO.