A couple of things come to mind. One is that I still remember the first time I knowingly met someone who was gay. I was 19 and in college, still pretty conservative, questioning but not yet rejecting the idea that "AIDS is God's punishment for people being gay." I was part of a panel interviewing people for the U of Kansas Information Center (KU Info).
Me: What organizations are you involved in?
Him: I'm president of GLSOK.
Me: What's GLSOK?
Him: It stands for Gay and Lesbian Students of Kansas.
Me: Oh. So that means you're, um... president.
I wound up working with G. for the next three years. He would relieve me from my all-night shift, showing up perky and with a coffee or a doughnut for me. We weren't friends, per se, but we were definitely colleagues who liked each other. I remember, too, that for a long time, he struggled with allergies and we would compare notes on this.
A few years later, I learned that he had died of HIV/AIDS, diagnosed the day his lung collapsed not long before he died. This was at a time when Kansas doctors didn't always know to ask about risk, and patients didn't always feel like it would be safe to answer truthfully or volunteer information.
So maybe it is the power of knowing G., and how it prompted me to challenge everything I thought I "knew" about not only gay people, but any group of people. And maybe it is the memory, too, of that painful realization of the ways in which silence in the face of bigotry, stigma, hate, and other wrongs really can equal death, and how painful that is.
Or maybe I am moved because support for marriage equality and for queer folk more broadly is in the direction of more love and inclusion in the world, rather than less. Selfishly, that serves me pretty well.
I have spent a lot of my life feeling like I was supposed to be ashamed of parts of my life that frankly, I don't believe are shameful. If someone cannot handle something as straightforward as people being gay, or people getting married, then I really don't see them accepting me and my life.
The SCOTUS decision represents a giant step in the direction of love and acceptance of our fellow human beings. I really don't see how that can be anything other than a good thing for all of us.
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