With great anticipation many in the country and state await the decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court on the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8. The ruling will either put the issue to rest, unlikely, or just be a legal benchmark in this ongoing saga of civil rights.
To me the more compelling debate has been in reference to the evolving and changing opinions related to same-sex marriage. The needle of approval is definitely trending toward broad acceptance, especially with the younger generations.
One public comment I thought very significant was the observation that if someone knows someone who is gay or a lesbian then they are more likely to support and approve of same-sex marriage. In other words, familiarity doesn’t breed contempt in this case, it breeds acceptance.
Years ago when my sons were in high school, I would hear their peers casually throw around the term “faggot.” They had no idea that the term described the pieces of wood that were piled at the feet of someone who was said to be a homosexual and about to be burned alive. Jokes about being gay were common verbal fodder in the adolescent games of negative one-upsmanship.
Interestingly, we — Lisa, my sons and I — went to the Nikkei 2000 Conference in San Francisco. Both my sons were active participants and had a great time. As it turns out, two of their group leaders were gay. When my sons found this out their conclusion, after a brief pause to think about it, was that the individuals were “cool.” Getting to know these individuals as people made the case, not for same-sex marriage back then, but the undeniable case that they were just individuals like everyone else.
When the conservative Republican senator from Ohio changed his position on same-sex marriage it was because he found out his son was gay. He wants his son, whom he loves, to be able to marry the one he loves. This is the crux of this issue, being able to marry the one you love.
During that brief window when same-sex marriages were legal in California, I was asked by a friend to officiate his wedding to his partner (legislators are legally allowed to marry folks). We did it in my office with a minimum of fanfare and I was more than happy to do it. I was happy for my friend and his wife, and more importantly they were happy.
So as the Time Magazine (the latest issue) states on its cover, “Gay Marriage Already Won,” I just add, “Right on!”
Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.