As of yesterday, 15 states have legalized marriage equality. 15/50. It's not enough, but it's something, and as with any big endeavor, any paradigm shift, these things take time. But step by step, state by state, the tide is turning, make no mistake. Soon enough, marriage equality will be our American reality. And a generation from now, or two, perhaps, we will look back at these days of hand wringing and opposition and our children or grandchildren will wonder what all the fuss was about.
I for one am happy about that.
Yesterday I shared an Internet meme on my blog's Facebook page that had been making the rounds as soon as the news hit. It looked a little something like this:
This simple graphic, shared out of my pure joy and sense of celebration and State pride, had within hours been seen by over 280K people. Not bad for a mom at the dining room table. What also happened was that a whole lot of folks came out a trolling. Yeah, turns out not all of those 280K people felt the same joy, pride, and celebration as I did. Nope.
While I was getting my hair done, my Facebook page was going through a little tempest in a teapot. Folks angry, many of them men who are absolutely, positively not subscribers to my Facebook page, hopped on over to spread their message of hate and prejudice, working their best to rain on our happy little pride parade.
That wasn't gonna happen. The movement towards marriage equality for all has too much momentum. The tides have turned and the scales have tipped. I think that's why the anger against it is so intense.
Not being gay myself, I don't know what it feels like to have strangers oppose you for whom you love. I don't know what it feels like to be in a committed relationship and not be able to stand in front of all you know and have that love and commitment legally recognized. I am grateful that my gay friends in Illinois can now enjoy the same rights and privileges that I do. I am hopeful that my gay friends in other states will one day soon be able to enjoy that, too.
So back to the hair dressers. As I was waiting for my color to set, I popped open my Facebook account and saw that things on my page had taken a turn. I'll be honest, I didn't get too upset about it. There wasn't much I could do from my phone in a salon. I read and winced a time or two.
More than anything, I just feel badly for folks who live their lives in such fear and deep distrust of people who are different than themselves that they feel justified and energized leaving nasty Facebook messages on a page they've never visited before. Don't they have kids to hug or lunches to make or books to read or a Tivo to catch up with? There are so many more worthwhile things to do with your time than leave hate filled messages to strangers on a Facebook page that clearly is an inclusive type of place.
After I got home and finally ate some dinner at 9:30, I did get around to checking out the page on a proper computer. It was late and I was tired. With a newborn, 9:30 p.m. is LATE. I had every intention of cleaning up the page and deleting the nasty messages. Then I read them and thought it was important to leave them up.
Sometimes we need to see the hate that exists around us. The gay community lives with it every day. As someone who is supportive of marriage equality, I felt it important to leave the comments as a testament to how deeply ingrained some people's fears and hate can be.
Here is a sampling:
- Curt Peterson: Got. Adds yet (translation: Got AIDS yet?)
- Robert Cornwell: Happier than sissies with bags full of dicks! Next, let's marry our children, hooray!
- Tony Lucy: One day, I hope to legally be able to marry my cat.
- Raymond L. Bakke: Next you can marry your dog
- Tony Boots Shroyer: Chiraq (translation: Chicago, but only for ignorant people who like to make light of gang violence and mideast turmoil in one fell swoop) ... It's a shit hole
- James Bowen: Think the country's hurting now I can't imagine when I'm dead and gone how sissified this country's gonna be, I'm not sayin all gays aren't tough but the majority are sissies what's gonna happen when our military is full of cupcakes, this country will be overtaken by a stronger force this whole country is gonna be nothin but fruits, smh damn shame boy how times changed...and the ones that say it's not a choice!? Well that's bullshit, it's a choice where I wanna stick my thing and who I wanna love, so glad I was raised right! (Wow, just wow.)
- Ted Roberts, Jr.: Bullshit!!
- Vanessa Gore: Im so sorry to here that the foundations of marriage and family there has been so shaken... once the evil is in place it can never be taken away again... I weep for the children exposed to such corruption (I weep for children who die of cancer. I weep for children who are abused and neglected. I weep for children who are hungry, but that's just me.)
- Jeff Burns: Whatever just cut this country into little pieces and burn it (Fatalistic much?)
- Ciera Desiree: Ew
- Tim Hungling: Yeah right, if you say so...puke.....ect.
- Monty Senior: Your all nut bags! Do the geometry !! This country is going straight to hell!!! (Hmmm . . . wonder what geometry has to do with it.)
- Jason Haenel: Who cares Illinois sucks.
- Susana Rodriguez: How do people figure that they can compare being gay with being black?? Smh
- Phil Kirschbaum: Hey....don't u find it amazing that every TV show now has a gay character. Gays make up less than 2% of the population but yet with all this exposure you would think the majority of people r gay.
- Phil Kirschbaum: I am not Christian. Christ was just some Jew who was killled by Romans. (Nice one, Phil.)
- Phil Kirschbaum: Maybe Jesus was gay. Lol
- Phil Kirschbaum: U guys crack me up. I bet u r all liberals who voted for Obama simply because he was black.
- Ianza Justin Torres: We are failing these people by coddling them. Only Jesus can heal the hurts and traumas that bring people to make these decisions. May true love abound in their hearts. Amen. J (Yes, America's problem is that we "coddle" gays.)
- David Brinkley: Fags
- Barbara Corcoran: Gross
- Rick Carlson: Really the problems this state has and your proud of this , brainless morons ! You don't even know what the numbers are of gay and lesbians are in this country , there are more horders than gay and lesbian in thin country combined ! That's .001% of population , real victory ! (For the record, I believe in marriage equality for horders, too. Oh, did he mean "hoarders?" In that case, no way! Two hoarders should NEVER marry one another -- can you just imagine the mess that would make?)
- Barbara Corcoran: Never in the history of the human race has gay relationships been considered normal so dont try to tell me that now it is.whats the next normal boy man love?marrying your dog?If the thought is you cant help who you love,where is this going next?
- Marshall Ayres: No arguing with sheeple. Even though spreading diseases around and what not is not enough. Just imagine the majority of mankind were all fucking each other in the asses, what do think would happen to the human race? Our population would dwindle and down to nothing but sick pple who can't seem to understand the process of extinction.
This is a little slice of America in 2013, folks. Sad, but true.
I am grateful that the love far outweighs the hate on my page, and I believe, in America itself. If you, too, support marriage equality and human rights, you should say so. I got a lot of praise last night and this morning for being brave and supporting marriage equality. Believe me when I say that sharing an Internet meme is not brave. Choosing love over hate is not brave. Supporting my gay friends is not brave, it's simply the right thing to do.
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And if you want more information about the passage of marriage equality laws in your state, check this out.