BY Advocate.com Editors
October 05 2009 5:45 PM ET
According to an April ABC News/Washington Post poll, 49% of Americans believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. Nearly half the country feels that this is a nonissue and that all people should be treated equally and fairly under the law.
Just don't ask Utah governor Gary Herbert. In late August, he said that discrimination against gay people shouldn't be illegal. (Although he did say he feels everyone should be treated with respect. Uh, thanks big guy.) If Herbert had said discrimination against black people shouldn't be illegal, he would've had to go into hiding. But a statement like that against gays is acceptable? That's disgusting and reprehensible.
Shortly after Californians passed Proposition 8, constitutionally restricting marriage to heterosexual couples, comparisons were drawn between the current gay rights struggle and the civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, with many asking whether gay was the new black.
"I've certainly heard that comparison drawn before, and I think there are similarities between any civil rights movements," Giannoulias said. "But in the end, I come back to my fundamental belief that all people should be treated equally, and that extends to two people in a committed relationship. DOMA creates a second class of citizenship. I will not stand for that."
So while we have made strides and have people of power supporting the cause, we still have a ways to go. If you know straight people who think gays shouldn't have the right to marry, ask them honestly why they feel that way. Don't get defensive. Don't get confrontational. Just ask. Ask them how they would feel if someone told them they couldn't marry their boyfriend or girlfriend. Or if they couldn't visit their partner in the hospital as they lay dying. What if they couldn't receive spousal tax breaks because their committed relationship isn't recognized by law. Ask them how it would affect their life if their gay neighbors, whom they may have dinner parties with or hug hello when they see them at the store, want to stand up and say "I do" in front of their loved ones. When they scratch their head and look bewildered, you'll know you've changed another opinion.
It's how we advance. It's as simple as that.