Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 178- Pride

Dear Mr. President,

The Space Needle, arguably the most easily recognized icon in our city, is flying a rainbow flag this week. This has, of course, caused its share of grumbling, but it makes me proud to be a Seattlite. I went to a high school in a small town where being gay was not acceptable. I saw the struggles of my gay, lesbian, bisexual and not-entirely-straight friends. Some bore the antipathy they received well. Some stayed in the closet, or, at least, out of the way. Personally, I was on a crusade to get the boys on my cross-country team to stop calling things they disliked "gay", and earned their annoyance and even the wrath of my coach, when I called him out about it, as well. This was only 6 years ago, and, while I'm sure that Arlington is a long way away from flying any rainbow flags of its own, every time I see the Space Needle, I'm reminded of how far we've come. I'm proud to live in a city that celebrates its gay community.

As a general rule, I don't date Republicans. I believe that people of different political opinions can be friends, can have mutual respect, but, for me, there are aspects of the Republican party's platform that are so contrary to my values, that I could never be in a relationship with a person who believes in them. The opposition to gay marriage is the most significant of these. One can argue the separation of politics and personal values to a point, but too many people I love are being kept from full rights as Americans because of who they love, and for me, that's as personal as it gets. If a person can cast a ballot for that kind of bigoted ignorance, or a candidate who perpetuates it, they have no place in my life.

Who we love and who we hate define who we are, and, as I am proud of my city for showing its love, I am ashamed of my country for being guided by those who hate. It is 2010, in a nation ostensibly founded on the promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. How is it still possible that two consenting adults in love cannot be allowed to marry? What does that say about us, as a nation? Isn't our freedom the root of our national pride? Patriotism is so difficult to muster in the face of such unapologetic hypocrisy. Flying a rainbow flag may be easy, but my state is also beginning to walk the walk legislatively, as well. It is too little, and it is too slow, but it is a lot better than the practices of the federal government.

I think that the opponents of gay marriage in this country need to hear some hard truths. Their fears are based in ignorance, their religions do not and must not dictate the laws of this land or the lives of other Americans. Their prejudices have no place in our legislation. We should repeal DOMA, because it is the right thing to do, and because it would give so many Americans cause to be proud of our country again.

Respectfully yours,


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