I’m celebrating this morning for good, old New York. How different it is from rural Minnesota and my small town.
by Charlie Leck
That small percentage inside me that is gay is rejoicing mightily this morning as I read in the NY Times that the state of New York has passed a law that will give gays and lesbians the right to marry and all the legal protections and benefits that go with marriage. Hooray!
An old friend of mine and an expert of matters of the Protestant Church and its relationship to gays and lesbians, many years ago, taught me a great deal about what it means to be gay. He theorized that each and every one of us has a percentage of our sexual makeup that is gay. It might be a very tiny percentage or it might be a large amount – and we’re born with it! Conversely, every individual who is gay has a percentage of the heterosexual within him or her. The individual who is truly healthy, when it comes to his or her sexuality, is the one who can recognize that and handle it well.
Now this will be controversial even among my readers. Can you imagine trying to convince the Michel Bachmanns of the world that this is true?
Those who rebel intensely against any homosexual tendencies or characteristics they might have inside themselves are the ones who often turn out to be intensely homophobic. Having had this thesis offered to me for thought, I have often observed those homophobes I’ve met with this in the back of my mind – and wondered. I’ve wondered about the basis of or for the threat these people feel. Why the lack of sympathy, understanding and tolerance? Why the fear? Why the loathing?
I’ve had the good fortune to have a number of gay friends in my life. They’ve taught me a lot and helped me understand that one’s sexual character or inclinations – one’s sexuality, if you will – is not very often a matter of choice. I tried to express that a week or so ago in a blog I called BORN THIS WAY. If you haven’t read that, and this subject interests you, you may want to go back and read it.
So, on this historic morning for the people of New York, I am having two conflicting thoughts. One is, of course, of great joy and sense of celebration that the legislature and governor of that state could muster the courage and bravery it took to do what is right. It is a shame to say that, but the opposition to the legislative action is vicious and even dangerous.
My second thought is about what we will face here in Minnesota in the coming year as the campaign heats up about the ballot initiative to amend the constitution of our state to define marriage as only between a man and a woman. The campaign will be a difficult one and, at times, vicious and cruel. My chips are in and I’m committed to work against such an amendment because of the ignorance behind it.
I live in an area or region within this state that is extremely conservative. Most of my neighbors out here are instinctive and knee-jerk conservatives. This issue of gay-marriage is one they won’t even discuss. They dismiss the possibility out-of-hand. Nope! Never! Impossible! It is difficult to even have a discussion of sexuality because the subject is often regarded as taboo.
I remember one of my first and dearest gay friends. I’ve written about him here before. I met him in the late 60s and spent quite a few hours talking to him about the agony his parents were going through because of his femininity and obvious gay nature. My friend’s mother totally blamed herself; and his father was willing to agree with that assessment. I went with him on the long drive to his hometown and his parent’s house one day. They had agreed to sit down and discuss the subject. It took only a few minutes for the father’s fuse to burn down and he exploded on me and drove us both from “his” house, telling his son never to return. Within a few weeks, my friend was dead. He decided he could not go on living in such estrangement .
This is the complexity of this extraordinary issue. Oh, that we could celebrate love between human beings! That is what the legislation in New York State does. Hooray!
I’ve had chats with God about this and I’m convinced that He/She is on the side of allowing humans to love one another as fully and completely as they can.
Now, it’s on to Minnesota!
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