In a sad turn of events, North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. The real slap in the face is that the measure also bans civil unions for our gay brothers and sisters in the Tar Heel State.
As the disheartening news flooded my Twitter feed, I couldn't help but feel defeated. Although I could not vote in North Carolina, this overwhelming moment of sadness came over me. I thought to myself, "What more could we have done?" I can't help to think that maybe it's our fault that North Carolina is now the 30th state to adopt such a ban, defining marriage solely as a union between a man and a woman.
Now, before you go and rip my face off for putting significant blame on the LGBT community, hear me out. Maybe it's our fault for not showing our heterosexual counterparts that we deserve all the rights and privileges that they receive. Maybe it's our fault that the constitutional amendment was approved because so many of us have an absolute fear of living out loud. Maybe we are not taking responsibility for showing the opposition that our lives run parallel to theirs. Maybe it's our fault that we are still creating a "gay generational gap" and don't fight as hard for equality like the Stonewall generation fought for us.
This blow to the LGBT community sends the wrong message to the rest of the country. Its 2012, for goodness' sake! It's the proverbial future, and we are still living in the past. Tami Fitzgerald and other leaders of pro-amendment groups believe that you "don't rewrite the nature of God's design based on the demands of a group of adults." Well, let me tell you something, Tami: All people who identify as members of the LGBT family were made in God's image, design, and likeness. And to pass off our human rights as demands from a group of adults leads people to believe that being gay is a choice. What about all the children, tweens, and teens who are coming to terms with the truth about their sexuality? Are we all supposed to be pigeonholed as second-class citizens because God designed us to love differently from you? Where is the true respect for God's design?
I'm a young, almost-30-year-old who has been given the right to marry in New York. The constitutional amendment in North Carolina makes me feel extremely lucky that I am able to live my own truth and proudly walk side-by-side with my husband. We should look at this moment in history as another poignant call to action. I encourage all same-sex-loving individuals to speak up and live their own truth. If people who oppose the equal rights of gay people watched their son or daughter, brother or sister, best friend or close neighbor, even their mother or father come out as gay, life as we know it would change. My generation can't envision a world where interracial couples could not marry. The U.S. Supreme Court decision that made interracial marriage fully legal came to fruition only 45 years ago. Hopefully the next generation will find it difficult to envision a world where same-sex-loving people could not marry one another.
We cannot sit back and wait on the personal views of President Obama to "evolve" regarding gay marriage. We cannot wait until our favorite entertainer finally comes out and identifies as a same-sex-loving person. The procrastination over speaking up and showing our heterosexual counterparts that we are indeed one and the same must end. Maybe we are at fault because we won't all stand united. At one point in life, I, too, lived in a closeted world and would not identify as gay. That false livelihood was like me trying to live as though my skin weren't a beautiful shade of chocolate, or attempting to identify as something other than African-American or black.
It is up to us to show the opposition that we are no different. We are all human, and love is love. That is one of the primary reasons that my husband and I wrote the first all-inclusive relationship book, The Best Workout is "Sex": A Gay Guide to Your Ideal Marriage. It is our hope to enlighten all couples, regardless of sexual orientation, on how to intimately connect with their romantic counterpart. The mission of the book is to shed a necessary spotlight on a conversation about the importance of marriage equality by exposing the similarities in both same-sex and heterosexual relationships. Some people are scared of what appears to be different. If we truly step up and show that we are all the same, this world would be as beautiful as life itself.
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