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Jeffery Self Headshot

'But's Are Over

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We all have election fever. Just click "refresh" on your Facebook news feed and you'll undoubtedly be met with some clever meme and some deeply frustrating anti-Obama status from some guy you went to college with. Not me. First of all, I only spent six months in college, and second of all, it wasn't even college but drama school, so for the most part I tend to only disagree with my former classmates on Primetime Emmy picks. (If Connie Britton doesn't win, I'm becoming a librarian in the Middle East!)

I tend to avoid getting too deep into the online political discussion, only because I'm both obsessive-compulsive and manic-depressive, so, basically, I'm always one Twitter-feud-over-equal-rights away from a full-blown meltdown. (OK, I kid. I'm like two away, maybe three.) However, watching Michelle Obama's brilliant speech at the Democratic National Convention and reading more and more about the fight for equal rights this November, I am overwhelmed with a feeling of "we've got to do something!"

For the past few decades, as being gay has become more and more acceptable in mainstream society, there's been a feeling among a lot of gay people's friends, colleagues, and families (including mine) that "I like gay people, and I love you, but I don't support gay marriage." For a while, I felt like that was OK; we all have different opinions, and that's what makes America great.

But that's the thing: Those kinds of opinions do not make America great. In fact, they're one of the giant roadblocks holding our country back from progress. There are so many people who consider themselves conservative on fiscal issues but not on social issues, and that's been (at least partially) socially acceptable for quite some time, and I think this fall is officially time for that to change.

This is my personal request to my family, friends, co-workers, and Nicki Minaj (just kidding -- I don't really care about Nicki Minaj either way) to think about just how important an issue equality is. It is no longer OK to say, "I like gay people, and I love you, but I don't support gay marriage." That time has simply passed.

Now is the time to support your friends, your brothers, your sisters, your children, your cousins, your secretaries, your bosses, your sassy reality-show sidekicks, your assistants, Nate Berkus, your parents, your grandchildren, your nieces, your nephews.... Now is the time to prove that you mean it when you say, "I like gay people, and I love you."

I'm asking my friends and family, immediate and otherwise, to think about what their vote means this November, to think about the fact that their friend/brother/cousin/nephew/whatever is a second-class citizen but for the first time in history we, as a country, have a president who supports changing that. For real.

So do yourselves a favor and drop the "but" from the "I like gay people" comments. "But"s are over, but, ya know, just that kind of "but."