Constitutional rights have been battled over for as long as we can remember. The fight for equality for blacks, women, equal rights in the workplace and now equality for LGBTs, has never been easy and many have suffered to put an end to the discrimination. We finally have a president who believes that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to establish an officially recognized and protected family relationship.
Our president says YES to gay marriage -- What this may mean:
Hate Crimes: With Obama's comments today, awareness will be higher and I hope the bully behavior, harassment and violence towards LGBTs will be looked at in a new light. These hate crimes affect a large population of our children, teens and adults. My sister, who is a lesbian, fought "being different" as most gays I know did -- even choosing to live with a man for years. She said once, "Life is just easier if you're straight." I understood that more clearly when I witnessed people yelling obscenities at her and her partner as they walked along the sidewalk. It may not be easy for any of us to be who we really are, but for LGBTs, the fear and the risk is so much greater.
Coming out: Obama's support, could help so many children, kids and adults find the courage to come out and live their lives in freedom and acceptance. To understand that you are "different" from the media, parents, and the church's portrayal of "normal" is of no small consequence. Most of us will never know how heart-wrenching it is to tell your loved ones that you are gay. The rejection rate is high and the fear it elicits is enough for some to never take the risk. My mother turned her back on my sister when she came out. I had a friend of mine whom I hadn't seen in a year come up to me in a parking lot at Whole Foods and shout," I'm gay!" I laughed and said, "What else is going on?" It was a huge moment for her and although I appreciated the significance, I was sad that it still remained an issue.
Marriage, love, honor and commitment: Why are these words used only to describe heterosexual couples? How ridiculous is this? These are basic human rights and to deny one group the ability to have equal treatment and rights under the law is insane. Sane people know this.
Workplace: Non-discrimination policies, benefits and other practices that include LGBT workers are essential. Acceptance and fairness in the workplace is mandatory and yet there are still areas we have to improve upon. A gay friend of mine chose to keep his sexual orientation secret for 20 years for fear of losing his job. Why should any of our sexual preferences become an issue at work?
Parenting: I've been witness to many heterosexual marriages and their parenting choices and wondered why those choices didn't land them in jail. I watched instead, people look the other way and say "to each their own." Why is this practice of blind acceptance not given to exceptional parents who happen to be a same sex couple?
Why is it so difficult for gays to be treated equally under the law?
The mixed feelings I have about yesterday's announcement of President Obama supporting marriage between same sex-couples is not the validity of it; it's that I feel so strongly that "It's about time" and honestly, What's the big deal?" We are all human beings. We all deserve the same rights. Why is someone considered "brave" to be an advocate for equality?
I expect the backlash from the Republicans and the religious fringe to be extreme and hateful. Obama may not be re-elected because of his support of equality for all people and it's a sad commentary on our divisive political structure and the hate we allow to flourish in our country towards innocent people.