Listen, I get it. The recent shift in Utah State law regarding marriage for same-sex couples has taken many by surprise. This includes the Utah State Attorney General's office, whose fumbling has certainly sent the conservative right spiraling with anxiety while hundreds and hundreds of same-sex couples married all over the state. Not to mention the Utah man on a hunger strike until the state stops allowing same-sex marriages (does the recently imposed stay by the U.S. Supreme Court suffice or will he try and hold out for a reversed ruling?). But, I've got good news; there's no reason to be scared (and there is certainly no reason to starve). Here's why:
- Your church is protected. Remember, we're fighting to protect people's fundamental and inalienable rights outlined by the United States Constitution, and part and parcel of that is your church's right to decide if and how it recognizes its LGBT congregants.
- The kids are fine. Actually, they're better than fine. The American Psychological Association noted (even back in a 2004 study) that gay and lesbian parents are just as likely as their heterosexual counterparts to provide supportive and healthy environments for their kids. In fact, if anything threatens the safety and health of children from same-sex parents, it is when their families are not protected by the laws afforded to heterosexual families. Furthermore, you can teach your children whatever you'd like about gay folks, regardless of the law. So, although it's not recommended (or preferred), you're even allowed to pass down your homophobia.
- Homophobia makes for an unhealthy diet. In all fairness, it is the fear of gays that is detrimental to a person's health -- not actual gays. Plus, think how often Utah lawmakers have disregarded hungry mouths proving they really don't care what you do or do not eat. And nor should they. No one person's diet should decide the civil rights of hundreds of thousands of people. Eat up.
- You won't be alone. More and more people, even in Utah -- one of the most conservative states in the union -- support same-sex marriage. In fact, several recent polls on LDS Church-owned KSL.com show a vast majority of people support same-sex marriage in Utah. So, 2004's Amendment 3, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman, did reflect the will of the people, and now so does it being deemed unconstitutional. Join the party.
- You can avoid buyer's remorse. You will never get back the energy, money or delicious meals missed that you spend working to disenfranchise an entire population of people. So, stop. Work to that end rarely sees gains.
- Healthy couples make for strong economies. Research has shown that the economic impact of extending marriage to same-sex couples is very positive. As is providing ways for more Americans to access health care via their spouses. Supporting and protecting all families is actually good for your wallet.
- Gay people aren't magic. Although sometimes a flattering thought, we don't have special powers and can't change people's sexualities or ruin their marriages. Think about it: If we were magic, we wouldn't have to be having this conversation. And Subarus would be free.
- Lastly, we're not new. Whether or not the government has civilly recognized our unions, same-sex couples have been around forever. We are your neighbors, your doctors, your policemen and women and your lawmakers. The only item on our agenda is love. And in the states and nations that recognize and protect our marriages by law, not a single instance of the apocalypse has been reported.
So, take a deep breath. And for goodness' sake, have a sandwich.