We realized that we would be the first same-sex couple in North Carolina to get this far. We did not know that we would be the first in the entire South. There has been a lot of speculation about why we put ourselves out there so publicly, knowing what would likely follow. Here is the reason.
In many people's minds, I'm a straight man making a documentary film about a gay issue; if I want people to pledge their hard-earned dollars to my film in an economy that doesn't leave a lot of room for donations, I owe them an answer. I'm happy to oblige.
Why single out North Carolina, which is only one of 31 states that now have constitutional amendments prohibiting same-sex marriage? Most importantly, how would such a movement help to change the hearts and minds of the Tar Heels who voted in favor of Amendment 1?
On May 10 my partner and I and our two sons, along with eight other couples and families, and a large crowd of supporters, walked to the Forsyth County government building to apply for marriage licenses. We did it to show plainly who is hurt when discriminatory laws are passed.
I would gladly never step foot in North Carolina again, and if it weren't for the fact that I do have relatives and a few friends there, I probably wouldn't. Why would I waste my money to support the economy of a state that clearly sees me as unworthy of any level of respect?
Opposition to discrimination has always been a morally and politically right position for Obama, and that has included gender and sexual preference, not just racial discrimination. There was no doubt then that it was only a matter of time that Obama would finally say yes to gay marriage.
The battle in North Carolina also indicates that conservative strategists are beginning to target unrepentant, unmarried heterosexual couples, too. In a state that already prohibits same-sex marriage, Amendment 1 adds prohibitions against civil unions and domestic partnerships.
It is up to us to show the opposition that we are no different. We are all human, and love is love. 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.
Let's take a page out of Harvey Milk's book: if you don't mention "at least one old queer" in your campaign ads against an anti-gay initiative, you've already lost the battle. Perhaps the vote in North Carolina was a foregone conclusion.