Recently a family member told me that I was "too hung up on being gay" because I support Obama's stance on marriage equality. In the same week an acquaintance sent me an email asking if I'd defriended him on Facebook because he voiced his support for Republicans. He said, "I don't hate minorities, the elderly, gay/lesbians, the poor or puppies." Frankly, I was shocked that anyone would hate puppies but possibly more shocked that I could be lumped into a group with them. But here's the point. Since I came out as gay, many people, a large majority of them Republicans, have thought that that is all that I am.
Now, this may be surprising, but sometimes I make decisions for reasons other than the fact that I am gay. I didn't defriend my acquaintance because of his support for Republicans, although that might have been easier to say. The truth was a little more difficult. We simply aren't friends.
When I voiced my disapproval of Romney's stance on marriage inequality to my family member, it wasn't just because I want my marriage to be federally recognized. It is because I believe marriage equality is a basic human right. Those who deny this right have no humanity.
It is easier for people to disregard my beliefs if they can marginalize me by placing me into a category. But if I believe in a woman's right to choose and fair pay, does that make me a woman? If I believe in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, does that make me a socialist? If I believe that the very wealthy should pay their fair share, does that make me poor? The answer is "no," of course. What it does make me is a Democrat, a Democrat who happens to be gay. And as a Democrat, I believe in marriage equality.
Many Republican friends tell me that they are socially liberal but fiscally conservative and that this is the reason that they are voting Republican. This sounds nice, but it doesn't work that way. If you cast your vote for Romney, there is not a box you can tick next to his name that states, "But I don't hate minorities, the elderly, gay/lesbians, the poor or puppies." If you vote for him, you are voting to constitutionally define marriage as being limited to one man with one woman. You are voting to remove regulations that would require hospitals to allow gay couples visitation rights. You are voting to allow states to ban adoptions by gay couples. You are voting to destroy my family.
I'm sorry if that seems harsh. Actually, screw it, I'm not. You should know what you are voting for. You are voting as a Republican for all these things that the party supports. I am voting as a Democrat for all the things that the Democratic Party supports. If that makes me "gay for Obama," then I am totally gay.
But what does it make you?
William Dameron's personal blog is The Authentic Life.