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Take another look at gay marriage issue - April Avison

I have a dream ? that someday people who love each other, regardless of their sexual orientation, will be allowed to marry.

I've tried for a few weeks to make excuses for not writing this column. It's likely going to be the least popular thing I ever write for this newspaper, but sometimes what you believe is not what's popular. And, I figure, if my close friends sat idly by while I was being ridiculed and belittled, that would be an unforgivable offense and I cannot continue to be quiet about an issue for which I feel so strongly.

I don't understand why opponents of gay marriage feel so strongly about it. What's it to them if people they don't even know get married? Can you imagine how hurtful this must be to the gay and lesbian couples who just want to have the same rights as other people in this free country?

It's time for us to realize that humans are humans. Some humans are gay, some are straight. Some are rich, some are poor. Some are black, some are white. We all deserve to be treated equally.

The debate over segregation had some disturbing similarities to the debate over gay marriage. There were respected politicians who vocally resisted integrating schools the same way there are respected politicians who are fighting gay marriage. They resisted treating all humans as equals. It was a touchy political issue, and many spoke loudly in support of what was popular, rather than what was right.

This is not a debate over whether homosexuality is a sin. It's not a debate over whether the "lifestyle" is a choice. It's simply an issue of right and wrong. And it's not right to deny someone the chance to join in union with a person they love. Especially when we allow that right to straight people who have done nothing to earn the right.

I've thought of a dozen touching anecdotes I could share about my gay friends and their personal beauty and contributions to the world, and the suffering they have endured because of their sexuality. But the bottom line is, I can tell touching stories about my straight friends too. Because we're all just people. And we all have beautiful qualities and stories of triumph and suffering. We are all the same. And we should all be treated the same.

April Avison is the city editor of the Daily Herald. Her column appears on Mondays. She can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or via e-mail at aavison@henryherald.com.