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07/31/2013

I fully support the soon-to-lose 'protect marriage' movement's right to blow off steam

by Jeremy Hooper

In a campaign, legislative debate, court hearing, or some other arena where emotional appeals and personally-held faith convictions could quite literally deny me of my ciivl rights, I of course spill much digital ink pushing back against those who are mad, sad, or being downright disingenuous about my marriage and how they fear it will impact their lives. But something very interesting (and so damn freeing) happens once we on the side of equality win our rights in a certain state or federally (see ya, DOMA). That is: I gladly step aside and let my oppositional voices cry out in whatever way they see fit.

Here's what I mean:

“I can’t say we’re bitter,” said Tom O’Neill of Eagan. “We’re disappointed. It’s people saying, ‘If it’s good for me, I don’t care about anyone else.’ There’s nothing that’s intrinsically evil anymore.”

“To me, the moral compass is disintegrating,” added his wife, Mary. “Not just changing — disintegrating.”

FULL REPORT: Some Minnesotans are more sad than bitter over gay marriage [Star Tribune]

The above-linked report is a whole assemblage of Minnesotans who simply cannot believe that marriage is coming to their state tomorrow. Some bemoan the lack of "morality" they see in two same-sex citizens' love, while others cast aspersions against the hard political fight that brought this civil freedom to the state. All, however, are quite upset and would love to change the reality, if they could.

But the thing is? They can't. There is no reasonable way that anyone is going to take marriage rights away from Minnesota or any state that currently has marriage rights. It's just not going to happen. If that were to happen, the outrage, from sea to shining sea, would never stop reverberating. Our country is moving in one decided direction, and the days of stripping people of rights is forever gone. While we have to stay vigilant about losing any ground, we also have to take sighs of relief about where we are. There will be more fights, but we are going to win far more than we will lose. We should be proud of that; we fought very hard to get here.

And so back to Minnesota: It's remarkable to me how little I care about these citizens' frustrations. I mean, I care on a human level because I am a compassionate person who would prefer for everyone to be happy and no one to suffer. I will also make personal attempts to alleviate concerns, because I, as a committed husband and a big fan of family values (yes, religious right—I have a celebrated them!), do know the deep value of marriage equality. But as a politico or public thinker fighting for these deserved rights, I could not care less about these personally-held condemnations of my life, marriage, and worth as an American citizen. When this whole thing was up for debate, both sides had the chance to make their points. We on the side of equality disempowered the slights. We prevailed over the misinformation. In some cases, we gained ground precisely because we were able to show how much animus is on the other side, and we will continue to do that in every state (and federally) where these conversations continue.

But once we win, I am more than willing to do what the anti-LGBT opposition isn't willing to do for me: I'm willing to live and let live. If they want to stand on street corners and protest, then they have my full support. If they want to keep writing commentaries that rely on the Becket Fund's carefully researched and promoted "religious freedom" deceptions, then they can let these D.C. messengers co-opt their intellectual cores with cheap political spin. If they want to pressure their churches to hold all ground on marriage and LGBT rights in general, then that is between them and their denominations. They can rage or pity; they can scream or advocate. They can blow steam in whatever way their pipes desire.

I could not be more supportive of all of the rights that these citizens deserve; I am just not going to let them take away rights that are not theirs for the taking! Once they lose any reasonable path to do that, their personal opinions return to their proper places.

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