Speaking from the Heart

I appreciate and highly value the freedoms afforded to me as a citizen of the United States. Free speech, freedom to live and pursue happiness, and being able to vote for our elected leaders and on questions important to the day. Two weeks now the decision will be made as to who will become the President of the United States, serve in our Senate, House of Representatives, and on local issues brought to referendum on the ballot in my home state.

I read a lot on various media — newspapers, blogs, and Facebook. I have learned a lot about how people use electronic media to express their views. But nothing is as direct as being put into the position of having to speak from the heart.

Last night, I attended what was supposed to be a community meeting about a local development issue. While I no longer lead this regional organization, having served as its Chair for six years, I know that my opinion and insights are valued. However, the discussion that was supposed to be about a local in-fill building project got onto a tangent about two questions that will appear as a referendum on our the ballot across our state. One question was about an Act passed by our state legislature that will allow people who are not U.S. citizens, but who graduated from a local high school, parents paid taxes for at least three years, and who attend two years of community college, to get in-state tuition at a state university. I support that Act, while some others do not.

But what really got my goat was a discussion about a question that also will appear on referendum. Our state legislature passed an Act that would allow same-sex couples to marry while protecting religious institutions, as well as purveyors of goods and services, not to participate in any way with a same-sex marriage if they feel that doing so is against their religious tenets.

The nabobs of negativity have stated that we are “redefining marriage.” Bullshit. What the Act is doing is allowing me to formalize my relationship with my partner of almost 20 years. That is, marry the man I have loved, and always will love, forever. The benefits of our getting married will afford us the same benefits as heterosexual couples — for example, if one spouse dies, the other does not have to pay an estate tax on the other’s property. There are many more benefits, too — and what I want is simply to be treated equally under the law as all married couples are treated. It is a civil right, not a religious matter.

Last night, someone who fervently is opposed to same-sex marriage got on a soapbox during the meeting and started spewing hate and lies. He said that by allowing the law to take effect, schools will be forced to teach about homosexuality. Children will suffer because “only a man and a woman can raise a child.” He even quoted an out-of-context verse from the Bible against “a man who lies with a man.” That stuff is false, wrong, and outdated, fed by hypocrites. Yeah, so-called preachers of peace, acceptance, and tolerance foment hate and fear. Again, this is so sad, but evidence again of how people are influenced by propaganda on the airwaves and electronic media.

I was hoping that someone, anyone, would speak up with a different opinion from this nattering negative religious zealot. No one did. Finally, I had it. I raised my hand, got the floor, and made a short, simple statement that came from my heart. I explained how I have struggled so hard to care for the one that I love. He’s been very sick. He needs a lot of help. But then I explained all the mess that we have had to go through so that I can advocate for him legally, because right now in the eyes of the law, we are strangers to one another. That has to change.

I spoke for only two minutes, and at the end, I had tears flowing freely. I sat down, rather dejected and disheartened.

Then two others spoke up. One — a long-term friend — supported me. I would rather expect that. She’s been a good friend and an ally for some 30 years.

But what was most surprising and heartwarming was to have a police officer stand and say, “you know, I am rather conservative and am very engaged in my church. But I really wasn’t aware of the issues that [BHD] raised. He makes good points. I intend to vote in favor of that referendum — yes on Question 6 — because I understand now more than ever how deeply personal and important this matter is.”

Wow… you never know. Thanks, Ofc. [x]. And thank you, neighbors, for your support. It means a lot.

Now, back to the topic — what are we going to do about that proposed building?

Life is short: vote — from the heart.

4 thoughts on “Speaking from the Heart

  1. Good for you! You stood up and spoke from your heart and you (undoubtedly) spoke well. I had an image of you standing and speaking that was straight out of that Norman Rockwell poster designed to illustrate the ‘Four Freedoms’ that President Roosevelt spoke of in his fireside chat. One of those freedoms is freedom of speech. It is always amazing to me how few people feel courageous and confident enough to use this American birthright. So few do. I’m also pleased to see you humanizing the real issue behind ‘same-sex marriage’. That is to say that marriage is the main way our society recognizes relationships, property and rights/responsibilities.

    I hope your state passes the referendum question. If not, you are always welcome to move to New York State – we’d love to have you and your partner as residents. But if your state does pass the same-sex marriage referenda question, will we be seeing online photos of you and BikerBeef dressed for nuptials…wearing boots (of course)?

    • Bill, I knew I could count on you for an eloquent response. Moving elsewhere is not an option. My boots are firmly planted where I have my roots.

      Should the referendum pass, my partner and I will have a small civil ceremony at our local courthouse. A man serving as a judge now is someone I have known since elementary school, and he wants to be the one to marry us. My twin brother will come home and be my Best Man, as I was for him at his wedding in Italy. One of my sisters will stand with my partner — and that’s it.

      We’re not into big presentations and parties. I doubt we will dress up in formal leather (smile). Just nice clothes, and boots for me of course. While I want some photos taken of us at the ceremony, my ever-reclusive partner does not, so the jury is out regarding what photos may be taken and appear anywhere.

      We just want what is our civil right, to recognize the loving relationship in which we live each day in the eyes of the law of our state. Simple enough, but elusive due to hate and fear from the religious wrong. Wish us strength!

    • Marriage should be equal across the board, straight or gay or whatever it should be EQUAL! My opinion on this is probably not the norm, but I actually think that government should not recognize the difference between gay and straight marriages. Everyone should be in a sort of domestic partnership or civil union in the eyes of the government. After all, the concept of marriage came from religions and other world cultures except in DOMA, marriage has never before been defined as one man and one woman. This way, everyone still has the same rights, and the super-religious don’t have to think that any gay people are actually married, whether they are or not.

  2. You bet I’ll be right there at your side, brother. You have been my Best Man for my whole life.

    I’m contacting my friends who live in our home state to encourage them to vote yes on that referendum, allowing the law passed by the legislature to be affirmed and take effect. When it does, we’ll celebrate together!

    Ore e sempre,

    J

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