Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Gay Marriage and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

These two hot button issues are again part of the national conversation, but for different reasons. American’s love to watch a train wreck. This all goes back to the “opposite marriage” answer by Miss. California, Carrie Prejean, during the Miss USA Pageant when asked about her position on Gay Marriage by gossip columnist Perez Hilton. I am a white male, married to a beautiful woman, and have two beautiful daughters. I am in a, what Carrie Prejean calls “opposite marriage”, or Traditional Marriage. Does this make me a bad person? No. Does this mean that I am opposed to Gay Marriage or Civil Union? No. What does this say about me? Nothing, except that I am in a committed, loving relationship with someone of the opposite sex.

I don’t agree with Carrie Prejean but I respect her courage for stating her position on marriage before the nation. What is most frustrating, scream at the top of my lungs infuriating, is the small minded, supermarket tabloid, snarky, elitist, self-promoting behavior of Perez Hilton. Talk about the Republicans and a circular firing squad! Its behavior like Hilton’s that kills any momentum for equal rights the GLBT community makes. Hilton didn’t like the answer that Prejean gave to his question, so he goes on his blog and trashes her. I can understand the passion and anger from the Gay Community over the pseudo social issue of “Marriage Protection,” but come on! Does Hilton really think that asking a gotcha question and trashing that person for giving their honest opinion for which he doesn’t share, advances the movement for equal rights in our society for the GLBT community?

Then we come to the issue of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the latest casualty of this policy, Army National Guard and West Point graduate Lt. Dan Choi. Choi was an Army Linguist who speaks fluent Arabic. He was discharged, not for doing a bad job as an Arabic linguist which is a high need specialty, but because he came out of the closet.

Both of these issues come down to the comfort level people have with issues of sexuality. It has nothing to do with protecting the institution of marriage, good order and discipline, or unit cohesion. It is all about being comfortable with a person’s sexual orientation. Gay men and women are a part of our communities and a part of this world. They have been throughout recorded history and even before. A person’s sexual orientation has no bearing on my sexual preferences.

Protecting the institution of marriage has nothing to do with protecting marriage, but everything to do with marginalizing members of our national community. The only people that can protect my marriage are me and my wife. It is up to us if our marriage is loving, successful, and protected. Not a law that denies certain citizens of our society the rights that we have as an “opposite marriage” couple. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is a flawed policy that needs to end. The sexual orientation of our men and women in uniform has nothing to do with their ability to perform the job they are trained to do. We are losing highly trained, highly specialized, and valuable human resources to fight terrorism all because of someone’s comfort level with sexuality. Straights, heterosexuals, get over it! It doesn’t affect your and its none of your business.

Just like the Republican Party of today, the Gay Community’s worst enemy is themselves. When the face of the GLBT movement are people like Perez Hilton, it hurts all the efforts of gays and straight allies to fight for equal rights and recognition. It takes away from effort to end failed policies like Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Trashing someone for their beliefs and the way they choose to live their lives is hypocritical when members of the Gay Community have been fighting the same criticism and marginalization. People like Perez Hilton need to get off their high horse and look in the mirror before they trash someone for their beliefs and opinions which are protected under the Constitution.

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