A couple of days ago, I was really moved by this ad from Equality Maine. What a wonderful, positive, clear, truthful and simple message! Well done, Equality Maine! Thank you for finally putting a very real and human face on a very real and human issue.

After watching the ad, I thought back to the No On 8 movement here in California, which was in full swing about a year ago. All the effort, the millions of dollars spent, and the calculated messaging on both sides, led only to anger, misunderstanding, resentment and fear. Ironically, it wasn’t until the sad day that Prop 8 passed that the gay community really banded together as one. We joined each other in the streets as a community to march peacefully and let our voices be heard. We finally had the courage to abandon the careful fa├žade that focus groups and highly-paid PR firms asked us to adopt to avoid “scaring” conservative voters. We finally stood up and showed the world that we were real people with real lives, real loves, and real values.

During the fight against Prop 8 and in the days following its passing, I grew increasingly angry and saddened. What right did these people have to tell me how to live my life? I wasn’t making road trips to their communities and holding up signs, or trying to legislate their lives! I took everything personally. The proponents of Prop 8 told lies and half truths. Some of them even went so far as to go door to door and use the confusing Prop 8 language to mislead bewilders voters, who were actually against Prop 8, into voting in favor of it. Their fear mongering and anger seemed to know no bounds. Their Christian minds appeared to have made an unspoken deal with the devil that the end would justify the means.

I was horrified. After all, this was the 21st Century! I wanted those awful, disgusting people to be put in their place. I wanted them to be embarrassed and shunned by their communities. I wanted justice and retribution, and yet I saw none. The world seemed to quietly return to business as usual after we had been hung out to dry.

And now, I have a very different outlook. I realized something after watching the Equality Maine ad. I looked again at these angry, bigoted, fearful people screaming at the top of their lungs to protect “traditional marriage” in this country. They have, in reality, walled themselves into their own personal hell. They have become so limited and stunted by their fears and their contempt that I pity them. After all, they’ve decided to trade love for hate, tolerance for fear, and in their judgment of others, have reaped judgment unto themselves. What really have they gained?

The world is growing and changing constantly. We as human beings must grow and change along with it, or we will be left behind. Forget marriage being “redefined.” The world redefines itself every moment of every day. As citizens of the world, we are in a state of flux. There is only one constant in our lives, and that constant is Love. Marriage is simply about love. Two people wanting to declare their love for one another. Instead of looking at Marriage Equality as a redefinition of marriage for the few, why not look at it as a means of expanding a simple and profound blessing for the many?

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