Twenty-five years ago while I was watching Donahue on TV, there was a group of gay men on the show, saying they wished they could get married. I laughed and made fun of them. In 1989, the question of gay marriage seemed inconceivable. Such an idea seemed to have come from outer space. Nothing like that would ever happen in America, I thought.
Nowadays, I respect the rights of LGBT people. Like most Americans, I've gradually come around to that view.
I remember in the '90s reading something in Newsweek about a Virginia judge taking a 3-year-old child away from a woman because she lived with a lesbian partner and giving custody to the little girl's grandmother. Today, being a parent, I look at such a gross violation of parental rights as horrific. I'm ashamed to admit this, but when I first read the article, I thought it was a good thing.
Now, it's obvious that gays are just as capable of being good parents as straight people. It doesn't matter if a kid has two parents of the same gender. All that matters is that the child is loved and cared for.
It's become increasingly easier for me to defend LGBT people over the years as I've seen prejudice, violence and hatred waged against them. It pains me to hear about gay and lesbian teens getting disowned by their parents and bullied mercilessly by their peers. The worst thing is the stories of kids taking their own lives.
I've been put off by the hostile anti-gay rhetoric coming from "family values" politicians and sanctimonious religious leaders over the years. When the people of my home state, Kansas, voted on a state constitutional ban on same sex marriage, I was one of the few to vote against it. I believe a constitutional amendment should expand freedom, not restrict it.
Now that state ban is standing on shakier constitutional ground every day. Right-wingers stubbornly defend legalized discrimination, but they've already lost the war. Same sex marriage is going to be legal in Kansas and all over the United States eventually. Ted Cruz and all these other gasbags railing against it are going to look stupid in 40 years.
They object to same sex marriage because they feel homosexuality is sinful in the eyes of God. They can believe that, they have freedom of religion. But that argument is legally invalid. For good historical reasons, we have separation of church and state in this country.
Yes, I once thought gay marriage was an outlandish concept. I've had to think about it since then, however, and today I'm able to see things from their perspective. If gays want to marry they should have that right.