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Thank You, Mr. President

I realize that this video has been EVERYWHERE today and that the horse is bloody and beaten, but I have a vision in my mind of Alexis discovering it in ten or twenty years and asking me about it.

"Mom," she'll say. "Why was this a big deal?"

"That's a very long story," will be my reply.

And I'll be glad for the conversation that will follow because it will give me a chance to point out that intolerance (I hate that word, but it's the best one I can come up with at the moment) can be stamped out. Alexis and I will talk about how mankind has historically declared things that were different to be wrong, and how it's important for her to learn from our mistakes. Different isn't wrong. It's different.

We need to accept one another. We need to practice kindness. And we certainly can't attack people who see the world differently than we do.

In the hours following the release of President Obama's statement, I watched as opinions on Twitter evolved. Pride and relief gave way to doubt and suspicion. Accusations that Obama was "flip-flopping" started to fly, comments about how it was "too little too late" were made . . . and then those who disagree with President Obama gained the courage to start attacking.

And then those who agree with President Obama attacked back.

Nothing is accomplished by saying the person who disagrees with you is a horrible human being or a sinner or stupid. Attacking and name-calling isn't intelligent discussion. It only forces people to dig in their heels as they refuse to hear your argument. I've been guilty of it in the past, but I realize now that if I want someone to really hear me, I have to stop being a jerk as I present the facts.

The facts, as I see them, are as simple as this: love is love. If two people want to celebrate their love by making a lifelong commitment, it should be their decision to make. My life will change in no way when  same-sex marriage becomes a norm. There may be benefits that come about, but there most certainly will be no harm.

My marriage will mean just as much then as it does now.

If you disagree with me, I'll ask you to substantiate your opinion. If you quote a book in your reasoning, I'll ask if you've really read that book. Perhaps you should to read it again? Because, you know, you can't pick and choose which lines to live by.

I will ask you if you think it's OK to stone a woman to death for sleeping with a man (Deuteronomy 22:23-24).

I will ask you if you think it's OK for a man to sleep with his brother's wife (Genesis 38:8-10).

I will absolutely ask you if children who curse their mother or father should die (Leviticus 20:9).

As I tell you that the book I read was about love and forgiveness and hope, I will make sure I don't call you any names. I will expect that you return the kindness and speak respectfully as you try to explain your side. I hope you will give very serious thought to the statement that different isn't wrong. It's different.


"Yes, Alexis, there was a time when we as a population treated people as lesser human beings because of who they loved. Yes, Alexis, it is just as embarrassing as the fact that we once treated people as lesser human beings because of their color of their skin. But...look how very far we've come."

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Reader Comments (21)

I've just been a weepy mess about it all afternoon. You didn't help.

I hope to have the same conversations with my sons some day.

May 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFireMom

Bravo and well said! I use only one comeback when bigotry rears its ugly head around me: How does it personally affect or hurt you? So far, no one has a good answer.

May 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKristen

Bravo, Alexis should be so proud to have you for her mom! I loved reading this post. My only thing that I didn't like was the fact that you wrote it and not me. You nailed it!

May 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLA Weiss


May 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelinda

Very well done!

I'm looking forward to living in the time when you and Alexis have that conversation. Those will be refreshing times.

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBetsy

Ironically, prior to the president's announcement, I had a friend on twitter DM me about why he felt marriage should be defined as being between a man and woman only. That defining it as "two people" would allow pedofiles to legally marry their victims. I thought my head would EXPLODE. I'm proud to say that neither one of us resorted to name calling. I just broke my argument down to legalities. 1- it's not legal for people under 18 to get married (that actually veriest by state, but no state allows 8 year olds to get married. 2 - marriage is basically a contract between two people. Minors can't legally enter into a contract. 3 - minors can't give consent. So even if an offender got his/her VICTIM to the alter, the minute he/she tried know...jail time. Basically there are safe guards against that. I didn't change his mind. But, there was no name calling, no swearing, and no exploding of any heads. I honestly wish he hadn't decided to keep that conversation private. Other people could've learned how to disagree without fighting.

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa J.

Well said with poise and dignity. I couldn't agree with you more. Thank you for saying this where so many will see it!

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJill M

One of my favorite food bloggers, who is gay, wrote a lovely post in defense of his upcoming marriage (link below). I thought it was eloquent and really nailed all arguments against it. Now, my favorite thing to say when people make the argument to "put it to a vote" is to point out that in virtually all cases, if that had happened historically, that person wouldn't be allowed to vote themselves, as they are a woman, a non-Caucasian, or not a landowner. Also, The Bachelor, the Kardashians, etc., do far more to damage the concept of marriage than allowing 2 people of the same sex to marry. Bravo on the post, nicely written.

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle B

I am going to point my blog to this post because you said what I could never get out on paper so eloquently and it's spot on. Thank you!!! Different isn't Wrong, it's just it.

xoxo - esb

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteremilie

No real comment, but just wanted to show my agreement and support. I have lots of close loved ones these issues directly affect (uncle/cousin/cousin/great aunt). I love them and the people they choose to love so much.

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEmile

Well said!

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSusie

Well said. I love the phrase "Different isn't wrong, it's just different". How wonderful would the world be if we all lived by that phrase.

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMary

Yes. YES. I will respect those with differing opinions as long as they respect mine. And even if they don't, I will still respect their differing opinions, I'll just be nicer than they are. ;)

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKatie in MA

I agree with everything you said, and I was inspired to write a post on my blog as well. I quoted what you said about how love is love - no matter who is loving whom, because I couldn't have said that better. I am so proud of our President right now, and it feels amazing to have hope that we are on our way to a better world.

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRachael

So, when my daughter was about Alexis' age, there was a story on NPR about protests at a small-town school board (in Georgia, maybe) because some students had formed an LGBT support club. I guess I was making angry noises, because she asked what the story was about. I told her that some people believe that being gay (I had already explained to her what that meant) was a sin, and it would make God mad. Her answer? "Mommy, God doesn't care who you fall in love with. God loves everyone the same."

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJosette

Perfectly well said.

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSourire11

I couldn't have said it better myself. Awesome!

May 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

love is love.

May 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterhello haha narf

The time for judging and making up OUR minds as to who people should love needs to be OVER. I just love how you worded this and got your point across so beautifully. I almost started to cry. Thank you.

May 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterElaine

Simply awesome. I agree with everything you hav written here. I was a big, weepy mess too.

May 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

My Sweetie and I have had this conversation several times over the past 10 years...and of course, lately, we are discussing it more. Yesterday, he finally said, "This is one of those things that you just feel more strongly about. I believe what I believe, and that's different from what you believe, but it just doesn't mean that much to me." (His feelings about homosexuals is largely based on an experience he had years before I met him during which he was repeatedly propositioned, repeatedly said no, and the guy just wouldn't leave him alone.) I explained to him that his being "free white and over 21" meant that he had never had to fight to be treated fairly, or with respect. He's never been discriminated against because of something he couldn't change, even if he wanted to.

Shortly after that, I read this. And then I read it to him. I could see him FINALLY starting to understand WHY is really is "a big deal."

You've said it wonderfully.

May 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermumple
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