Letter to the Editor: Legislators validate bigotry

Editor:

I am writing in response to the ongoing discussion regarding the legalization of same-sex marriages. There are already laws on the books in Utah to prohibit recognition of same-sex marriages. Legislators recently voted to put on the ballot at the next election a constitutional amendment defining marriage as only between “a man and a woman.” This was so that judges who believe in equal rights for everyone cannot overturn this discriminatory law. Thinking that minority rights should be an issue of majority vote is a shameful part of our history. Like women and blacks did in the past, I had to accept that we (gays) are not thought of as citizens worthy of the same rights as others. Utah has a history of people fighting for the right to believe and live their lives differently from others in the country.

We should have learned by now that bringing up our children with prejudices hurts everyone. Legislators have validated the discrimination that makes people feel justified in gay-bashing, both physically and verbally. This attitude contributes to internalized homophobia, damaged self-esteem and in too many cases, suicide. For me, it cost me greatly because I did not see my own four sons for more than 20 years.

I get so tired of the attitude that falling in love with someone of the same sex is a choice or a decision. This is as ludicrous as assuming that you chose whether to like liver or not. Many homosexuals have tried everything to change, but eventually cannot deny who they actually are or what they really feel. Obviously, society’s disdain and intolerance for same-sex attraction has not made homosexuality go away. Will you go to hell if you accept gay people as they are and attribute them some degree of dignity, respectability and pride?

If we are not going to be thought of as valid citizens, then at least consider the effects that these policies have on many non-gay people. The unique culture and attitudes in Utah may be why there appears to be more homosexuals who marry and live dual lives. Many married gays have secret same-sex partners or anonymous sexual encounters. Their spouses are unaware or suspect and live in denial. These spouses are at risk for many reasons. Utah’s anti-gay attitude creates a destructive subculture of lies and deceit. Many marriages end because a gay husband or wife eventually cannot live the lie any longer. Spouses are devastated, children are confused and hurt and family members of the spouses are enraged while watching the fallout of these breakups.

Many of these marriages come about because gay people just want to be socially acceptable, respected and have the same 1,049 rights that come automatically with marriage. Many of these disasters can be avoided if we embrace the natural affection that is felt, support others in their choice of partners and celebrate their happiness. Gays do not want to take anything away from “traditional marriage,” we just want the same civil rights. Giving same-sex couples a viable, socially sanctioned option could save a lot of harm to bystanders. Why not allow us to live honestly and with dignity? Why does that feel like a threat to a male-female marriage? Those will end in divorce more than half the time, anyway.

Bill Blevins

Staff, Marriott Library