As someone who works for an advocacy organization, it never ceases to amaze me how strongly I still react when my rights and the rights of others are being attacked and debated by legislators (and/or voted on by the general public). Yes, some could say that I should develop a thicker skin. That's fine. However, I'm also human. It's not as though I spend every day the General Assembly is in session curled up in a ball crying in the corner. I often get angry at the hatred, ignorance, bigotry, and privilege that exists in our world. A lot of the time, especially after debates, I feel the need to take showers to wash off all of the horrible things that were said.
Obviously, this debate hit closer to home than some others, especially since our wedding (here in NC) is just five weeks away. I love Kate so incredibly much, and the idea that people find this objectionable enough to actively work to make our lives more challenging makes me absolutely sick.
Aside from that, there are a few other things that made me particularly depressed about yesterday's events (and that kept me up way too late writing this post):
- If I was this down about these actions, imagine how young LGBT kids who have just come out or are still in the closet must feel.
- It's pretty sad that we have to fight to keep something we already don't have from becoming even less accessible. Since same-sex marriage is already illegal in North Carolina, it's not as if we're working to gain access to marriage, just to keep this discrimination from becoming even more codified in our state.
- That, if the amendment passes the Senate (which could be as early as today), the fight is just beginning. This proposed amendment would then go on the ballot for a vote by the general public in May 2012.
Yet amid all this insanity, there is still reason to be hopeful. Equality NC has increased their Facebook fans by over 17,000 (and counting) since last Friday (!) with the help of Facebook co-founder and NC native Chris Hughes. People from all over the world are sending their love and support.
This speech from Rep. Marcus Brandon (as well as many others from other legislative opponents of the amendment), who is currently the only openly-LGBT member of the General Assembly, is also really fantastic.
And here's the main thing I have to keep reminding myself: these anti-gay legislators are running scared. They're part of a dying breed, a rapidly decreasing number of people who support state-sanctioned discrimination. They are using this amendment as a desperate attempt to drum up support from a base that cares less and less about this issue. People in our state have real problems, like unemployment and budget cuts, and they want to see their legislators focus on this instead of spending upwards of $150,000 to reconvene a special hate session.
Regardless of what happens with this amendment, they will go down as being on the wrong side of history. Even though the road to full equality for all LGBT people (which includes marriage equality) may be long and rocky, I firmly believe that we'll make it there. I believe in my heart of hearts that Kate's and my future children will be genuinely shocked to learn that we weren't always treated the same as everyone else because of our sexual orientation.
And in the meantime? We have to keep our chins up and keep on fighting like our rights depend on it. Because they do.