The Washington Times-Herald

May 19, 2012

It's a personal issue - not political

By Nate Smith
Washington Times-Herald

WASHINGTON — Last week’s announcement by President Barack Obama about supporting gay marriage has stirred the minds of everyone this week (including Mr. Thomas with his column.)

Unlike Thomas with his biblical reasons against gay marriage, my thoughts are more personal.

Before last week when someone asked me about gay marriage I always jokingly gave the answer “Well, everyone has the right to be unhappy.”

But since Obama’s interview with Robin Roberts last week, I have seriously thought about the subject and whether I really support it or just be glib.

I start thinking about the gay men and lesbians that I know. Like one of my wife’s best friends and the godfather to one of my sons. One of my ex-girlfriends who raises her children with her girlfiend. One of my best friends from college. The people I have met in our community and work with regularly.

And then I look at history. My mind goes back to the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. I wasn’t there, I was born in 1978, but I often wonder what I would do if I lived during that time. If I lived in Birmingham, Ala. or elsewhere in the Old South during that time.

I would like to think then I would be supporting equal rights. If I lived in the early to mid-1970s, I would think that I would have supported equal rights for women.

The issue of gay rights is likely to be the equality issue of my generation. And like my parents and generations before me, I have to make a decision of acceptance.

I often go to the denial scenario. I can choose to either support gay rights, or stand in front of another person, one that may be my friend, that I know and say “No. You can’t marry.”

I can’t, and I won’t.

Unlike Mr. Thomas on this page, I have no political reason to deny gay marriage because I have the delusional belief that “my” candidate might benefit from what Obama decided.

So that is where my support from gay marriage comes from. It does not come from forcing my beliefs on others. Although I agree with Obama a lot more than Romney, my decision doesn’t come from compromise, nor from politics.

It doesn’t come from a belief that marriage is sacred. For me, gay marriage is not a religious argument. Supporting gay marriage, in my mind, does not mean forcing churches to officiate gay marriages. It just means the same rights that some states want to deny because they are forcing beliefs onto others. This is my decision and others will come to their own decisions on their own time.

My decision to support gay marriage comes from the people I know and what is right and equal. Nothing more, nothing less.

That and everyone deserves the right to be unhappy, er, happy. You know what I mean.

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Nate Smith can be found on Twitter at natebsmith. His email is nsmith@washtimesherald.com.