On Friday I posted about the conversations that can start from things like changing a profile picture and how those conversations are what I believe will have a real impact on our journey to marriage equality. I mentioned that I’d recently had some success with that kind of conversation and today, with that person’s permission, I’d like to share an edited version of the message they sent me last week.
This person is a close family friend, so they know my brother well and my mom had some more direct conversations with them shortly after Proposition 8 passed in 2008.
Their words are bolded, I’ve added my own commentary.
I wrote this to Jeff and just wanted to pass this along to you so you know where I stand. Jeff is my gay brother who has been out since he was in middle school. Please don’t share on facebook or twitter but read below: Like I said, I got permission. While I wish that this was something this person was comfortable shouting from the rooftops, I understand why they are not and I actually believe that as their understanding grows, they may change their comfort level with that.
If prop 8 came back… I would vote for gay marriage. I read this in bed on Wednesday morning and this is how early on I started tearing up.
I want to tell you that I never have, and never will think less of you or different of you because you are gay. I don’t think it is a choice if you are truly gay. This was slight news to me, though I wasn’t 100% sure of it before. I want you to know I love you just the way you are and want you and Michael to be happy and I think you guys are great together. That part I did know, this person has an amazing capacity to love. (Also, Michael is my brother’s fiance.)
Here are some things that I have concluded when looking very very closely at this. Marriage is marriage no matter who you Marry. From a Christian stand point I think Jesus would not keep you from Marrying either. If I want to get married under God then that is my right because I am exercising my religious freedom by getting married under God. Just because someone does not believe that same thing doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get married… I get this now. More tears I am glad I actually looked at this intensely at what I believe because most Christians really do think that they should vote against it, and it’s because they really aren’t looking at the whole, they are looking out of context. This is pretty similar to how I feel, in that I don’t think people are removing their faith from other people’s lives.
OK regardless of all that stuff… I just wanted you to know how I got to my change of heart. BUT even before I got to this point I NEVER EVER thought less of you or bad on you or anything negative. I have always loved you. I think this is an important part. This person really never has treated my brother any differently and it’s important to remember that even when someone is against gay marriage, they shouldn’t be flat out treated like someone who hates all gay people.
I am not posting anything about gay marriage or equality stuff because I don’t want to be lumped in to any group… I got lumped into the H8 group when I NEVER EVER hated anyone and I don’t want people to lump me into any stereo type period… This is true, while I believe that denying people the right to marry has an inherent aspect of hate in it, I do think that to be open in conversation we have to remember that it may nor really be quite that, even if I don’t know how to explain it. I think my reasons can be very different from other people so I am just staying out of all this social media potential arguments, if people ask I am an open book but not on social networking. Knowing this person and the people that surround them, I understand that engaging in conversations on social media would not really be productive, and I totally respect that. What matters more is what they would do on the ballot anyway, and I know that if someone were to ask them about it specifically, this person would discuss it openly. I did think I should tell you because it is important to me that you know, because I think you deserve it.
I really hope everything came out like I wanted it to.
I think it came out like they wanted it to. This was a beautiful start to my day and it not only encourages me to keep having open conversations, but also be more careful about those conversations. I had been very harsh with this person 4 years ago and while I think being honest about my views helped this person come to their new view, I think it could probably have been an easier transition for both of us if I had been more accepting myself. I also know that this person had a lot more in their life about marriage equality than just my opinion, which is why an open conversation would have been better than anger.
When someone is being told that they are wrong, it is in most people’s nature to get defensive and I should have kept that in mind earlier on. Had I to do it over again, this person has taught me that I would probably go about it differently. I hope that everyone else who is encountering people like this friend are having these conversations and I hope that you’re having them in effective ways. I’m very proud of this person for not only examining their beliefs, but also admitting when they’ve realized that they were wrong before.
I am extremely proud to call this person my sister in law.