I know someday when I have grandchildren, they will say, "What do you mean it was against the law?" They will say that about gay marriage. And I will be happy to have seen it come to pass. I know too, there will be those who will hate it even a hundred years from now just as some still hate interracial marriages, or marriages that cross faiths, or marriages that interconnect classes of different people. There will always be hatred. However, hatred does not stop love. I am thankful for that.
I was told once to not write about things that incite people, that this, as a writer, was a quick way to become hated and would set me up for negative feedback. Don't write about religion or politics or sex because this gets people all crazy. Yet, I find my own life, that I write snips and pieces of, tends to bring about the same things sometimes so what does it matter anyway? So hate me and disagree with me because it will not stop me from loving anyway or believing that love still conquers all.
I have seen a few dear old friends taking that big plunge to get married now that it is legal in some of our states. It makes me teary eyed with joy and yet it makes others blinded with rage. Why? Why does two people loving each other hurt anyone else? I don't understand it. I probably will never understand it. I don't know how it can possibly be justified enough for me to even want to understand why some people get so angry about loving.
I had a recent occasion to experience some of the intolerance in the world first hand. Though I am heterosexual, all of this hatred does affect me to witness it. I was at a local department store, ready to check out when a look of utter disgust crossed the cashier's face. I asked, "What's wrong? What happened?"
She starts to shake her head saying, "That is just disgusting. I mean two women holding hands like that." I was silent. I think my silence made her think I was in agreement. "I just don't understand it," she continued. "I mean I don't have anything against gays but not in public. There are children here. Do you want your children to see that. Doesn't it bother you?"
I was stunned. Stunned that someone could be so vocally voicing their hatred. I am not quick to confront anyone, but this, this I could not stay silent about, "It bothers me for my children to see people being mean to each other. Two people loving each other? No, it doesn't bother me a bit for my children to see that." And I walked out even though I wanted to say so much more.
It bothered me a lot. Eventually I wrote the company. I explained that I didn't want to see anyone lose their job, who knows, the woman may have kids to support or old parents. I explained that I believe people have the right to their own opinion and to believe what they want. I just don't think we have the right to hurt people with our opinions or our expressions of hatred. I just wanted someone to tell her to keep those thoughts to herself and not spew them at me. Do I think she will change her mind about this issue? Probably not. Maybe she will at least think about hurt she may cause. Maybe she will simply stop a moment and think period.
There will always be mean people in this world. Here in America, we are as free to be awful to each other as we are free to be kind. We are free to be silent. I will not be silent even if it isn't my personal journey I am facing. The voice I am using is not filled with disgust or meanness or cruelty.
I look forward to that day coming down the road here when people stop calling love abnormal or disgusting and just call it what it is...love. I will be happy for my future grandchildren to know that change in the world.
Monika M. Basile