OpEd: My Kids, Bill O’Reily, George Clooney, and Bill Maher All have something in Common
By Julie Harthill Clayton
My 16-year-old son recently asked, out of the blue, whether I thought people were either entirely straight or entirely gay. I told him that I thought that human sexuality and identity were on a continuum; some people fall squarely at each end, others fall all along that continuum. He seemed satisfied.
But I wasn’t satisfied. I‘d been keeping a secret from them—and friends and family—for years. Only my partner, a bisexual man, knew the real me. So at 43, I came out as bisexual to both my children. Shortly thereafter, I came out to close family and friends (only three unfriended me on Facebook). I didn’t want to hide my own identity. Especially not from my children who’ve grown up in a much more open and tolerant society. They accepted mom being bisexual as effortlessly as accepting that we were having steak for dinner. Just as effortlessly as they accept that legalizing gay marriage may soon become reality as two cases are heard before the United States Supreme Court this week.
People are coming out of the woodwork to support every American’s right to love—and marry—whom they choose. You can’t get on Facebook without noticing the thousands who’ve changed their profile pictures to a red equal sign symbolizing the marriage equality movement. Actor George Clooney said “At some point in our lifetime, gay marriage won’t be an issue, and everyone who stood against this civil right will look as outdated as George Wallace standing on the school steps keeping James Hood from entering the University of Alabama because he was black.”
Even conservative talk show host Bill O’Reilly, who has opposed marriage equality in the past, has adjusted his tune, stating on his show on Tuesday, “The compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals … ‘We’re Americans, we just want to be treated like everybody else. That’s a compelling argument, and to deny that you’ve got to have a very strong argument on the other side. And the other side hasn’t been able to do anything but thump the Bible.”
Bill Maher didn’t mince words, ““New Rule: Gay marriage won’t lead to dog marriage. It is not a slippery slope to rampant inter-species coupling. When women got the right to vote, it didn’t lead to hamsters voting. No court has extended the equal protection clause to salmon. And for the record, all marriages are “same sex” marriages. You get married, and every night, it’s the same sex.”
All kidding aside, Bill Maher’s point seems to be that the arguments against gay marriage are irrational, absurd, and dated.
On NPR, Jenna Chavez, a member of an evangelical church in El Paso, Texas, said: “[Marriage has] been defined…for thousands of years…I don’t think a court should determine what it is if God’s already determined it. I do think it’s bizarre. To me, it’s almost like what is this world coming to?”
Ms. Chavez, your views are archaic. What this world is coming to, is a kinder, gentler, dare I say more “Christian” world. I have a degree in Religious Studies, and I don’t remember ever reading in the bible, in any translation, “Love thy neighbor, except if they are gay, queer, lesbian…” And, for the record, the cases before the Supreme Court are about legal rights, not religious faith. Your argument just doesn’t hold up.
This is an historic moment for America. And it is a deeply moving, and humbling time for me to witness it. I’m sad that Thea isn’t here to revel in this turning tide with Edie. But Thea, your spirit breathes life and hope to all those who are fighting the good fight against prejudice, hatred, and discrimination. All people should have the right to be as happily in love as you and Edie were for more than forty years.
We won’t know for a while how the Supreme Court will rule on these historic cases. I’m hopeful, though. In the meantime, I am proud to be bisexual, proud to support marriage equality, and proud to be American.
New Study: large majority of Americans support LGBTQ nondiscrimination laws, oppose ‘bathroom bills’
Support for LGBT rights and religious inclusion has expanded drastically over the past decadeAugust 26, 2016
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