I recently visited a friend of mine and he confided that he's been strongly considering moving because he's feeling less and less safe in his current neighborhood.
It was hard for me to believe this because he lives in a very nice suburb of St. Louis and -- other than a noisy teenager next door -- I'd never noticed anything suspicious during recent visits. After a little prompting he, revealed that his house had been vandalized and he fears the worst is yet to come.
My friend isn't a high school teacher, he doesn't have teenage children, he doesn't have any hideous lawn art that would point him out as an obvious target for vandals. My friend is gay; the vandalism against his home was clearly a hate crime directed at his lifestyle. I'm not going to disclose what it consisted of, because I wouldn't want any local hooligans to get any bright ideas.
With all the recent activity in the news about civil unions between same-sex partners, plus this criminal act committed against my friend, it really got me wondering: what's the big deal? What is it about gays, lesbians and bisexuals that sends people to a place of such hate and violence?
I'm not just asking rhetorically; I honestly would like to know, because I cannot figure this out. Is it a religious thing? I've always heard that we're to love the sinner, even if we hate the sin. Vandalizing the sinner doesn't seem very loving, in my humble opinion.
Is it a homophobic thing? Are you so afraid of letting others be themselves because you think it's contagious or that you might not hate it as much as you thought you should? How are you expecting same-sex marriages or civil unions to affect your life in any significant way?
The arguments against gay marriage span far and wide and I've heard them all ... at least I'm hoping that was all of them. I was talking to a guy last weekend and his argument was, "I don't have a problem with it, but its two guys. They just can't get married." Hmm ... well, thanks for your nonsensical and unique opinion, but you got me no closer to understanding this issue.
The argument that always makes me go "Huh?" is when people claim that allowing gays to marry will threaten the sanctity of marriage and unravel the very fabric of values upon which marriage was built. I've thought long and hard about this and I just cannot understand how anyone comes to that conclusion. Look around, it's not gays and lesbians that are threatening the sanctity of marriage. As a matter of fact it's all of us straight people that seem to have managed to screw that up royally. Britney Spears, Donald Trump and everyone on the show "Megan Wants a Millionaire." Need I say more?
Straight people get married for the wrong reasons every single day. We do it for money, green cards, boredom. If we weren't trashing marriage on a regular basis, mail-order brides and drive through chapels wouldn't exist. We end our marriages for many of the same wrong reasons. At some point, it seems like we just gave up. With annulments, divorce and pre-nups when the road gets rocky our first instinct is to bail rather than try harder. Of course, I know all marriages and even all divorces don't go this route, but it's clearly a growing trend and has been for some time.
In contrast, here is the gay portion of the population wanting to get married for the exact reason we all hope people will commit to one another; they love each other and want to make a life-long commitment to that love. I know it's a bizarre concept, but try to stay with me.
Would you vandalize the home of an adulterer? A porn addict? A polygamist? A five-time divorcee? These are the people that undermine your values, not gays and lesbians. If you are so concerned about the sanctity of marriage, maybe you should look around your inner circle of friends, or even look in the mirror.
If your marriage is so weak that the marriage of two other people that you may or may not even know is enough to tear it apart, then you have much bigger issues and you need to stop worrying about Bill and Steve from next door getting hitched and find a marriage counselor with 24-hour emergency services.
Are all marriages doomed? Of course not. I'm just cynical. I know there are plenty of truly happy married people out there that will stay that way for a long time. I have nothing but envy and hope for them.
My conclusion is that it's not those happily married people that are spending their time freaking out about how gays heading to the Little Chapel O' Love will unravel what they have built. Insecurity comes from somewhere and it's not gay marriage. It comes from your fear, hate and ignorance and it's truly unwarranted and ugly. If you are the Bible-quoting type, just for your personal reference it says "Love Thy Neighbor," not "Love Thy Neighbor Unless He's A Fag."
I'm not married and I don't plan to be until I'm sure it's a commitment I'm ready to make. I've seen it go wrong too many times and I don't want to go into it with lingering doubt or regret or the feeling in the back of my mind that if it doesn't work out I can end it with a quickie divorce. When I do get married, I plan to take it very seriously and it will be the home wrecker with the big fake boobs that makes me nervous, not the gay community. Everyone knows that marriage isn't easy and it shouldn't be, but it shouldn't be that easy to tear apart, either.
I know that when my gay and lesbian friends are allowed, to marry its not going to effect how I handle my relationships. But I do know that I'll have to adjust to it, if only because I'm going to have a lot more wedding gifts to buy.
No, the OnMilwaukee.com sex columnist's real name is not Sarah Foster. (Foster is the model/actress that played an ex-lover of Vincent Chase in the first season of "Entourage.") In reality, our sex columnist is a Wisconsin native with a degree in journalism and a knack for getting people to talk to her.
Sarah never considered herself an "above average" listener. Others, however, seem to think differently. Perhaps she has a sympathetic tone or expression that compels people to share their lives and secrets with her despite how little they know her. Everyone from the girl that does her hair to people in line at the grocery store routinely spill the details of their lives and relationships to Sarah, unprompted but typically not unwanted. It’s strange to her that people would do this, but she doesn’t mind. Sarah likes that she can give advice even if it is to complete strangers.
So why the pseudonym? Simple. People tell Sarah these things because for some reason they trust her. They believe she cares and therefore will keep their secrets in a locked vault the same way a best friend or therapist would. Sarah won't name names, but that vault is now unlocked.