The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down part of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA as it is commonly called, was both celebrated—and mourned—across America.
As a gay man, you should know that I was firmly on the side of celebration. But, today’s not about my making a case for gay rights or arguing where we go from here.
Today is about how we go from here. About suggesting that, as we go forward, whatever side we are on, we remember this: We all come from the same place. And, therefore, we all are the same.
So, if you are gay, as I am, please stop tweeting and status updating that our opponents are “haters.”
Disagreement does not equal hate. It equals, well, disagreement.
And, to those who stand on the other side of the debate, please stop using the Bible to tell me I’m immoral. Because isn’t that the same Bible that says we’re not supposed to eat shellfish? Oops dat.
I’m not saying we have to all be besties or avoid poking fun at each other.
Why, just the other day I was commenting that Antonin Scalia must be Grumpy Cat’s twin. And Nancy Pelosi? Don’t even get me started.
But let’s keep it civil, these discussions for civil rights.
Let’s remember that it was Nelson Mandela who said, “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy.” This from a man who was jailed for 27 years. By his enemy.
What Mandela’s words teach is that people change.
That’s a lesson I learned from my father.
Dad was a tough guy from a little Texas town. A boxer. He used words that would make Paula Deen blush.
Knowing this, I never told Dad I was gay. And I certainly never told him I was married. To a man. I’d just slide my wedding ring into my pocket whenever he and I got together.
Until one day in 2008.
I was in Dallas and went to see Dad for lunch.
Parking the car, I was suddenly overcome by a feeling of righteous pride.
“I’m keeping my ring on today,” I told myself.
And I did. But Dad never saw it.
That’s because, I spent the entire lunch hiding my ring…and my life…from my father’s eyes. So much for righteous pride.
When lunch was over, Dad stopped me.
Glancing down at my hidden hand, he said, “You know, I’d like to meet your special friend one day. Do you ever bring him to Dallas?”
I’m not sure what I said, but I know it wasn’t coherent. I also know that was the last time I saw my father
Seven months later, Dad was dead.
He died without meeting my husband.
Not because of his narrow-mindedness. But because of mine.
Brett Will Taylor is a southern Shaman who writes Love NOLA weekly for NolaVie. Visit his site at ashamansjourney.net, follow him @bwtshaman or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.