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Heart & Soul: What’s the big deal about marriage equality?

For those of us in the LGBT community, we live in pretty amazing times.

Twelve states in the United States give same-gender couples the freedom to marry, with that number seeming to increase every day.

Thankfully, my then partner of 23 years and I were able to marry, and did so, during the short period of time in 2008 when it was legal in California. As we know, we are waiting to hear the decision from the U. S. Supreme Court as to the immediate future of same-sex marriage in California.

It seems that just about everyone has an opinion about whether same-sex marriage should be legal. For those of us in the LGBT community, this is big stuff. It has to do with constitutional rights, including equal protection under the law. Inheritance, medical situations, income tax filing and a long list of other day-to-day life experiences are affected.

But I was wondering: Why is this such a big deal to the people against marriage equality? The Religious Right seems to automatically condemn anything that has anything to do with homosexuality, although according to the Old Testament, Ruth and Naomi, and Jonathan and David, could very well have marched down the aisle if given the chance. (See my column from May 7, 2013.) But even people who aren’t especially religious have trouble with this.

My ability to marry my same-gender partner has absolutely no affect on the neighbor next door or across the street. So why all the hue and cry?

To quote Captain James T. Kirk (played by William Shatner), at the end of the movie “Star Trek VI,” speaking to the assassinated Klingon ambassador’s daughter: “People can be very frightened of change.”

Change means that things will be different.

You might have experienced it in your life. A job that you don’t like, or even hate, but you stay there because, to quote a friend of mine: “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.” Or staying in a relationship that doesn’t work and hasn’t for some time — it’s bad enough to make you unhappy, but not so bad that you are forced to leave.

We as a country no doubt went through this in 1920, when women were given the right to vote; in 1964, when the Civil Rights Act was passed and legal segregation was abolished; and in 1967, when interracial marriage became legal.

You probably remember the debate just a couple of years ago over eliminating “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the armed forces. What happened when this discriminatory and nonsensical practice went away? Pretty much nothing. Gravity still works. The military still does what the military does. Life somehow goes on.

Sometimes it takes a crowbar to pry people’s minds open to thoughts of new possibilities. “It’s always been this way,” so even if this way doesn’t make sense any more, people often resist change just because it is change.

I am absolutely convinced that this will happen for us. Some day our grandchildren will be sitting around a table talking, and will be amazed that there ever was a time in this country when same-sex marriage was not legal in every state.

The challenge for us is to be patient. Be understanding. But also stand in our truth. We’ll get there.

Take care of yourself.

Saturday workshop

If you are in San Diego this weekend, please join me at 1 pm Saturday, May 25 at Controversial Bookstore, 3021 University Ave. in North Park, for my workshop titled, “It’s My Story, And It’s Sticking To Me.”

To read more about the workshop, click HERE.

The Rev. Jerry Troyer, a native of San Diego, is the senior minister of Joyful Living Church, a non-denominational New Thought spiritual community. He is the author of the new book, “Coming Out To Ourselves … Admitting, Accepting And Embracing Who We Truly Are. Troyer and his husband, also named Jerry, live in the San Diego area with their golden retriever Roxie. Visit his website HERE.