By: Amy Wise
As you all know by now, I am not shy about voicing my opinions and beliefs. I have never had a problem speaking up or speaking out about things I feel strongly about. In fact, when I was younger, that “attribute” got me in a bit of trouble throughout the years! I always felt that it was more important to speak up about what you believe in than to worry about getting in trouble. Needless to say, I was in trouble a lot! Just ask my parents.
Recently, I had conversations with different family members that left each one of us at opposite ends of the “opinion spectrum”. Ironically, both conversations had to do with gay marriage. I don’t even remember how the topic came up, but I do remember, very clearly, how each of us felt about the subject. It was prop 8 all over again, but this time in my house.
The first conversation was interesting because the family member I was talking to felt that gay rights should cover everything but marriage. I didn’t get it. Why everything but? I used the example of my marriage being against the law back in the 60’s and asked how they would feel if Jamie and I could not legally be married today. They said that was totally different. I said no it wasn’t. They said yes it was. Back and forth we went. I said it was about the right to marry. They said marriage is between a man and a woman. Interracial marriage, gay marriage…rights are rights as far as I’m concerned. As this banter went on, I could see that neither of us was EVER going to change the other’s mind, so I finally said, “Look, I love you, I totally disagree with you, and clearly we are just going to have to agree to disagree.”
Then came conversation Number Two. This time with a different family member. Once again the topic of gay marriage came up. Go figure. We were discussing current events on the news and one of the stories was about gay marriage. This conversation wasn’t so much of a back and forth, but more of a there is no way in hell you are ever going to change my mind kind of conversation. The exact words from this family member were, “I hope they realize they are not going to heaven.” Okay, are your eyes popping out of your head yet? Mine sure were! I said, “Do you seriously believe that!?” The answer was a very, very strong yes! I couldn’t believe it. Tensions were rising, and at this point even my daughter was getting uncomfortable. She is about as open-minded as they come and she was visibly upset that someone could feel this way about someone else’s right to marry. She finally said, “Can we not talk about this right now!” We were all “enjoying” a family meal and the mood had quickly gone south. Straight to hell, apparently.
Opinions shrouded in religion drive me nuts. “Gay people aren’t going to heaven?” Really? Who decided that? Ohhhh religion…why do you have to be so mean? Against my norm we changed the subject and moved on. Mind you, I’m not done…I will talk to this relative again and ask them if they really believe that gay people are “banned” from heaven. I will ask them if they really believe God is that mean. I know He’s not, and it breaks my heart that people are being taught this in the very churches that are supposed to teach love. I don’t get it.
So in the end, I will love my “opposite opinioned” relatives with all my heart. I will agree to disagree. For now.