Sunday, November 16, 2008

Again, we should know better

I've grown weary of arguing with those who can't or won't recognize the issue of gay marriage as a matter of civil rights. Mostly because, as I've stated before, we all should know better.

But I'm going to get off my soap box and let Andrew Sullivan take over for the moment in the wake of protests by thousands of gays and lesbians around the country Saturday. I think, more than anything, change will come when people start listening to their better angels:

I remember a story told me during the AIDS epidemic. A man was visiting a friend dying in hospital. It was a grim scene, as it often was in those days. The next bed in the ward had a curtain drawn around it. And from behind that curtain, you could hear someone quietly singing. The man told his friend, "Well, at least that dude is keeping his spirits up, however sick he is." And the friend replied:

"Oh, that's not the patient singing. He died this morning. And his family came to collect the body. That voice you hear is the man's partner. The family didn't approve of his relationship and they have barred him from coming to the funeral and kicked him out of their shared home. That song he's singing is the song they called their own. It was playing when they met. He used to sing it to him all the time when he was dying."

"He's still singing it even though they've taken the body away. He's singing it to an empty bed. I guess it's the last time he feels he'll ever be close to the man he loved. They were together twenty years. The hospital staff don't have the heart to ask him to leave yet."

Until you have been treated as sub-human, it's hard to appreciate how it feels.

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