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Make It Personal

Timothy Kincaid

May 16th, 2008

It’s far easier to deny rights to them than it is to you.

Them, those un-named faceless homosexuals out there in San Francisco, are foreign and strange and we don’t care what they want. But you, the person we know and love, well we don’t like disappointing you.

Today Ellen Degeneres made gay marriage personal. She announced that she and Portia de Rossi plan to marry. The response: a standing ovation.

Now some of her viewers may not really approve in the abstract of state sanctioned marriage between persons of the same sex, but how can you not be happy for Ellen?

We all have an audience. We all have people who want to be happy for us.

Take Dan Pinello and Lee Nissensohn. These guys aren’t celebrities. But they found a way to introduce themselves to their neighbors and become a face and a name in the marriage equality debate.

Dan and Lee were arrested for trespassing on April 28 when they refused to leave Oyster Bay Town Hall at closing time after officials politely rebuffed the couple’s request for a marriage license. And now when some New Yorkers think of gay marriage, they think of those two middle aged professionals with a weakness for stray cats.

You don’t have to announce your engagement on a popular talk show. You don’t have to get arrested or even speak to a newspaper. But your grocer and your autorepairman and your dentist all vote. For them you can give marriage equality your face and name.

Comments

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Shane
May 16th, 2008 | LINK

Good stuff! I completely agree with you. Every chance to speak up is a good chance, right? So long as you’re in a safe place, anyway.

Kim Ridley
May 16th, 2008 | LINK

This really works! Coming out is what will change the world.

Let me tell you a story.

I live in small town Kentucky. My partner and I (I guess she’s my fiance now. We are moving back to California in July and will be married Labor Day Weekend) hang out at a local bar. It’s redneck as hell – barfights, country karaoke, the whole deal. Everyone had always been nice to us and most people were aware we were a couple, certainly all of the people I would consider my friends. One day, a woman came into the bar, walked up to me and asked me if Kristen and I were a couple. (I’d gotten this question before, never had a negative response, and thought nothing of it). I said “yes”. She said “go home.”

Within minutes, the entire population of the bar was on their feet, forcing this woman to leave. It was Kristen and I that kept the whole thing from coming to blows, on our behalf. People I’d never really met were coming up to me and telling me that the woman had no right to say that to me. That we were welcome there. That her bigotry was not. I had people telling me that they had gay friends, gay cousins, gay brothers.

I’d never felt so accepted, so loved, in my life. Come out. Come out as a couple. It’s easy to hate faceless people. It’s hard to hate your friends.

Terrance
May 16th, 2008 | LINK

I remember watching the couples getting married in San Francisco. I felt a strange sense that I was witnessing something monumental, like when I watched the Berlin Wall come down on television.

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