Dear Tell All: I was so happy after the recent Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage. Good riddance to the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Hello, federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples. Of course, as a gay man in Wisconsin, I still can't marry my longtime partner here, given our odious constitutional amendment.
Plus, I got depressed seeing the extreme reaction of same-sex marriage opponents to the Supreme Court ruling. I guess I naively thought they might do what a lot of racists did after civil rights laws passed in the mid-1960s: grumble to themselves in private, while realizing that the age of legal discrimination had passed. Soon after, no public figures could continue openly calling for discriminatory laws against African American citizens. If they did, they'd be booted out of polite society.
Not so with the anti-gay bigots. They are vowing to redouble their efforts to fight same-sex marriage. House Speaker John Boehner expressed his fervent wish that more states would pass laws discriminating against gay people.
My question, Tell All, is: Why? When most people passionately take up a cause, it's because it will offer some benefit to them or to society. But there is no benefit, that I can see, for straight people to keep opposing same-sex marriage. As far as I can tell, they simply want to deny happiness to others. What a way to spend your energy! What a way to spend your life!
Will attitudes toward gay people ever change in this country, the way they have toward African Americans?
Bitter and Sweet
Dear B&S: What do you mean "will attitudes toward gay people ever change in this country"? As the Supreme Court just proved, they already have! And the reason is that LGBT folks like you have insisted on living out and proud, showing the straight world that they're human, just like everyone else.
I trust you will keep doing so. And your efforts are sure to have an effect. One day soon, the John Boehners of the world will be reduced to grumbling their intolerance in private, rather than shouting it at the top of their lungs.
Do you have a question about life or love in Madison? Write Tell All, 101 King St., Madison, WI 53703. Or email email@example.com.