On May 8th Amendment 1 was passed in North Carolina, making it the 30th state in the union to establish a ban on same-sex marriage in its state constitution. Same-sex marriage has already been illegal in NC for 16 years, but now legalization will require another vote to change the state constitution. This story is made all the worse by the declaration that this act of bigotry is a religious victory. Resident southerner, and 1st Five contributor, Zac Hobbs has put together the following thoughts on its passage.
I am not a very political person, nor am I very active in publicizing my beliefs. I have been straight edge my whole life, and a vegetarian for the past 7 years. Both of these facets of my existence have done incredible things for my life, and are ideologies that I hold to be very, very important to me personally. However, I don’t give a fuck what you think about them. Drink beer, eat meat, I don’t give a shit as long as you don’t force those things onto me.
My parents did a lot of things right when they were raising me, but I am proudest that they taught me to have strong beliefs without pushing them down other people throats. This is the issue with most people who are passionate about something – it becomes hard for the passionate to understand that the world does not always agree with them. I’ve personally found my balance: I know when arguing about animal rights is valid, and I know when to stop talking to a fucking brick wall. But this is an instance where I think we all need to shout as loudly as possible at that brick wall.
The issue with Amendment 1 is that it takes a very real thing – in this instance, the love between two people – and puts it in the hands of something that can’t be proven. Supporters of Amendment 1 claim that this is a victory for “Gods institution”; that this isn’t an anti-gay issue, but rather a pro-marriage discussion. This argument is, of course, ridiculous. If you don’t hate gay marriage, then why do you care? What difference does this make? Gay marriage has no impact on heterosexual existence, so what it comes down to is that if you are against it, it is just because you hate Gay people. And I would rather deal with a knowingly intolerant and homophobic bigot than an introverted, delusional and clueless idiot.
Before I go any further, I want to make two concessions: 1) I do not hate Christians or Christianity, and 2) the idea of “hate” is a very dangerous thing. I have always boiled down my core belief to this simple sentence: believe in whatever makes you happy, and as long as you aren’t harming yourself or anyone else, we’ll all be just fine. Hate can consume you and turn you into something just as vile as what your hate is focused at. Hate can destroy your life. But, having said that, I hate these people who insist on claiming marriage is something that can only exist between a man and a women. I hate that people have let their belief in an intangible dictate very concrete things. And I hate that their belief is causing harm to decent humans.
I hate these people because I have gay family members who have done more good for this planet than any bible-thumping soccer mom ever will. They still cannot wed their partner. I have gay friends whose marriage isn’t considered “legal” because a book, that also says I can own a goddamn slave or that a rapist can be forgiven if he marries the victim and pays off their father, says homosexuality is a sin. I hate them for sticking their nose in shit that has nothing to do with them. I hate that they get weirded out if they see two men or two women professing their love for each other. I hate that they have made this a continuing topic of discussion. I hate that this is something we actually have to discuss and fight to change. This is a no brainier, and the fact that 60 percent of the voters in North Carolina think marriage should be illegal unless it is between a man and a women makes me want to dive off a cliff. Lastly, I hate that I am now embarrassed to be from The South. In 27 years of living and growing up in Atlanta, I have always cherished and loved the culture of the South. But every year some ignorant, clueless, and unquestionably insecure bigots fuck that up for me.
This is not an issue about “marriage” or “God.” It is about civility and treating your fellow human with respect, decency, and kindness. So what if Adam and Steve want to get married? If Amendment One had failed, how would that have changed your life?
When I was taught about segregation as a kid all I could think was “why was this an issue?” This is a modern day case of segregation, one that attacks every race and gender. And someday my kids are going to read about it as ask “why was this an issue?” If you stand in opposition to gay marriage, just know that you are on the wrong, evil side of history. You support everything that is wrong with civility in general. In the near future, when we look back at this with shaking heads, all you will have left in your sorry empty soul is that hate you held on to for so goddamn long and the people you hurt to sate it.