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I can’t hate someone for what they believe

I read an article today about the gay marriage debate in the US, and Republican Senator Bill Frist’s comments about doing everything he can to prevent gay marriage.

I don’t personally have an opinion for or against gay marriage because, quite simply, it doesn’t impact me whether or not gay people are able to or not. And if I had to lean one way or another, it probably wouldn’t surprise you that I would favour whichever side makes for a generally happier world.

Problem is, there’s no way to quantify that. It’s a great thing to see two people in love joined in marriage or same-sex union or whatever you want to call it. And it’s a sad thing to see other people ashamed of or disturbed by that joining. It’s a great thing to see people who are happy because the world reflects their beliefs. And it’s a sad thing to see two people unable to be joined based on a law or an amendment.

I can’t hate Senator Frist or anyone else for believing that gay marriage is a bad thing, just as I can’t hate two gay people for wanting to be married. I can ask a question though.

Why does it matter? To Senator Frist or to the gay couples? Well, there are lots of reasons that they think it matters to them…and most of those reasons are entirely social in nature.

And mean nothing in the grand scheme of things.

In my preferred–and over-simplified–view of the world, people wouldn’t worry about the social acceptances and agreements that are law. A gay couple would recognize that they don’t need to be “married” to be happy together, and Senator Frist wouldn’t worry about things that really don’t affect him.

But that’s not reality, of course. People form opinions on the things that go on around them. And when things don’t match up, we want to say something about it.

There’s a person I’m not really fond of in one of the circles I travel in, and I often find myself getting frustrated with him/er. But I don’t show it–at least, I hope not. S/he has his/er own opinions, and I try to respect that. I fail somewhat…recently I found myself complaining when s/he was out of earshot…and I’m not proud of that behaviour.

As trying as s/he may be, s/he is entitled to his/er opinions. And if I choose to run in the same circle, then I’m choosing to live with it. Otherwise I should remove myself from his/er presence and not worry about it.

There’s a third option, too, which is to try to enlighten the person. But that only works when the person wants to listen.

And I suppose there’s a fourth option, which is to simply ignore the other person altogether. And if you think about it, that’s probably what Senator Frist is doing. He’s not trying to convert the masses to his beliefs…he’s just preaching to the converted.

There’s no good way to end this topic, so I think I’ll just arbitrarily end it here.

Russ

One Comment

  1. One small thing I’d like to add regarding gay couples and marriage is that, yes, while one may not need to be “married” to be happy together (I’m the least qualified to have made that statement, this weekend, I know ;)), there *is* the matter of legal protections and rights. Ceremony of marriage and social views aside, there are the rights given to different-sex spouses that in many places aren’t awarded to same-sex spouses. Many laws explicitly forbit spousal bonuses (pension, insurance, medical coverage, etc.) to same-sex couples. Ceremony of marriage aside, even civil unions are in danger in many places.

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