I have a secret to tell you.
I am not gay (not that there's anything wrong with that).
But I have been a gay activist for over 4 years now. I have fought for complete equality for all Americans because I believe in decency and fairness and most of all, love.
My quest began when I started working on passing an effective hate crimes law here in Utah that covered sexual orientation. It didn't pass that year (2003) but I did sit on a panel with a former ACLU attorney and a prominent professor of Sociology to discuss said hate crimes bill. After that, I went on to stop the unnecessary and discriminatory gay marriage constitutional amendment in Utah. Sadly, it passed.
I then got involved in many GLBT organizations and affectionately became known as "the straight single mom" in gay circles. I even applied for a couple of jobs at the local GLBT Center. Four boards and four years later, I am still fighting the fight.
I really do *heart* gay people. I believe that people should be allowed to marry whomever they choose--no matter their gender. I believe that no one should be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. I believe that gay people do not choose to be gay but do choose the person they want to spend the rest of their lives with. I believe (much to the sadness this would bring me) that gays should be allowed to serve in the military (if they choose) with no repercussions. (I still do not believe in war, just for the record).
And today, it seems as though more and more Americans are agreeing with me.
According to a recent Gallup poll, 59% of Americans believe that homosexual relations between consenting adults should be legal. This percentage has fluctuated over the years. Before July 2003, this belief reached its peak at 60% since 1977. For the first time since that July (aka the infamous SCOTUS ruling on sodomy), it is now back up near 60%. This is awesome!
Since the beginning, I have said that the gay rights equality movement is the next civil rights movement. The fight is just getting warmed up too. Women did not get the right to vote overnight. Blacks were not considered full citizens and granted true equality for over 100 years. Gays, with their dominant presence everywhere, have no where to go but up. And up they'll go quite quickly.
The one sad part of the poll shows that 53% of Americans believe that gay marriage should not be valid. A note on this question says:
It should be noted that this gay-marriage question follows a number of questions about homosexual rights in Gallup's Values and Beliefs survey. When the same question is asked in other Gallup surveys that do not include such questions, a lower level of support for gay marriage is usually found.
So, the gay lifestyle is becoming more acceptable and more people believe that gays should have the same job opportunities as others but they are not okay with them getting hitched. Hmmm...
However, looking at the numbers, there is a definite trend. The more accepting of the gay lifestyle people are, the more likely they are to be supportive of gay marriage.
I think this trend has a lot to do with the rise of popular and accepted gay culture. Will & Grace helped start it and made gay people almost seem normal (shock and awe). The coming out of many prominent people--celebrities, politicians, sports stars--has not only forced us to recognize that gay people exist, it has also allowed us to have an open and respectable dialogue about the importance of true equality.
GLBT citizens are business leaders, parents, sons & daughters, PTA Presidents, legislators, Mayors, religious leaders, neighbors, doctors, friends, teachers and policemen. In short, they are exactly the same as us straight people.
And they deserve all the same rights that we enjoy.
For all the Gallup numbers, go here.