President Obama’s timing suggests an effort to turn the attention away from the fact that voters in North Carolina voted 61 to 39 percent to define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. On the very next day, May 10th, Obama publicly indicated his support for same-sex “marriage.”
The President’s decision wasn’t surprising. As early as 1996, he expressed public support for the redefinition of marriage. While he equivocated for reasons that are proving to be obviously political, his statement today simply brings his words in line with the actions of his administration.
While the thrill of the President’s announcement will apparently make those trying to redefine marriage feel better temporarily, they must still confront the reality of the fact that thirty-two states have now voted that marriage should be between a man and a woman, without a single exception. These facts are challenging because of some assumptions inherent in the rationale for SSM.
In seeking to redefine marriage, they argue that there is no difference between a homosexual and heterosexual relationship. Furthermore, they believe the only reason anyone would not want to redefine marriage is because of bigotry. So, when state after state votes that marriage should be defined as a relationship between a man and a woman, their logic compels them to conclude that the majority of their friends and neighbors are bigots.
Understandably, that would make someone unhappy. If you are such a person — if you are happy today because the President has done something historic but sad because of all the haters in North Carolina — I would like to offer a suggestion.
Give us the benefit of the doubt. I understand that we disagree. But the fact that someone doesn’t see the world in precisely the same way you do doesn’t mean their motives are impure. We all have different experiences, different perspectives, and we all have things we can learn from each other.
But if we insist on assuming the worst about people because we disagree on the definition of marriage (or anything else for that matter), that’s going to make things unnecessarily difficult, regardless of who wins. Believing that your friends and neighbors hate you is an awful way to go through life. The good news is…it’s not true!!!
An added bonus of not impugning someone’s motives because of what they think, is that it makes it easier to actually hear what they say. If you’re stuck on “you’re a bigot”, it makes it hard to listen.
Once that happens, you might even be able to see some rationality in believing that treating people fairly does not require redefining the English language. And then you can be released from your current responsibility of believing that 61% of people in North Carolina are just plain mean.