I don't get angry easily. I have a very broad view of how people should live their lives and very few hard beliefs of my own. I find it very easy to see both sides of an argument. I like arguing, don't get me wrong, but I can do it from either side of most of the big controversial issues of our day without inconvenience. Arguing, for me, is like playing tennis with a friend. You don't keep score, you don't really care, and you do it until you feel like doing something else.

That is not the case when it comes to the rights of the people of my country.

Today I tweeted my frustration about New York State's inability to pass legislation that would make it legal for same-sex couples to marry. I then noticed a significant downtick in my followers. Putting two and two together, there were a bunch of people who saw my frustration of intolerance as a personal attack. I immediately (in anger, I might add) asked everyone who did not believe that all loving, monogamous couples should be able to get married to unfollow me.

This, of course, stirred up a flurry of re-tweets as well as a good bit of intelligent and non-hostile debate, for which I am extremely thankful. Since twitter isn't exactly a fantastic place to hold a debate (especially when you like to be verbose) I decided to post a bit here at

There were a lot of different comments. I'm going to start with what I see as the most legitimate and them move to the more preposterous points.

1. Hank, by asking these people to unfollow, you're essentially shutting down the lines of communication. Do you think that's wise?
You're right, it's extremely unwise, and I am sorry. I'm angry. Angry people often do unwise things. I have no other excuse.

2. The people you're dealing with might be very young and not have had a chance to truly consider the beliefs they've been instilled with.
Another excellent point. Again, I pleed anger as my defense. It was stupid.

3. "Isn't it kind of intolerant to be angry at people for standing by their beliefs/religion?"
If there's anything I'm OK being intolerant of, it's intolerance. I'm not a pacifist, my tolerance isn't unlimited. I don't think there's nothing worth fighting for. The rights and equality of the people of my country is where I put my foot down. And I don't care where the intolerance springs from. If your relgion has a problem with 10% of the population of my country, then I have a problem with your religion and maybe you should examine your position as well. If you don't think you can discard a part of your religion because your religion is infallable, then you have not studied the history of your religion. Every religion is filled with examples the religion realizing it is wrong, and changing as a result. If you don't agree with your religion, don't think there's no room for change. The most loving, kind and tolerant people I know are Christians.

4. Believing that gays shouldn't marry isn't the same as being intolerant of gays.

Actually, I think it's exactly the same thing. You're saying that you don't have a problem with them, but that they shouldn't have access to the same institutions as you because they're different. You're saying that you don't hate them, but that they don't deserve the same rights that the rest of us have. People said the same thing about segregation and even slavery. Take a deeper look at your feelings, or the feelings of the people who have created this controversy. Do you really think that it comes from a place of love? Or does it come from a place of fear?

In conclusion, I think that marriage is fantastic. I think it is SO fantastic. I think it's a powerful and worthy institution. ANd I think it's disgusting that we are not allowing a huge portion of our population to participate in that institution. It makes me angry, it makes me sad, and it makes me ashamed. I'm sorry for cutting people out, I want this to be a conversation, but I don't want to portray this as a political disagreement that we need to debate. That's not what it is. This is, fundamentally, the denial of rights to a section of our population because of who they are. Calling it anything else, to my ears, is just playing pretend.

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Comment by Larry B on December 13, 2009 at 11:39pm

Thank you for your response; I appreciate your taking the things I wrote earlier for what they are: an effort to understand. I’m not trying to be a jerk, I’m genuinely interested in how it all works. Also, it made me really happy to hear you say that gays can go to heaven.

Unfortunately, I am now more confused than I was when I wrote my initial post. Let me see if I’m understanding what you’ve said:

1. Only people who are sinners need to be saved.
1a. All people are sinners, thus, all people need to be saved.

OK, I can totally understand the logic behind that.

2. Sinning includes several distinct categories.
2a.These categories include, among others, heterosexual sin (ie lustful thoughts, adultery, any kind of sexual behavior outside of marriage, etc.) and homosexual sin (any kind of sexual behavior whatsoever)

I guess I understand the logic of that, particularly since gays can’t get married.

3. The primary difference between the aforementioned categories is that a heterosexual has the potential to be a less-sinful being, particularly if they confine their lusty behaviors to their marriage - but they will probably do some sinning anyway, and will ask for forgiveness.
3a. A homosexual, much like one who abuses children or has sex with animals, is an inherently sinful being. They do not have the redemptive shelter of marriage available to them, so anything they do sexually, including thinking, is automatically sinful.

Again, I wholeheartedly disagree with this, but I can still follow the logic. Here is where I start to get confused, though. And forgive me for quoting you…

4. “Can people who consider themselves gay go to heaven? Yes…”
4a. “…as long as they are seen as righteous in God's eyes, because when he looks at them he sees Christ who lives in them.”

OK. That’s really confusing. That seems to mean that gays simultaneously can AND can’t go to heaven. They can, if “Christ lives in them,” but they can’t...because God’s law forbids homosexuality. Is that correct?

Also, it seems to me that if gays could just get married, especially the ones in whom JC lives, that a big part of this issue would just resolve itself.

Thank you for your indulgence, and much respect.
Comment by XOX on December 13, 2009 at 8:18pm
For your point number 3 & 4 , I feel the love for you as a person, and agreed with you 100%. Tolerance to those who violate other people basic right is just wrong, and that is where everyone who value rights to put their foot down.

I also don't think it is wrong to ask people to unfollow you. I ask all homophobic persons to stop being my friends, because I really couldn't stand them.
Comment by ForbiddenHero on December 11, 2009 at 2:09pm
I do agree with you on this. There should be same sex marriage allowed. I just don't understand why people make such a huge deal out of it. It saddens me to say this, but outside of the gay community, marriage isn't seen as the wonderful thing that it is. Many people get married on whims or just so they can be married. The romance is gone in this day and age. That's not true in all cases, since there are still people who see marriage as the beautiful thing that it is. It is not to be taken lightly as it is today. Basiccaly, what I'm saying is that the fight for marriage needs to be rethought. I think that it should be equally restricted for all. It should not be simple for anyone to get married, because it is, or at least should be, a big deal.
Comment by Tank Rojas on December 8, 2009 at 10:20pm
Larry B, Yyou are my new hero
Comment by Amber Furlong on December 7, 2009 at 2:30am
Thats one of the sad things about this whole mess. The whole 'Separation of Church and State' thing.

If that were true, the government would be all for gay marriages. One reason being: The mount of money that would be spent on weddings for homosexual couples would pour back into a struggling economy. The government is always up for their people spending more money. It's only when the most powerful church percentage throws a hissy over it that the whole mess started. The church threw a fit, the government bowed like a bunch of bitches. (Pardon the language.) How is that separation of church and state?

As to the topics of the pedophilia and bestiality.... I have something to say about those as well. People have fetishes. A lot are considered 'sick' in many aspects of common day society. (Since society controls what is normal and acceptable, and what is not, by how much of the percentage of it's people DO said thing.)There are a lot of people out there who have these fetishes but would NEVER consider actually doing them because even they are upset by their fetish. A lot of people want to change that darker part inside of them that longs for that thing. Does that make these people sinful because they have that fetish? I don't think so.

We all have a darker side of ourselves we don't like. We want to change that side, to do what we feel is right, rather then what our imagination and personal attractions tell us to do. I don't think all pedophiles are sickos, just because they have that fetist. I think that the ones that are sickos are the ones that gladly give in to those darker temptations, who do not regret killing the weaker beings, murdering the young or old. Who rape and violate for their own amusement, and have no remorse.

When it comes to my own religion, I dont really know what I am. I believe in God, I thank Jesus for all he's done and ask for their guidance in life. But I think the bible is a load of horse shit. I believe anything made and written by man is corrupt. We always have a feeling that we must add our own two-sense in. What might have started as a grain of truth is always made into a mole hill, and then a mountain. Thats what our species DOES. You ever hear about that fish story? Started as a foot long bass and now it was big enough to sink the boat if it had wanted to.

I personally believe that God, My god whom I love and look to for guidance and support, would never turn his children away for the sins committed in this life time. I do not believe he would give us free choice and tell us we were forever condemned for them. I also do not think he would give someone love, the purest emotion out there, just to tell them they were wrong to feel it. When I die, I'll ask god what I did wrong when I was alive. I feel he will tell me what I did wrong, and if he looks in my heart and sees how badly I regretted those mistakes, he will forgive me for them. I may still receive punishment....But eternal? No.

He may punish me for the wrong I have done, but as any parent, he will forgive. He'll give me my 5 minutes in the corner, or my whipping. He'll take away my dessert for a week, or send me to my room without supper. Whatever his punishment is, I'll take it and when it is over, I'll see his smiling face in heaven. I'll see him and talk with him, and I will know everything is as it was suppose to be, because I believe that God would not make us who we are, just to let us be punished forever.
Comment by Daniel Austin on December 7, 2009 at 2:10am
I would also like to say that bringing up "pedofilia" "beastiality" etc, are not arguments that hold water when put to the test, very popular arguments of straight people with grudges, if we allow gay people to marry, why not let people marry their cat, or a 10 year old? hmmm if you can't see the moral difference between two consentual adults who choose to fulfill their happiness by celebrating their own personal love for one another, who just so happen to be gay men, and between people who do things with people or animals who aren't capable of understanding what is happening, then you seriously need to re-evaluate your belief structure
Comment by Daniel Austin on December 7, 2009 at 2:06am
I am gay, and my boyfriend and I wear wedding rings. When it becomes legal (its only a matter of time) we will get married for real. It may take awhile, but im fairly certain it will happen in my lifetime. The annoying thing about it is that even though I wish to be legally married to my boyfriend (who in legal terminology can never really be anything more than my "boyfriend,") I can not extend to him my medical benefits from work, or have any of the other basic common human rights that male / female couples recieve (tax benefit) It is foolish and disgusts me to my very core that we are not treated equally in a society to which we both contribute. I want to contribute to my country by joining the armed forces, but wouldn't be able to qualify for any of the benefits that married armed forces members recieve. It limits me to what I can do, and I believe it is unfair. Honestly in this awful economy, why would it be ridiculous to extend rights to gay's it could be beneficial think of all the gay weddings?
Comment by Nerdsareinvading on December 6, 2009 at 9:47pm
Hank, will you marry me? (Oh, the irony of me being a guy..) I appreciate you so much more for this. One of my favorite arguments against it is;

Marriage was made by God as a bond between a man and a woman in love. A sacred contract... And so to allow gay marriage is to desecrate one of God's most precious creations.

Now, to wholly refute that. (Gotta love puns...)
1. Seperation of church and state makes it so that God has no influence over the government.
2. That is denying the people their basic constitutional rights. The constitution goes on to say that if the government denies the people their rights, they have full rights to overthrow the government...
3. God loves everyone. EVERYONE.
5. It would only desecrate the value of your marriages if you let it. If you don't give a damn, nothing happens.

Comment by Amber Furlong on December 6, 2009 at 9:47pm
I believe that marriage is not something just for 'a man and a woman, It is a status that lets the world know you both love one another and want to be together forever. There are many different religions that 'marry' people together based on their love for one another, and their want to be a family with one another. (Yes, that includes raising children together.) But if you don't have a certificate from the state SAYING you are married, then you lose a lot of rights as a spouse.

Take this as an example: What if a man's husband is hospitalized after being in a car accident? The injured man is in a coma and on life support. The chance of him waking up and being able to live off life support is very small.

Now, these two men may have been 'married' for YEARS, may even have children together (Adopted or otherwise), and yet the hospital will not have to give this spouse visitation rights, and also do not have to talk to the spouse about possible paths to take to help his injured husband get better faster, all because they are not 'legally married'. They don't have a piece of dead tree that states they're married. This leaves the spouse out of all decisions entirely.

The injured man's mother and father, or even his own siblings, could come in and pull the plug on their son/brother because they are the 'next of kin' and do not want their relative to be living as a vegetable in a hospital, with the outstanding possibility that he will never wake up. They do not have to take their relative's love for his MALE spouse and their children into consideration. They can just pill the plug. All because the concerned parties were both male and didn't have a lawful marriage with a paper wrapping to bind them together.

Marriage is not just about a religious binding anymore. Marriage affects people FAR BEYOND the church, as shown in the example above. It can take away their right to pursue happiness and can destroy a family based on the idea that love is what is needed to make a family.

Marriage is about a love and companionship that grows from the compatibility and kinship between two (or more) people's souls. It's the feeling that they complete you, that you can share anything and everything with them. It's wanting them to always be happy. It's wanting to be there to catch them when they fall, and to help them back on their feet again. It's wanting to be there, to love one another, through the good times and the bad times. Marriage should never be based on physical sex. Sex won't keep a marriage, or the resulting families, together. And if marriage were only about a man and a woman getting together to 'procreate', then all that marriage is based off off is the physical, bodily sex. It's not based on the actual meaning behind marriage.

I've known many friends who's parents got divorced. I know that a piece of paper will not keep anyone together, whither the couple is male, female, or male and female. Gender does not matter in this equasion. If two people love one another, they deserve the right to be able to give it a try with the same, equal footing that any other couple would get. They should be able to walk up the hills other couples do in life, hand in hand, so that they can pull one another along when one of them need the extra strength. Their gender should not get in the way, just as their race and age should not get in the way. No man or woman should have to go through the scenario I put as an example, just because of a piece of paper.
Comment by Larry B on December 6, 2009 at 9:46pm
also: sorry if tl;dr

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