It‚Äôs been a very anxious Gay Pride Month. The U.S. Supreme Court is set to decide two major gay rights cases ‚Äî the Proposition 8 case which would restore gay marriage in the state of California, if not the country, and a challenge to the horrid Defense of Marriage Act.
The drama surrounding these cases has been intense. I know when I wrote about Proposition 8 almost exactly five years ago there was a lot of heat generated, and very little light. I received hundreds of e-mails from the rabid acolytes of the Mormon church. I had hate mail from as far away as Australia and across our country.
I met the local representative for the ward and frankly was quite taken by him. He was smart, educated, charming, very good looking, late 30s and single. Frankly, I‚Äôd have enjoyed dating him. But alas he was too inculcated with the mythology and the doctrine of the church, and our discussions devolved into my rants versus his lame excuses for the bigotry of the church.
It‚Äôs really a shame that I allowed my emotions to get the better of me. I know he is a good human being, and it was my over-the-top statements that drove him away. But it was my frustration at being told that “we love you, we just think heterosexual marriage is better.” That was so irritating. The hypocrisy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in regards to issues of race and sexual orientation, let alone women‚Äôs rights, would drive any sane person nuts.
The five years since that horrid proposition was peddled by a bunch of snake oil salesmen with their deceptive and confusing ads to a bewildered and scared electorate have been a wild ride. The tide has turned on gay marriage. There are now 12 states plus the District of Columbia and three Native American tribes that allow gay men and women to enjoy the same benefits of marriage as their heterosexual counterparts. We await a ruling this week from the Supreme Court that could end federal discrimination and pull California from the dungeon of discrimination back into the ranks of the open minded and equality based states.
Things have changed so much that even the Boy Scouts, an organization supported in large measure by the Mormons and the Catholics, has seen fit to revise its rulings on allowing a scout to acknowledge their sexual orientation ‚Äî so long as they are minors. Once a scout becomes an adult they are not allowed to be openly gay, but I believe that will change as the current crop of young gay boys ages out and the absurdity of the contorted reasoning becomes obvious.
Gay celebrities have had weddings that are televised and splashed across the front pages of the nation‚Äôs tabloids and gossip magazines, which has further eroded the hysterical and unnecessary homophobia that drove the bigoted masses who rabidly supported Proposition 8. Today the gay and lesbian couple with child is seen on TV regularly.
The world has changed radically in the last five years and for the better. Gay and lesbian faces are seen all over TV. From Don Lemon to Suze Orman, we see the diversity of the North American homosexual. As parents there is that force of nature Neil Patrick Harris and the ever talented counterpart Rosie O‚ÄôDonnell, who created R Family cruises for gay families.
There was an article on ABC News this past week about Wendy Montgomery, a Mormon mom who knocked on doors for Proposition 8. Her actions and the teachings of the church made her 14-year-old son suicidal, an all too common happenstance for gay youth thanks to the bigoted and homophobic statements of churches like the Catholic and Latter-day Saints.
When Montgomery‚Äôs son came out as gay, she was forced to re-evaluate, and then changed her position. It‚Äôs just the way this goes. The more gay people are seen and known, the less homophobia there is, even for Mormons.
We have undergone another major cultural shift and now it is up to the Supreme Court to clean up the details. They may take a reserved approach this week and issue a ruling that is limited in scope, or they may go big. I hope they go big, but I‚Äôm prepared for them to stay small.
No matter what they decide, the rising tide of acceptance is flowing throughout the world and as more people are exposed to the reality of same-gender marriages they will see how non-threatening it is. The same goes for gay people in general.
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles divorce and child custody lawyer specializing in father‚Äôs and men‚Äôs rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra