Friday, June 04, 2004

A thank-you to the "out" (first published on orkut, 3/10/2004)

Several people recently have pointed out opinion polls that show support for gay marriage growing. The increase is especially remarkable when you consider the trend over the past twenty years. I saw an article with actual statistics recently, but I wasn't clever enough to copy the URL at the time and now I have no idea where it was, alas; but the general trend is a huge increase in support, correlated with a huge increase in the number of people who know openly-gay people. (The other interesting statistic is that there's a massive generation gap, suggesting that the rabidly-anti-gay-marriage folks are dinosaurs, and we just need to let nature take its course.)

This is slightly depressing to me, but more in the every-silver-lining-must-have-a-cloud sense: why must humans be so unimaginative as to feel compassion only for people they know and like? Surely, at least among adults, we could hope for a bit more devotion to abstract ideas of justice and equality, independent of who our buddies are.

But given that that's how people are, there is a huge (and hugely encouraging) moral here: living with integrity and courage does make a positive difference in the world. Every person who has decided not to hide who they are and has come out of the closet is someone's cousin, neighbour, school teacher; every person who cares about their happiness will be forced to think twice about denying them the right to marry.

So to all of you who are out I say: thank you. You're making the world a better place for every citizen of this country--and indeed of the world--whether they know it or not.

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