Some mornings I feel exhaustion for no reason other than the fact that I'm a gay American. I wonder if my fellow citizens who spend their days campaigning and crusading to limit my civil rights — the civil rights that they themselves take for granted — ever consider the inhumanity and irrationality of what they do? And I wonder if the millions of Americans who stand by apathetically and allow this travesty to play out with each passing day ever consider the emotional anguish they are deliberately or carelessly causing to millions of children, teenagers and adults?
I wonder if they wonder what it's like to live with the fear and reality that in most parts of this nation you can be legally fired from your job, denied housing, refused a room in a hotel or barred from public facilities simply because of your sexual orientation. I wonder if they wonder how a gay child feels when he or she is called an abomination, prevented from attending a prom with his or her high school sweetheart, or beaten up in the schoolyard while homophobic teachers look on with contempt.
If one assumes — and I do — that given the right information most people will do the right thing, it is very difficult to understand the degree of homophobia and outright hatred that manifests itself in this great nation. Why are we, as Americans, so out of synch with other Western democracies? Why are civil rights more widely protected and honored in the EU, in South African and in Canada then in the land of Jefferson, Madison and Lincoln? Most of us don't kick puppies or set out in the morning to cause emotional or physical harm to other people, and yet most of us are doing just that even if it just through apathy.
Who is harmed by two adults of the same sex falling in love, making a commitment to each other and wanting to raise a family? In a nation where most children are being raised by single mothers and where thousands of children are abandoned, orphaned and homeless, do we really believe that such children would be worse off in a loving home with same-sex parents? Who benefits from preventing a gay man from sitting at the hospital bedside of his critically ill longtime companion? Who is harmed by adding sexual orientation to federal laws that prohibit discrimination in the workplace, housing, education and services?