Area residents exercised their freedom of expression last week in a way uncharacteristic in small towns.
Seeing my neighbors state their beliefs in connection with the flap over Chic-Fil-A President Dan Cathy’s beliefs in regard to same-sex marriage is both heartening and disconcerting.
Cathy as most anyone in the world now knows has been quoted saying Chic-Fil-A supports the Biblical definition of marriage, i.e. a marriage is between one man and one woman.
In response supporters of same-sex marriage called for a boycott of the popular sandwich shop. Last Wednesday, supporters of Cathy’s view of the situation flocked to the Easley Chic-Fil-A and shops across the country in support of the company’s stance and presumably the principal of one-man/one woman for a marriage.
In a time when we often struggle to get 15 percent of registered voters turn out to throw in their opinion about who should set county policy for the next four years, thousands have spoken up and filled the Chic-Fil-A drive-thru for a couple of hours.
They have used their power to speak through their actions. They have taken part in government.
Enter Catherine, my niece.
Catherine is a young, intelligent, well-spoken, well-read, well-traveled woman who spends her days at Duke University, helping women who are in crisis. She is office coordinator at the Women’s Center.
She speaks at least four languages fluently, has had religious connections and instruction through the Unitarian and Episcopal churches. She has a side-line business as a bee keeper, enjoys gardening and is an outspoken organizer, speaker and writer in regard to woman’s rights and gender issues. She describes herself as lesbian.
Catherine never made a choice to be lesbian. It is who she is. It is the way she was created. She has never known anything different. Since she was about 12, she has known she was more attracted to girls than boys. I have taken to making the comparison to myself, a desperately straight man. If someone told me that it was wrong for me to be attracted to women, it would just be too bad. I am who I am. This is the way I was made
The experience of not choosing gender preference is common among the gay or lesbian folk I know well enough to discuss the issue with. None were traumatized or nurtured into adopting a gender preference in opposition to the one outward physical attributes and society would assign to them. They tend to think they are the way they are because God made them that way. If that is the case, why is it the business of anyone else to judge?
Statistically, nine percent of the general population is Gay and Lesbian. That means that at a gathering of 1000 Easley football fans on a Friday night, 90 of them are Gay or Lesbian. You just may not know it and they may not be able to admit it.
In South Carolina and most states of the union, Catherine and my Gay and Lesbian friends don’t have the same legal rights in connection with their chosen partners that married folk do. They don’t have the same legal rights and responsibilities in terms of property, insurance, property ownership, health care decisions as married people. The state of South Carolina denies them those same rights. They don’t have the choice to share those things with their partner.
I can understand why any church would see the need to offer its opinion of social order. I don’t see the necessity for the State of South Carolina to do the same in regard to consenting adults who are doing one another no damage.
Please think what you will of people who are created from birth as Gay and Lesbian. That is your right. Feel free to express your moral or religious belief. That is your right. Just allow a significant nine percent of our population the same right of expression.