The year was 2006. I was
attending junior college on softball scholarship in a community
in the Deep South. I won’t say where, to avoid stereotyping.
I sat in Ethics class next to one of my teammates, awaiting
the day’s open discussion on the current chapter: “Homosexuality.” It
was a topic I could have argued to a post; one I felt I needed
to say my piece on to defend some of my teammates—including
the one next to me.
The teacher opened the floor for discussion, and immediately,
two of the class’s girls launched a verbal assault on homosexuality. “Homosexuals
will burn in hell for all eternity! It goes against God’s
will,” one said.
It’s disgusting and wrong, and all gays are sinners,” the
other chimed in, all the while staring a hole into the side of
my teammate’s head, which was buried between her hands
on the desk as she tried to hold back her tears. I’d had
Now, let me first say, I am a Christian woman, married to a Catholic
man, and raised in a Christian household. I attend church (though
not regularly), pray every night, and read the Bible often. I
know what it says, so don’t bother quoting it to me. That
being said, I laid into those girls with the full fury of Jaws
at New Hampton Beach on the first day of summer.
Now, girls, you attend church regularly, I assume?” I asked,
rising from my chair.
Of course we do,” they said, smugly. “Well, does
your minister not teach of the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others
as you would have others do unto you’?” They fell
And further,” I prodded, “aren’t we taught
as Christians, ‘Love thy neighbor as you love thyself’?”
I decided to finish with a hard hit: “I just have faith,
ladies, that my God is a forgiving and understanding God; that
He, who is loving and kind, would not sentence a person to an
eternity in Hell for merely sharing their love with a person
of the same sex. Someone who could have done little or no wrong;
who was kind and generous throughout his or her life—damned
forever to fry in fire and brimstone for a love he or she couldn’t
suppress? I don’t think so.”
You could have heard a pin drop. I changed a few minds that day… or
at least made them think.
Now, in spite of efforts like mine (and stronger) throughout
the United States, homosexuals continue to face prejudice like
other minorities before them. However, light is emerging from
The Human Rights Campaign, America’s largest civil rights
organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender
equality, praised Hawai‘i’s House of Representatives
Feb. 13 for passing a civil unions bill by a 33-17 vote.
The bill now moves to the state Senate where, if passed, it will
permit gay and lesbian couples to enter into civil unions and
receive the benefits, protections, and responsibilities, under
Hawai‘i law, that are granted to spouses.
Unfortunately, even if the legislation passes the Hawai‘i
Senate and is enacted into law, couples who enter into a civil
union will still not receive any rights or benefits under federal
Now tell me, why is the state willing to recognize civil unions
but our country refuses to grant these couples the same rights
and benefits as heterosexual couples? It baffles me that in a
day and age in which a woman almost became president, and a black
man did, people still can’t get past their prejudices and
just live and let live… and let love!
The so-called “battle against homosexuality” that
has been raging for decades in our culture has got to stop. Lesbians,
gays, bisexuals, transgenders—all eat, breathe, love, and
hurt like heterosexuals do. And these people are in pain because
they are currently refused even the simplest of things, such
as the right to be the next of kin listed for emergencies and
They are people like us, and they will continue to suffer unless
that injustice is corrected.
As HPU’s Dr. Larry LeDoux, assistant professor of communication,
pointed out in a recent class, “People of faith who oppose
civil unions forget that they are arguing for prejudice and against
justice, and that they are trying to make into law their religious
views, which they would thus impose on the rest of us in clear
violation of the very Constitution that guarantees they can hold
Currently, Hawai‘i does not allow gay or lesbian couples
to marry. Hawai‘i law currently permits couples prohibited
from marrying under Hawai‘i law to enter into reciprocal
beneficiary relationships and receive limited rights and benefits,
though not all rights provided to married couples under state
If the problem here is that those opposed don’t want homosexuals
to be allowed to “be wed in holy matrimony” due to
religious stipulations, then change the name of it. Call it what
we’ve been calling it: a civil union.
Currently 10 states (plus Washington, D.C.) have laws providing
at least some form of state-level relationship recognition for
homosexual couples. Massachusetts and Connecticut recognize marriage
for gay and lesbian couples under state law. Five other states—California,
New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, D.C.
provide gay and lesbian couples with access to the state-level
benefits and responsibilities of marriage, through either civil
unions or domestic partnerships. Hooray for them!
Maine and Washington provide gay and lesbian couples with limited
rights and benefits, not all rights provided to married couples.
New York recognizes marriages by homosexual couples validly entered
into outside of New York.
Unfortunately, gay and lesbian couples do not receive federal
rights and benefits in any state… currently. Together,
we can change this. To learn more about state by state legislation