Last week was a historically triumphant moment for one of the most discriminated minority groups in the world. After decades of heated debates nationwide, the Supreme Court of the United Sates finally guaranteed a right to same-sex marriage. Watching each of my friends rainbow-fying their FB profile pictures, I felt like joining the celebrating mood, though the only thing I added to my profile picture was a Hello Kitty doll on my bed. I sincerely congratulated the gay rights activists in the U.S. for their long-sought victory, but I wasn’t ready to defend their rights against an angry friend of mine who ranted on Facebook against the historic Supreme Court decision.
She is a devout member of my Catholic parish. I’ve always admired her deep faith and her amazing sweetness, but I never got a glimpse on her conservative stance on a controversial issue like this until now. She was so convicted of the essential “sin” of homosexuality, for it only concerns the momentary and carnal pleasure that never sees its fruit (i.e. babies). Though she made predictable comments about respecting minorities but her speech was overflowing with disgust and rage against the “love” of gay and lesbian people, showing how devoted she was in God’s way. I was confused: what can I say to her? How can I articulate my empathy for LGBT people who must have been subjected to discrimination and injustice for so long? How can I defend their rights against people who are so sure of the “sinfulness” of their unions? After all, how can I challenge her point that homosexuality is essentially wrong?
There are certain things that I consider ‘wrong’ or ‘unethical.’ I’m against prostitution, divorce, adultery and casual sex. I’m able to say this because all of these concern my personal choice: I’m able to say I’m against prostitution, for I can choose not to pay or be paid for sex. I’m able to say I’m against divorce because I can choose not to divorce from my future spouse. I’m able to say I’m against adultery because I can choose not to have sex with someone other than my spouse or someone else’s spouse. I’m able to say I’m against casual sex because I can choose not to have sex casually with someone I do not love or want to have children with. But on what grounds shall I say I’m against or for homosexuality or same-sex marriage? I cannot choose to love or marry someone of same sex. I only understand those LGBT people as the ones who have the same feelings, intellect and desires as myself. I only wish them happiness in every possible way and I want them to enjoy all the rights that I enjoy, too. I don’t think I’m in a position of judging, criticizing or sympathizing with them, only because they are different from myself.
It really doesn’t matter whether I am for or against homosexuality, or agree or disagree with same-sex marriage. It’s about justice and equality that must be applied for all people, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and so many things that define a self-identity. I also consider myself as a God’s child but I also believe in the boundless compassion and progress of humankind as well.