Letter to Jim Franklin

Dear Jim,

I am trying my hardest to understand you. At first, I just couldn’t stand you and didn’t really care why you did what you did. But, the more I think about it, I just think there must be something I am not getting and maybe if I try to understand you, then I will.

Why are you against people loving and marrying who they want? I am going to try and lay out every argument I have ever heard and see if I can find any logic.

“Marriage is for having children.”

Well, sure, that’s part of it. But, no one can say that is the only part. Otherwise, infertile couples and older couples and couples who never want children would not be able to marry. Besides, gay people DO have children. They also adopt and take in foster children, many times even taking in hard to place children that need that extra love. So, take that one off your list.

“You are redefining marriage.”

First off, YOU are redefining the word “redefining.” Maybe “expanding” marriage or making marriage more “inclusive” would be more accurate. Because, is marriage ONLY about “one man, one woman”? Or, is it more about love, commitment, and trust? Because, if what you are saying is true, that it IS only about gender, then bother with that silly courting process? All you need is a man and a woman and you can just marry them. Since that is all that matters…

Besides, we have redefined marriage plenty of times. It used to be for property, it used to be that the woman WAS the property, it was for bringing families together, or countries. For a long time, it was so the man could have an heir or the woman would have someone to protect her, since she was not allowed, legally, to take care of herself.

(Crossing that one off, too.)

“Next you will want polygamy, children marrying adults, people marrying their pets, etc.”

Okay, well, these are a few different things. First off, I don’t know a single person who thinks that we should be marrying pets or having adults marry children (although, I WILL point out that it is legal for minors to marry adults in many states, including California, but only if they are straight.) So, be serious, please. A law telling consenting adults that they can marry the consenting adult of their choosing is NOT opening up the floodgates to people marrying their dog or the kid next door. (And seriously, the only people I hear even discussing this ludicrous scenario are the ones who don’t think it’s okay to marry the person you love.)

As for polygamy, well, like with gay marriage, if the people entering into it are consenting adults, why do you even care? Why does anyone even care? What are YOU doing in this person’s bedroom that it even affects you?

So, yes, gay and straight people tend to agree that child marriage and marrying your goldfish should be off the table. But, I ask again, why are YOU thinking you are welcome in another’s bedroom/life? Were you invited?

Cross that one off, too, Jim. Trust me.

“The people have spoken.”

Okay, this one is the one that gets me the most.

You DO know that we have a U.S. Constitution, right? And that the Constitution is there to ensure that the laws we pass follow certain guidelines, right? So that people’s rights don’t get trampled by popular opinion?

Here’s the thing, Jim. The U.S. Constitution says that the states can’t just make up any laws they want that trample over people’s inalienable rights. The Supreme Court said it, Jim, “Marriage is a basic civil right.” (Loving v. Virginia, (1967))

And the 14th Amendment, Jim. Don’t forget that.

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

There was no due process here, Jim! None! Due process includes fairness and there was really none here. There were ads on TV that showed the possibility of gay marriage as the equivalent of a monsoon. I wish I was exaggerating here, Jim, but they had storm clouds. Storm clouds.

The “people” were lied to. They were told there was a storm coming and that it would threaten their marriages. Threat? Gay people were the ones that were threatened! Gay people were threatened with losing civil rights. Straight people stood to lose nothing.

Why the need to strike terror in the hearts of the voters? What are you really afraid of? What did gay people ever do to you? Some of us ever tried to reach out to you? DO you remember that? Do you remember that you wouldn’t come out and talk to us? Oh, not until the media got there. Then you came out. Do you remember what happened to all of those flowers we handed out? Your ushers would not let people bring them into the church and had them crushed and thrown into garbage cans. I saw it, Jim.

Something else happened that day, Jim. Something I don’t talk about a lot, because it affected me so strongly. That was the day I realized I could not stand on the sidelines ever.

I was holding out a flower to a man who was passing by. He was walking with a woman and another man. I was standing against the wall and he had plenty of room (the whole sidewalk, really) to walk past me. Except, when he got to me, holding out my flower, he decided to swerve and walk almost into me, pushing my hand with the flower out of his way. I didn’t say anything, but after he passed me, he turned around and said to me, in a voice thick with disgust, “Don’t ever touch me.”

Until you have had someone speak to you and look at you the way this man did, you can’t understand why I fight. He didn’t know anything about me, he didn’t actually know if I was gay or straight, he only knew I was there handing out flowers and that I believed in equality. But, that was enough for him to push into me and to speak to me that way.

Sure, it wasn’t much, compared to what happens to so many other people, but it was the first time a total stranger had ever hated me that much. And that made me realize, at least a little, what LGBT people go through every day of their lives.

That happened in front of YOUR church with people from YOUR congregation. I wonder what Jesus would think of that.

I have a challenge to you, Jim. Take MY point of view. Try MY line of thinking. Talk to me, to any of us, and rather than debate, let’s see what we agree on. I bet we agree on more than we disagree on. I bet you want this country to stay free and for people to retain their civil rights. I bet you want the homeless to have a place to sleep at night and the sick to get well.

I want all that, too. But, I want one more thing: I want my friends to be able to get married, if they want to.

Tell me again why you think that’s so bad?


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