This I Believe

Evelyn - Columbus, Ohio
Entered on July 28, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
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Equality and justice for all

I am a woman who is deeply committed to a wonderful man, with whom I have built a home and a life together. We are not legally married, although I speak of us that way and call him my husband. The reason I haven’t married is because it’s illegal for certain members of my family to get married. When my beloved family members, who are in loving, committed relationships, tried to get married in Oregon two years ago, it was an emotional roller coaster ride. They went to the courthouse and joined with hundreds of other couples in getting married, and I was full of joy when it was announced that gay marriages had been performed. This was followed by the apprehension as the decision was challenged, ending with the pain and disappointment when their rights were denied. Not long after, the partner of one of my relatives died of old age and illness. I grieved for his loss, and for the injustice to them both. Like a majority of people I love my family and respect all of their individual quirks, and I see each of my relatives as deserving of the same rights as the rest of us. I feel the pain of that injury, as I think most people do, when someone I love is hurt or treated unfairly. I was deeply injured by the discrimination against my loved ones, and I felt angry that their rights had been denied. As I thought about getting married to the man whom I love, the thought that kept running through my head was, “What makes me better than them’? The answer I kept coming up with was: “Nothing.” I don’t care if you believe that we were created by a supreme being or by natural causes, the result is that we are ALL different from each other. To start discriminating against people based on their differences is to end by discriminating against all people. I believe that we should celebrate our differences, not be punished for them. I believe that it is impossible to protect marriage by forbidding people to get married. I believe that I will get legally married when marriage is open to everyone, as I believe it is meant to be.