As a boy, I only saw my father every other weekend when he’d come pick up me in Jacksonville and take me down to his house near Gainesville. My father was a racist. I don’t think he really thought of himself as a racist, but he was. And I could have easily become one too, but for my mother who raised me the rest of the time. She was not a racist. In fact, as the result of my father leaving us, we lived in a black part of town. It’s all she could afford as she worked two jobs. My friends were all black. The people who cared for me when she was at work were all black. So when my father would throw the word “Nigger” around on those two weekends a month, it affected me deeply. I never grew close to my father. Especially after my mother remarried. But the fact remained, that I could have become a racist like he was. It would have been perfectly normal. I often wonder what I would have been like had my mother and father stayed together. And I always think about that whenever I encounter people my age who use racial undertones. It makes me sad, in a way, to think that we’re so heavily influenced by our parents and guardians that we really don’t have as much of a free will as we’d like to think. Their hopes and fears carry over.

Tomorrow in North Carolina, we vote on a proposed amendment to the state constitution that further defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman. You see, it’s already in our state constitution that legal marriage is between one man and one woman. And as far as I know, there aren’t a lot of polygamists out there screaming for equal rights. No, this amendment is aimed at gay couples. Only. Why? Because they’re different. To some people, they’re like monsters, they’re so different. The proponents of this amendment point to the bible as the primary source of their argument. Which means that this is a Christian referendum. Except, it’s not. Because I’m pretty sure Jesus preached love and tolerance for all humans. So to clarify even further – the people who want to ban the idea of gay marriage are old testament Christians. Which means they’re not really Christians at all, since the old testament occurred before Jesus. It’s all quite confusing, really. You’ve got to be in the right frame of mind to understand. On the one hand, we need to look at one part of the bible for guidance, but not the other part of the bible. I fully expect that during the next election cycle, we’ll have to vote on whether or not we can legally kill our disobedient children (Deuteronomy 21:18-21), or ban all religions except Christian. I mean, why not? They’re different, after all.

No, on May 8th, we have to vote to further reinforce that marriage in NC is restricted only to one man and one woman because gay people are different and they don’t deserve the same privileges of legal marriage that normal people enjoy. Here in the South, we really don’t like people who are different. Sexual orientation. Nationality. Skin color. We’re a proudly stubborn people who don’t take to change easily, and who sometimes use the scripture to justify our actions.

I am not a racist. But I could have been. Hell, I likely, should have been. But my mother’s love helped me to see things differently. Black people weren’t monsters. They’re just black. I’ve since learned that gay people aren’t monsters. They’re just gay. If you ask me, the real monsters are the ones driven by fear and who force their agendas on the rest of us.

Just because your father was a republican, or a democrat, or even a Yankees fan – doesn’t mean you have to be. Think for yourself. Rise above your fears. Vote against fear on May 8th. Vote against Amendment One. What’s the worst that can happen with more married people? More weddings? Think about it this way – what fabulous weddings they’d be.

Click here to read “The Stupidest Fucking Vote in America.”

Click here to read “Confessions of a Recovering Homophobe.


Jim Mitchem

Cancer: You Have It

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.

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