I am a firm believer that, despite our downfalls, the United States of America is an amazing country full of diversity, ingenuity, and empowerment. When you look back through the history books, it is amazing how far we’ve come from that fateful day on Plymouth rock. But, yesterday reminded me that we still have a long way to go.

Yesterday, Maine voted on and rejected the same-sex marriage law. Over 50% of Maine’s citizens rejected equal legal rights. Maine is telling me that if I want to marry a woman, I’m welcomed with open arms, but if I decide to sleep next to a man, I can’t even get on the same health care plan as my partner. More than half of the state represents the narrow-minded population of our country that can’t accept that there are people different from them.

This is a topic that really hits home with me, but I’ve refrained from writing about, until now. When I was six years old my mom and dad got a divorce. A couple years later, my Dad remarried a woman. Around the same time, my mom celebrated her “Civil Union” – also with a woman. Yes, my mom is gay. She’s proud of it, and so am I. It’s not something I’m ashamed of our afraid to talk about. In my eyes, my mother is married to an amazing woman – but in the eyes of the state of Tennessee, they are given no legal rights as a married couple. Can you seriously sit here and tell me that’s fair?

Believe me when I say I have witnessed and lived through both extreme sides of this issue – growing up with a gay liberal mother and an extremely conservative Catholic father – you can imagine the dichotomy and being pulled in opposite directions. I love both of my parents equally – their personal beliefs will never change that. However, not only am I proud of having a gay mother, I’m thankful for it – because since a very young age I was raised to accept and love everyone, something I wish could be said for the people who voted against equal rights in Maine on November 3, 2009.

I will never try to convince someone to change their religious affiliation or beliefs. If you believe that marriage, religiously speaking, should be between a man and a woman, I can somewhat understand (although I think that is still ultimately a narrow view). But legally, why would we not give everyone the same legal rights? Being gay is not a choice. I repeat: Being gay is not a choice. If it was a choice, do you seriously think anyone would go down that path given our broken legal system and the shunning of society? Hell no. I didn’t choose to be straight, I just know that I’m attracted to women. Call it science or whatever you want, but at the end of the day we are who we are.

Marriage should never be exclusive

Anyone who falls in love and decides they want to spend the rest of their life with another human being should be able to, and should receive the legal benefits that go along with it. What gives you or I the right to vote on someone else’s rights? Why are we even “voting” on this in the first place? If you are against gay marriage, ask yourself this: “How does someone else’s sexual preference effect ME in any way”? Honestly – who cares? No one cares who I decide to marry, why should I care or have any say in someone else’s marriage decision?

Wake up people. Wake up Maine. The world is changing around you. When will you stop resisting that change? Gay, straight, bisexual, transsexual – We are all equal under the eyes of God (or at least the God that I pray to) – He loves and accepts each of us for who we are – it’s time for our Government to do the same. Yesterday is a disappointing reminder that we still have a long way to go.

I’ve said my piece, but I encourage you to share some words below. What are your thoughts on equal rights in our society?

About Matt Cheuvront

I empower folks to do the work they want to do and live the life they want to live. I also watch entirely too much Saved by the Bell, run marathons, and drink plenty of craft beer. Check out the work my company is doing at Proof Branding.