Why I Won’t Be Moving to Maine Anytime Soon

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?


290 Responses
  • Mark Lewis Reply

    People are comfortable with the status quo. It’s easy to instill fear about change when the status quo will do.

  • Norcross Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story, and I feel the same way. Personally, I don’t think that ANY marriage should be recognized by the state, but only civil unions, with the legal / health / tax status we currently give to married couples. Allow the various faiths to decide what marriage is and isn’t to them, but keep it there. It isn’t the state’s business.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Spot on Andrew – what ever happened to “Separation of Church & State”? We learn about it throughout our schooling, but it’s basically for not. Hatred and rejection for people who are different is fueled by religious beliefs – if that’s the case, at least keep it in the church, there is too much spill-over into our government system. Ask anyone why they think gay marriage is wrong – 99% of the time they’ll come back with, “Because the Bible says so”. That’s all fine and well but it has nothing to do with our legal system. The lines are far too blurred.

    • Mark Lewis Reply

      That’s a very good point about separation of church and state. As a quadriplegic, I feel I can relate because when Bush was in office he based his decision regarding stem cell research on his religion.

    • Valerie Reply

      I couldn’t agree more, Norcross. If different churches/religions want to forbid same sex marriage – I’m fine with that, but our laws should not be based on religion!

  • Mark Lewis Reply

    People are comfortable with the status quo. It’s easy to instill fear about change when the status quo will do.

  • Norcross Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story, and I feel the same way. Personally, I don’t think that ANY marriage should be recognized by the state, but only civil unions, with the legal / health / tax status we currently give to married couples. Allow the various faiths to decide what marriage is and isn’t to them, but keep it there. It isn’t the state’s business.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Spot on Andrew – what ever happened to “Separation of Church & State”? We learn about it throughout our schooling, but it’s basically for not. Hatred and rejection for people who are different is fueled by religious beliefs – if that’s the case, at least keep it in the church, there is too much spill-over into our government system. Ask anyone why they think gay marriage is wrong – 99% of the time they’ll come back with, “Because the Bible says so”. That’s all fine and well but it has nothing to do with our legal system. The lines are far too blurred.

    • Mark Lewis Reply

      That’s a very good point about separation of church and state. As a quadriplegic, I feel I can relate because when Bush was in office he based his decision regarding stem cell research on his religion.

    • Valerie Reply

      I couldn’t agree more, Norcross. If different churches/religions want to forbid same sex marriage – I’m fine with that, but our laws should not be based on religion!

  • Jackie Adkins Reply

    I’ve thought about this before and have come to the conclusion that people who are against homosexuality use the legal system in order to address the issue without really addressing the issue themselves. They believe homosexuality is wrong and want to convince others that it is, so, instead of speaking with them directly, like you would on most issues, they see the easiest way of doing this as just making it illegal. If you think about it, this is really silly since a homosexual marriage isn’t creating any hazard to society, as would legalizing theft or texting while driving.

    I don’t know, correct me if I’m wrong since I’m not quite as close to the issue as you are, but I just think some people are trying to take the easy way out on the issue by fighting to make it illegal or legal, without really addressing the issue.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Throughout history we, collectively, reject difference – Women had to fight for rights, African Americans had to fight for rights, and now homosexuals are in the same boat. In short, people are afraid of and turn away from those things they do not understand, the “abnormal”. I get it – but when you really take a step back, why do you care about the color of someone else’s skin? Who gives a damn if a man goes to bed with another man or a woman, how, in any way, does that effect you? It doesn’t – which is why ultimately, I’ll never understand someone who is “against” something like this. More times than not, they are against it because society, or someone down the line, has told them they’re “supposed” to reject it.

  • Beth Reply

    Great – but sad – post. Good for you for talking about such an important issue. I too was really disheartened by the news, and unfortunately have seen the little respect that the voters have for their neighbors and friends. I do hope that this doesn’t cause the grassroots org’s fighting for this to give up hope. Sadly, there is more of a fight to come.

    I am 100% supportive of gay marriage and am proud!

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      I am sure people will not give up hope Beth. If anything, this situation has shed more light on a broken system, gotten more people involved, and the citizens of Maine (or wherever a vote is held) will be that much more persistent in achieving equality. I have complete faith in our generation to bring about REAL change. Thanks for the comment!

  • Jackie Adkins Reply

    I’ve thought about this before and have come to the conclusion that people who are against homosexuality use the legal system in order to address the issue without really addressing the issue themselves. They believe homosexuality is wrong and want to convince others that it is, so, instead of speaking with them directly, like you would on most issues, they see the easiest way of doing this as just making it illegal. If you think about it, this is really silly since a homosexual marriage isn’t creating any hazard to society, as would legalizing theft or texting while driving.

    I don’t know, correct me if I’m wrong since I’m not quite as close to the issue as you are, but I just think some people are trying to take the easy way out on the issue by fighting to make it illegal or legal, without really addressing the issue.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Throughout history we, collectively, reject difference – Women had to fight for rights, African Americans had to fight for rights, and now homosexuals are in the same boat. In short, people are afraid of and turn away from those things they do not understand, the “abnormal”. I get it – but when you really take a step back, why do you care about the color of someone else’s skin? Who gives a damn if a man goes to bed with another man or a woman, how, in any way, does that effect you? It doesn’t – which is why ultimately, I’ll never understand someone who is “against” something like this. More times than not, they are against it because society, or someone down the line, has told them they’re “supposed” to reject it.

  • Beth Reply

    Great – but sad – post. Good for you for talking about such an important issue. I too was really disheartened by the news, and unfortunately have seen the little respect that the voters have for their neighbors and friends. I do hope that this doesn’t cause the grassroots org’s fighting for this to give up hope. Sadly, there is more of a fight to come.

    I am 100% supportive of gay marriage and am proud!

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      I am sure people will not give up hope Beth. If anything, this situation has shed more light on a broken system, gotten more people involved, and the citizens of Maine (or wherever a vote is held) will be that much more persistent in achieving equality. I have complete faith in our generation to bring about REAL change. Thanks for the comment!

  • Sam Davidson Reply

    Matt: I appreciate and admire the honesty here. It’s a sad day for Maine (and even America). I hope to follow up this excellent post with something of my own tomorrow. I do believe our generation will get this right eventually.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank you Sam. It was more “emotional” than I tend to get here – but it’s unrestricted (without pants) for a reason, right? Looking forward to reading your follow up tomorrow. Cheers!

      • Grace Boyle Reply

        By the way Matt, I actually enjoyed the “emotional” touch. As you see, honesty and revealing pieces of yourself that you’re passionate about can always cause a stir. Whether the stir may be positive or negative relies on each individual, but for you as a blogger, that stir is causing a whirlwind and can’t be stopped :)

      • Sam Davidson Reply

        It’s up now. I couldn’t wait. And, take heart that I used your full last name.

  • Sam Davidson Reply

    Matt: I appreciate and admire the honesty here. It’s a sad day for Maine (and even America). I hope to follow up this excellent post with something of my own tomorrow. I do believe our generation will get this right eventually.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank you Sam. It was more “emotional” than I tend to get here – but it’s unrestricted (without pants) for a reason, right? Looking forward to reading your follow up tomorrow. Cheers!

      • Grace Boyle Reply

        By the way Matt, I actually enjoyed the “emotional” touch. As you see, honesty and revealing pieces of yourself that you’re passionate about can always cause a stir. Whether the stir may be positive or negative relies on each individual, but for you as a blogger, that stir is causing a whirlwind and can’t be stopped :)

      • Sam Davidson Reply

        It’s up now. I couldn’t wait. And, take heart that I used your full last name.

  • Richard Reply

    Thanks Matt,
    It takes a lot to wear your heart on your sleeve and I appreciate it. A year ago I was moved to tears because of the Proposition 8 vote in California. This year, with the Maine defeat (but don’t forget the small, but important victory in Washington state), we must resolve to stand firm.

    It has always boggled my mind why equal rights are on the ballot. Never before in our history has this been a ballot issue. Not with slavery. Not with desegregation. Legislatures passed laws and the people followed them. If we want to change our form of government to a… I don’t even know what it’s called with the general population passes their own laws, but this is not going to work.

    The simple solution is this: Churches have marriage licenses which grants them their religious rights. The State has Civil Unions, open for everyone which grants equal rights for everyone, thus adhering to the US Constitution.

    This is indeed another sad stain on our history… one which we continue to repeat. Hatred never survives, but it seems it takes ten-times longer to defeat hatred as it does to love our fellow man.

    Peace and love to all.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts here Richard – very much appreciated. I agree with your “solution” here – it all boils down to a separation of church and state, a line that has been heavily blurred. This is why above I mentioned that religious beliefs aside, is there any justification as to why being gay is “wrong”? If there is, I’d love to hear about it. The God I know and love embraces everyone, regardless of color, race, or orientation – we all have a path to enlightenment regardless of who we sleep with. LEGALLY speaking all the way to the top of the legislative hierarchy, it boggles my mind that we have not overcome this. It’s up to people like this, more and more of us, coming together to finally bring about change.

    • jason wojnar Reply

      I believe that any two people should be able to get married to each other. But, why is it that two people who get married need a marriage license? For the government ot track who is married on a census? Is it for the tax breaks? Social security reasons? Cheaper loans for cars, homes and loans? Cheaper insurance? Marriage is about love and not about government benefits. Before the 1930s, there no reason to have a big formal wedding and most people live under the common law marriage. I say, no married couples should get government benefits. Businessess (Banks and Insurance companies) can pick who the give their services to.. In this capitalistic economy, the business that treat the most customers with respect and diginity will survive. Were companies that discriminate against people based on sexual preference, age, color, sex, etc will fail. Then only then will the PEOPLE will be the bosses and not some corporate or government agency.. Bottom line, if two people dont get married based on lack of so called benefits ,then they dont love each other.

  • Richard Reply

    Thanks Matt,
    It takes a lot to wear your heart on your sleeve and I appreciate it. A year ago I was moved to tears because of the Proposition 8 vote in California. This year, with the Maine defeat (but don’t forget the small, but important victory in Washington state), we must resolve to stand firm.

    It has always boggled my mind why equal rights are on the ballot. Never before in our history has this been a ballot issue. Not with slavery. Not with desegregation. Legislatures passed laws and the people followed them. If we want to change our form of government to a… I don’t even know what it’s called with the general population passes their own laws, but this is not going to work.

    The simple solution is this: Churches have marriage licenses which grants them their religious rights. The State has Civil Unions, open for everyone which grants equal rights for everyone, thus adhering to the US Constitution.

    This is indeed another sad stain on our history… one which we continue to repeat. Hatred never survives, but it seems it takes ten-times longer to defeat hatred as it does to love our fellow man.

    Peace and love to all.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts here Richard – very much appreciated. I agree with your “solution” here – it all boils down to a separation of church and state, a line that has been heavily blurred. This is why above I mentioned that religious beliefs aside, is there any justification as to why being gay is “wrong”? If there is, I’d love to hear about it. The God I know and love embraces everyone, regardless of color, race, or orientation – we all have a path to enlightenment regardless of who we sleep with. LEGALLY speaking all the way to the top of the legislative hierarchy, it boggles my mind that we have not overcome this. It’s up to people like this, more and more of us, coming together to finally bring about change.

  • Ellie Reply

    You’ve inspired me to fight even harder.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank you Ellie! You (and everyone else here) have inspired me to not be afraid in opening up when the time is right. I don’t typically post such emotionally-charged articles but sometimes, it takes one person to really be a catalyst in inspiring a discussion like this. This is why I blog, and why everyone should think about blogging. The words of one person can really impact many.

  • Ellie Reply

    You’ve inspired me to fight even harder.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank you Ellie! You (and everyone else here) have inspired me to not be afraid in opening up when the time is right. I don’t typically post such emotionally-charged articles but sometimes, it takes one person to really be a catalyst in inspiring a discussion like this. This is why I blog, and why everyone should think about blogging. The words of one person can really impact many.

  • Chanthana Reply

    Matt – thanks for sharing your story. This is a great post. Love shouldn’t be conditional and neither should our rights. I echo Richard’s sentiment –> Peace and love to all. (Not some… all)

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Well put Chanthana – Who are we to decide who is and is not provided with equal rights? “Love shouldn’t be conditional, and neither should our rights” – I couldn’t have said it any better myself. Domo.

  • Chanthana Reply

    Matt – thanks for sharing your story. This is a great post. Love shouldn’t be conditional and neither should our rights. I echo Richard’s sentiment –> Peace and love to all. (Not some… all)

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Well put Chanthana – Who are we to decide who is and is not provided with equal rights? “Love shouldn’t be conditional, and neither should our rights” – I couldn’t have said it any better myself. Domo.

  • Rich DeMatteo Reply

    Hi Matt – I agree with you completely. It’s disheartening that over half voted against it, taking away legal benefits of those they vote against. When I think about it, it seems as if people forget that they are literally casting away HUMANS. People made of the same flesh, blood, and bones that we are all made out of. Why should they not receive the rights that someone else would have? It doesn’t make sense to me, but I was raised in an environment where I was taught to love everything and everyone (unless it hurts me or a family member). I can’t understand their view point, and maybe it’s because I have not lived their life.

    Thanks for bringing some thought to my morning!

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      I have seen both sides, lived in both polar opposite environments, and even I cannot explain it – some people are simply set in their ways and refuse to break free of old beliefs. Unfortunately, there is not a better explanation, or at least not one that I have found. As you said, I can’t see through the lens that casts away and rejects other human beings, especially innocent ones who are only different in their sexual preference.

  • Rich DeMatteo Reply

    Hi Matt – I agree with you completely. It’s disheartening that over half voted against it, taking away legal benefits of those they vote against. When I think about it, it seems as if people forget that they are literally casting away HUMANS. People made of the same flesh, blood, and bones that we are all made out of. Why should they not receive the rights that someone else would have? It doesn’t make sense to me, but I was raised in an environment where I was taught to love everything and everyone (unless it hurts me or a family member). I can’t understand their view point, and maybe it’s because I have not lived their life.

    Thanks for bringing some thought to my morning!

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      I have seen both sides, lived in both polar opposite environments, and even I cannot explain it – some people are simply set in their ways and refuse to break free of old beliefs. Unfortunately, there is not a better explanation, or at least not one that I have found. As you said, I can’t see through the lens that casts away and rejects other human beings, especially innocent ones who are only different in their sexual preference.

  • Gennyfer Reply

    The energy here in the Greater Portland area of Maine leading up to this vote was amazing. I felt so good about my state and the people that live here. I wish other people who are very down on Maine right now could have felt that energy too. There are a good deal of people in Maine who poured their heart and soul in to this fight for equality. We lost the battle but certainly not the war.

    Portland is the most progressive, positive, & supportive place I have ever lived and now that I’ve found my home I’d live no where else.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      I have heard this from a lot of people today Gennyfer (about the atmosphere and enthusiasm within the Maine community). Please do not take this as a bash against Maine – it is not, this could have happened and has happened in many different places – Maine simply represents the “newest” state to “take a step back” so to speak. I have no doubt that this situation has opened the eyes to so many more people – and that, moving forward, you (we) will continue to move forward. Thank you so much for coming by and sharing the perspective of someone who witnessed this first-hand.

  • Gennyfer Reply

    The energy here in the Greater Portland area of Maine leading up to this vote was amazing. I felt so good about my state and the people that live here. I wish other people who are very down on Maine right now could have felt that energy too. There are a good deal of people in Maine who poured their heart and soul in to this fight for equality. We lost the battle but certainly not the war.

    Portland is the most progressive, positive, & supportive place I have ever lived and now that I’ve found my home I’d live no where else.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      I have heard this from a lot of people today Gennyfer (about the atmosphere and enthusiasm within the Maine community). Please do not take this as a bash against Maine – it is not, this could have happened and has happened in many different places – Maine simply represents the “newest” state to “take a step back” so to speak. I have no doubt that this situation has opened the eyes to so many more people – and that, moving forward, you (we) will continue to move forward. Thank you so much for coming by and sharing the perspective of someone who witnessed this first-hand.

  • Grace Boyle Reply

    Thanks for sharing your story, Matt. I feel the same way as you and it’s frustrating and demeaning.

    I feel grateful, proud and glad to say that my home state Iowa and the state I lived in for the last four years, Vermont both have legalized same-sex marriage. However, we have to remember that in total there are only 5 states who have legalized same-sex marriage in America.

    Living in Vermont and New England in general, I felt the liberalism but it’s an interesting pull to see that virtually around the country people are told you can’t marry the person you’re in love with. It’s just hard for me to believe that someone else can take away your rights to feel, believe and love a certain way.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Grace, I could not agree with you more. Who are we to “restrict” love, and the rights that come with it? At the core, that’s what we’re really doing here – telling people that it’s OK to fall in love and marry someone of the opposite sex, but that it’s not only morally wrong, but legally not accepted to love someone of the same sex. We can go around and around with this but it will never make sense to me. It’s insanely frustrating to me, and obviously, a lot of other people.

  • Grace Boyle Reply

    Thanks for sharing your story, Matt. I feel the same way as you and it’s frustrating and demeaning.

    I feel grateful, proud and glad to say that my home state Iowa and the state I lived in for the last four years, Vermont both have legalized same-sex marriage. However, we have to remember that in total there are only 5 states who have legalized same-sex marriage in America.

    Living in Vermont and New England in general, I felt the liberalism but it’s an interesting pull to see that virtually around the country people are told you can’t marry the person you’re in love with. It’s just hard for me to believe that someone else can take away your rights to feel, believe and love a certain way.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Grace, I could not agree with you more. Who are we to “restrict” love, and the rights that come with it? At the core, that’s what we’re really doing here – telling people that it’s OK to fall in love and marry someone of the opposite sex, but that it’s not only morally wrong, but legally not accepted to love someone of the same sex. We can go around and around with this but it will never make sense to me. It’s insanely frustrating to me, and obviously, a lot of other people.

  • Lindsey Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing your story Matt! For a country that claims to be so progressive, America’s fundamental beliefs remain puritan and shockingly conservative. Just as I felt after the results of the gay marriage vote in California (prop 8), I am saddened by the realization that there still exists so much hate, close-mindedness and ignorance in the States. But the fight must continue. Your post is one of many, I’m sure, that demonstrates the will to keep fighting and to accept under no circumstances an environment that refuses to grant equal rights regardless of sexual orientation.

    You could move to Paris :)

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Haha maybe I should just pack up and move overseas, huh? I agree with your points here Lindsey but I don’t want to group everyone under the “hate” label. I think a lot of this is based in fear, fear of a lifestyle that is not understood by many. People are afraid of those things they don’t understand – While there are those extremists out there who “hate” gay people, I think much of this is based in fear. Thanks for the comment and support here Lindsey. Have to make it out to Paris one of these days – I’m assuming you’re offer means I have a free place to crash? :)

  • Lindsey Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing your story Matt! For a country that claims to be so progressive, America’s fundamental beliefs remain puritan and shockingly conservative. Just as I felt after the results of the gay marriage vote in California (prop 8), I am saddened by the realization that there still exists so much hate, close-mindedness and ignorance in the States. But the fight must continue. Your post is one of many, I’m sure, that demonstrates the will to keep fighting and to accept under no circumstances an environment that refuses to grant equal rights regardless of sexual orientation.

    You could move to Paris :)

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Haha maybe I should just pack up and move overseas, huh? I agree with your points here Lindsey but I don’t want to group everyone under the “hate” label. I think a lot of this is based in fear, fear of a lifestyle that is not understood by many. People are afraid of those things they don’t understand – While there are those extremists out there who “hate” gay people, I think much of this is based in fear. Thanks for the comment and support here Lindsey. Have to make it out to Paris one of these days – I’m assuming you’re offer means I have a free place to crash? :)

  • Seth W Reply

    After reading this post and the other comments I understand I am in the minority here…

    Let me explain the other sides argument the way I see it, and also let me say that too much of this debate is illogical, emotional, and tainted with hate (and if we are all being honest, its reeks on both sides equally).

    The argument for me is not about health care, social security, investments, etc. I think everyone should have these privileges (from my legal background.. I don’t feel these are inherent rights, but important privileges). For me the key is in the definition of marriage. As a legal and religious symbol and term.

    Political and social debates always exist whenever terms are not defined clearly and succinctly by the law and society. Marriage is one of these debates. To the different sides marriage means different things. To be even more clear, I think the entire debate is about two very different issues.

    There are those arguing for equal privileges under the law (health care, social security, etc.) and then there are those arguing about marriage. These issues should not be combined, but rather discussed as two separate issues. I am going to again state.. everyone in America should enjoy these privileges as couples.

    Marriage though is the issue. Should it be defined as between a man and a woman or are there other factors to consider. I personally believe it should be between a man and a woman only. Yes they come from religious beliefs, yes they come from societal history, and yes they come from legal and political history. I am okay admitting that, but it doesn’t mean I am narrow, dumb or hateful. I just belief the definition is clear now and should stay the same.

    My solution to the problem is for the homosexual community to get a legally binding status of their own. If civil unions are not strong enough.. that is where the fight should be directed. My question is as always.. is it really about equality of privileges or status? Does the homosexual community want the same privileges as heterosexuals or the same title?

    If its about the privileges, which is the major claim, then I think defining that clearly and developing a new legal term for that union would pass quite easily. If its really about having the same “status” as heterosexuals, then there the argument ignites. The two different issues can’t be decided together!

    Again, I hope this helps… its a difficult issue especially with so much emotion and passion mixed into the debate. Hopefully you can respect my views as I also try to understand and respect your views. The more the two sides of this issue work together to clarify what this debate is really all about, the easier it will be to make a real solution.

    • Jon Bishop Reply

      But the bigger question is, just because you think marriage should be between a man and a woman, does that make it so? We should all be allowed to form our own opinions but they shouldn’t affect others.

      • Seth W Reply

        Jon – I think for me its not about just what I think.. that was the entire point of my comment. Its about what legal, political, and societal histories have all developed. Plus.. like I said in my comment, that would not be an issue if the argument really was about privileges.

        To other commentators – I really do try to understand the conflict here and the people involved. I think its sadly ironic that many of the comments here are just as close-minded about how the “other side” is as the people they are blaming.

        Just because I believe a certain way doesn’t make me right, but neither does it make you right. Talking like my views mean I hate people and you must love everyone AND understand them because of your views is misguided and narrow. Its a complicated issue with very deep thoughts and feelings. We all should spend more time thinking about the issue before any of us start making claims about the other side.

        • Jon Bishop Reply

          It has nothing to do with what you believe. That’s what I’m trying to say. Believe whatever you want. The question is, should your beliefs affect others.

          Sorry if this is somehow coming off as aggressive in tone but I assure you it’s not.

          • Seth W Reply

            No worries.. its not coming off aggressive.

            I think for me its about precedent. In law, everything is determined from the best solutions decided from previous decisions and generations. Yes things do change, and sometimes the changes are good, but there are many things history teaches us not to change. In my opinion there are societal precedents as well. Yes they are based on history and the beliefs of a society over time, but many of them are should be enforced legally. These societal beliefs should and do have the right to affect others.

            Matt- By the way, I don’t believe America is a progressive country either, but I don’t want it to be. Progressive does not always mean progress.

            • Jon Bishop Reply

              I think the collective opinions of a group should only affect others when the others are negatively affecting the group.

            • Kelly Reply

              Your comment about precedent had me choking on my coffee.
              If we followed “legal, political, and societal histories” women wouldn’t have the right to vote. Just because something was done in the past doesn’t mean it should continue.

            • Jess Reply

              I have to agree with Kelly on this one. If we base civil/political rights on “legal, political and societal histories” and precedent, we are looking at a world of hurt. And why would you get to draw the line on which of them should be enforced legally versus someone else even less “progressive”?

              If we sanction denying rights to this group of people based on societal precedents, then do we also reverse the right to vote for women, reverse interracial marriage, even a return to slavery? All of these were legally established historical precedents. I think that if we use societal precedent as a reason to deny rights to ANY group of people, we forfeit our right to argue if someday our own rights are removed based on precedent.

              As to your argument in a comment below that denying marriage rights to and entire group of people based on who they are is the same as denying marriage to people who do not meet bureaucratic licensing requirements… really? I mean, really??

              Also, I would be curious to know what part of history you believe teaches us that this is something that we should not change.

              • Seth W Reply

                So perhaps you don’t accept my argument based on precedent.. well what can I say :) you probably wont accept my argument on anything! That doesn’t mean we both shouldn’t try!

                I see your points and I really do see Matt’s as well. I am not denying that the rights/privileges being sought after are not important. What I am trying to say is the major purpose history/society has always determined marriage as being between a man and a woman is not based upon love as much as it is upon procreation and family stability. Many gay-rights activists point a simple fact out in efforts to destroy the arguments of traditionalists with, “Look at your guys marriages… divorce, abuse, etc.” I agree, look at them.. they have problems and because of that society does.

                Families are the core of society. When they are messed up by internal and external forces they likewise mess up society. Marriage is in institution specifically designed to give legal rights to help families. There are a million what if’s and always an exceptional story or situation. But that is what marriage is for, to protect the procreation and nurturing of children.

                You probably are not going to agree. I’m not really expecting you too. Just like I am sure you think I am not going to accept your arguments.

                I do want to thank Matt and everyone for talking about this important subject. I think it is important to see why and where people are coming from. Even if we can’t agree. I don’t think you are even horrible, hateful people for thinking the way you do.. and I would hope you would feel the same for me.

        • Richard Reply

          Whether it is about privileges or the legal rights, I don’t believe those two things are mutually exclusive. According to our laws, rarely is it legal to afford one segment of the population a right (marriage license) and not give it to another. The gay rights movement is fighting for one and the same. Creating a separate type of marriage is just like creating a separate school for different types of people. By the thinking of our Founding Fathers, they knew we couldn’t have this democratic society with segregation of any kind.

          • Seth W Reply

            Legally that debate is unfounded.

            Marriage rights are not given to millions of people that do not meet the requirements of marriage whether they are in party gender, licensing, documentation, etc. Its also not segregation to give different classification of rights to different societal groups.

            For example, under the current penal codes in most states gender and age can limit or alter the privileges of many people. Segregation of schools (in the racial context) is no more similar to defining unions differently then saying that because I chose to enter and meet the requirements of Harvard Law and you chose Yale Law that we are now segregated (like the racial segregation). That argument does not work.

            Choosing a university is like most of our decisions in life, based upon our inherent attitudes and environmental preferences. We weigh our choices, understand the differing benefits and then meet the requirements necessary to get the privileges we desire. Its the same with marriage and civil unions. Just because they have different names and requirements and benefits doesn’t mean that they are exclusionary at all. I could divorce my wife and get civilly married any time I want… If I so desired (and met the requirements). Likewise, anyone could end a civil union and get married if they met the requirements.

            Having requirements to receive particular benefits is not the same as excluding. It would only be exclusionary if the law said, no matter what.. you can’t get married. But the law has not done that.

            • Richard Reply

              Well, yes, the law has done that. All Constitutional Amendments and the federal DOMA say that I can’t get married and even if I have a civil union, under federal law, they will not recognize it. That right there is creating two societies.

              Your school argument makes the assumption that being gay is a choice.

              I understand your argument about gender and age and how they do set up laws of what can and can’t be done. But as adults, surely we can agree that an adult can understand themselves, especially when no crime is being committed. My biggest issue is that we are creating second-class citizens.

              You and your wife share some 1,200+ legal rights not afforded same-sex couples. That, no matter how you slice it, is plain wrong and illegal.

              • Seth W Reply

                Richard – I’m not an expert on biology, psychology or other subjects… but I do know choosing a homosexual lifestyle is a choice. Just like choosing to get married is as well.

                My wife and I do share a variety of legal rights, some of them should be afforded to all and others should not. The purpose of marriage is not to receive incentives. Its also not just based on love – you can love without marriage. Its to give benefits to couples who can have children and then raise them. That’s why marriage has benefits to heterosexual couples.

              • Richard Reply

                Seth – I love how open this discussion has become. :-)

                However, not being a scientist and being straight, you can’t logically say you know it is a choice.

                Also, if the definition and reason for marriage benefits is to help families, have children… then what about old people who get married? What about people who get married and make a choice to not have kids? Should they not get the rights of marriage?

                I’m not wanting to get married because of the rights I will get… I want to get the rights because I will be married. Marriage is about love – you’re right about that. And you’re also right, you can love without marriage. So why are you married? And why is Matt currently engaged? Because of what marriage means to your relationship and your life.

    • Benjamin Reply

      If the joining of a man and a woman is called something different from the joining of a man and a man, that will still give companies a chance to discriminate against them with regards to health care and benefits. What would be the difference if we called same sex marriages civil unions or something else? I believe that arguing about definitions is at best a waste of time, and at worst a way to delay the issue indefinitely.

      Also, the argument that some opponents have, about same sex couples marrying just for health benefits is ludicrous. There is no reason that a man and a woman couldn’t marry each other just for benefits and have it be completely legal under the law.

      • Seth W Reply

        You are right.. the argument about marriage for benefits is ridiculous and unfounded in both logic and evidence. Arguing about definitions is not though. The reason why no one wants to have the current civil unions is because legally they do not have the same rights. Thus if civil unions gave same sex couples the same privileges as married couples, both parties could be happy. Companies could not discriminate (if they did so it would be illegal), marriage would keep its legal and societal meaning, and everyone would have the same privileges.

        • David Spinks Reply

          A definition doesn’t determine the meaning of the thing it’s defining, it just explains it. To say something shouldn’t change because of a definition, is hardly reasonable. Things change, and the definition, or explanation, of those things change along with it.

    • Cassie Holman Reply

      @Seth thanks for sharing your thoughts. Always thought-provoking to hear different sides of the argument.

      Marriage is a symbol of unity, love and dedication to another individual. I would like to know, do you believe that a gay couple can’t share the same love that a heterosexual couple can? Why should they need a different title or arrangement to express it than a heterosexual couple?

      Your proposed solution is for homosexuals “to get a legally binding status of their own”. If you agree that gay couples should be allowed equal LEGAL rights (via a civil union), then why shouldn’t this extend to marriage? In my opinion, you can’t say that gay couples are extended equal rights until they are allowed marriage.

      And in response to your question: “Does the homosexual community want the same privileges as heterosexuals or the same title?”, I would guess both! Don’t they deserve it?

      • Seth W Reply

        I believe marriage is more than just love and unity — surely they are part of a good marriage, but two people can have those things outside of marriage. What I think marriage inherently is designed for in both society and the law (and religion) is to provide essential legal rights to couples who provide new members of society through having children and raising them. They don’t always work perfectly but that’s the design of marriage, in my opinion.

        • Matt Cheuvront Reply

          I think it’s time we lose the religious connection with marriage – or start calling marriage something else. At the root of it all, this is a religious debate, and thus has no place at all in our legal system. I don’t care if it is or isn’t a choice, I’m not worried about anyone’s religious affiliation – all I care about is the legal rights of every human being in America. If you are a legal American citizen, heterosexual or not, you should be entitled to equal legal rights. I simply cannot understand an argument against allowing homosexuals to receive the rights/privileges/however you want to position it – as everyone else.

          The only argument I see here, and everywhere else, is rooted in faith. Faith and Government do not, or at least should not, go hand in hand.

  • Seth W Reply

    After reading this post and the other comments I understand I am in the minority here…

    Let me explain the other sides argument the way I see it, and also let me say that too much of this debate is illogical, emotional, and tainted with hate (and if we are all being honest, its reeks on both sides equally).

    The argument for me is not about health care, social security, investments, etc. I think everyone should have these privileges (from my legal background.. I don’t feel these are inherent rights, but important privileges). For me the key is in the definition of marriage. As a legal and religious symbol and term.

    Political and social debates always exist whenever terms are not defined clearly and succinctly by the law and society. Marriage is one of these debates. To the different sides marriage means different things. To be even more clear, I think the entire debate is about two very different issues.

    There are those arguing for equal privileges under the law (health care, social security, etc.) and then there are those arguing about marriage. These issues should not be combined, but rather discussed as two separate issues. I am going to again state.. everyone in America should enjoy these privileges as couples.

    Marriage though is the issue. Should it be defined as between a man and a woman or are there other factors to consider. I personally believe it should be between a man and a woman only. Yes they come from religious beliefs, yes they come from societal history, and yes they come from legal and political history. I am okay admitting that, but it doesn’t mean I am narrow, dumb or hateful. I just belief the definition is clear now and should stay the same.

    My solution to the problem is for the homosexual community to get a legally binding status of their own. If civil unions are not strong enough.. that is where the fight should be directed. My question is as always.. is it really about equality of privileges or status? Does the homosexual community want the same privileges as heterosexuals or the same title?

    If its about the privileges, which is the major claim, then I think defining that clearly and developing a new legal term for that union would pass quite easily. If its really about having the same “status” as heterosexuals, then there the argument ignites. The two different issues can’t be decided together!

    Again, I hope this helps… its a difficult issue especially with so much emotion and passion mixed into the debate. Hopefully you can respect my views as I also try to understand and respect your views. The more the two sides of this issue work together to clarify what this debate is really all about, the easier it will be to make a real solution.

    • Jon Bishop Reply

      But the bigger question is, just because you think marriage should be between a man and a woman, does that make it so? We should all be allowed to form our own opinions but they shouldn’t affect others.

      • Seth W Reply

        Jon – I think for me its not about just what I think.. that was the entire point of my comment. Its about what legal, political, and societal histories have all developed. Plus.. like I said in my comment, that would not be an issue if the argument really was about privileges.

        To other commentators – I really do try to understand the conflict here and the people involved. I think its sadly ironic that many of the comments here are just as close-minded about how the “other side” is as the people they are blaming.

        Just because I believe a certain way doesn’t make me right, but neither does it make you right. Talking like my views mean I hate people and you must love everyone AND understand them because of your views is misguided and narrow. Its a complicated issue with very deep thoughts and feelings. We all should spend more time thinking about the issue before any of us start making claims about the other side.

        • Jon Bishop Reply

          It has nothing to do with what you believe. That’s what I’m trying to say. Believe whatever you want. The question is, should your beliefs affect others.

          Sorry if this is somehow coming off as aggressive in tone but I assure you it’s not.

          • Seth W Reply

            No worries.. its not coming off aggressive.

            I think for me its about precedent. In law, everything is determined from the best solutions decided from previous decisions and generations. Yes things do change, and sometimes the changes are good, but there are many things history teaches us not to change. In my opinion there are societal precedents as well. Yes they are based on history and the beliefs of a society over time, but many of them are should be enforced legally. These societal beliefs should and do have the right to affect others.

            Matt- By the way, I don’t believe America is a progressive country either, but I don’t want it to be. Progressive does not always mean progress.

            • Jon Bishop Reply

              I think the collective opinions of a group should only affect others when the others are negatively affecting the group.

            • Kelly Reply

              Your comment about precedent had me choking on my coffee.
              If we followed “legal, political, and societal histories” women wouldn’t have the right to vote. Just because something was done in the past doesn’t mean it should continue.

            • Jess Reply

              I have to agree with Kelly on this one. If we base civil/political rights on “legal, political and societal histories” and precedent, we are looking at a world of hurt. And why would you get to draw the line on which of them should be enforced legally versus someone else even less “progressive”?

              If we sanction denying rights to this group of people based on societal precedents, then do we also reverse the right to vote for women, reverse interracial marriage, even a return to slavery? All of these were legally established historical precedents. I think that if we use societal precedent as a reason to deny rights to ANY group of people, we forfeit our right to argue if someday our own rights are removed based on precedent.

              As to your argument in a comment below that denying marriage rights to and entire group of people based on who they are is the same as denying marriage to people who do not meet bureaucratic licensing requirements… really? I mean, really??

              Also, I would be curious to know what part of history you believe teaches us that this is something that we should not change.

              • Seth W Reply

                So perhaps you don’t accept my argument based on precedent.. well what can I say :) you probably wont accept my argument on anything! That doesn’t mean we both shouldn’t try!

                I see your points and I really do see Matt’s as well. I am not denying that the rights/privileges being sought after are not important. What I am trying to say is the major purpose history/society has always determined marriage as being between a man and a woman is not based upon love as much as it is upon procreation and family stability. Many gay-rights activists point a simple fact out in efforts to destroy the arguments of traditionalists with, “Look at your guys marriages… divorce, abuse, etc.” I agree, look at them.. they have problems and because of that society does.

                Families are the core of society. When they are messed up by internal and external forces they likewise mess up society. Marriage is in institution specifically designed to give legal rights to help families. There are a million what if’s and always an exceptional story or situation. But that is what marriage is for, to protect the procreation and nurturing of children.

                You probably are not going to agree. I’m not really expecting you too. Just like I am sure you think I am not going to accept your arguments.

                I do want to thank Matt and everyone for talking about this important subject. I think it is important to see why and where people are coming from. Even if we can’t agree. I don’t think you are even horrible, hateful people for thinking the way you do.. and I would hope you would feel the same for me.

        • Richard Reply

          Whether it is about privileges or the legal rights, I don’t believe those two things are mutually exclusive. According to our laws, rarely is it legal to afford one segment of the population a right (marriage license) and not give it to another. The gay rights movement is fighting for one and the same. Creating a separate type of marriage is just like creating a separate school for different types of people. By the thinking of our Founding Fathers, they knew we couldn’t have this democratic society with segregation of any kind.

          • Seth W Reply

            Legally that debate is unfounded.

            Marriage rights are not given to millions of people that do not meet the requirements of marriage whether they are in party gender, licensing, documentation, etc. Its also not segregation to give different classification of rights to different societal groups.

            For example, under the current penal codes in most states gender and age can limit or alter the privileges of many people. Segregation of schools (in the racial context) is no more similar to defining unions differently then saying that because I chose to enter and meet the requirements of Harvard Law and you chose Yale Law that we are now segregated (like the racial segregation). That argument does not work.

            Choosing a university is like most of our decisions in life, based upon our inherent attitudes and environmental preferences. We weigh our choices, understand the differing benefits and then meet the requirements necessary to get the privileges we desire. Its the same with marriage and civil unions. Just because they have different names and requirements and benefits doesn’t mean that they are exclusionary at all. I could divorce my wife and get civilly married any time I want… If I so desired (and met the requirements). Likewise, anyone could end a civil union and get married if they met the requirements.

            Having requirements to receive particular benefits is not the same as excluding. It would only be exclusionary if the law said, no matter what.. you can’t get married. But the law has not done that.

            • Richard Reply

              Well, yes, the law has done that. All Constitutional Amendments and the federal DOMA say that I can’t get married and even if I have a civil union, under federal law, they will not recognize it. That right there is creating two societies.

              Your school argument makes the assumption that being gay is a choice.

              I understand your argument about gender and age and how they do set up laws of what can and can’t be done. But as adults, surely we can agree that an adult can understand themselves, especially when no crime is being committed. My biggest issue is that we are creating second-class citizens.

              You and your wife share some 1,200+ legal rights not afforded same-sex couples. That, no matter how you slice it, is plain wrong and illegal.

              • Seth W Reply

                Richard – I’m not an expert on biology, psychology or other subjects… but I do know choosing a homosexual lifestyle is a choice. Just like choosing to get married is as well.

                My wife and I do share a variety of legal rights, some of them should be afforded to all and others should not. The purpose of marriage is not to receive incentives. Its also not just based on love – you can love without marriage. Its to give benefits to couples who can have children and then raise them. That’s why marriage has benefits to heterosexual couples.

              • Richard Reply

                Seth – I love how open this discussion has become. :-)

                However, not being a scientist and being straight, you can’t logically say you know it is a choice.

                Also, if the definition and reason for marriage benefits is to help families, have children… then what about old people who get married? What about people who get married and make a choice to not have kids? Should they not get the rights of marriage?

                I’m not wanting to get married because of the rights I will get… I want to get the rights because I will be married. Marriage is about love – you’re right about that. And you’re also right, you can love without marriage. So why are you married? And why is Matt currently engaged? Because of what marriage means to your relationship and your life.

    • Benjamin Reply

      If the joining of a man and a woman is called something different from the joining of a man and a man, that will still give companies a chance to discriminate against them with regards to health care and benefits. What would be the difference if we called same sex marriages civil unions or something else? I believe that arguing about definitions is at best a waste of time, and at worst a way to delay the issue indefinitely.

      Also, the argument that some opponents have, about same sex couples marrying just for health benefits is ludicrous. There is no reason that a man and a woman couldn’t marry each other just for benefits and have it be completely legal under the law.

      • Seth W Reply

        You are right.. the argument about marriage for benefits is ridiculous and unfounded in both logic and evidence. Arguing about definitions is not though. The reason why no one wants to have the current civil unions is because legally they do not have the same rights. Thus if civil unions gave same sex couples the same privileges as married couples, both parties could be happy. Companies could not discriminate (if they did so it would be illegal), marriage would keep its legal and societal meaning, and everyone would have the same privileges.

        • David Spinks Reply

          A definition doesn’t determine the meaning of the thing it’s defining, it just explains it. To say something shouldn’t change because of a definition, is hardly reasonable. Things change, and the definition, or explanation, of those things change along with it.

    • Cassie Holman Reply

      @Seth thanks for sharing your thoughts. Always thought-provoking to hear different sides of the argument.

      Marriage is a symbol of unity, love and dedication to another individual. I would like to know, do you believe that a gay couple can’t share the same love that a heterosexual couple can? Why should they need a different title or arrangement to express it than a heterosexual couple?

      Your proposed solution is for homosexuals “to get a legally binding status of their own”. If you agree that gay couples should be allowed equal LEGAL rights (via a civil union), then why shouldn’t this extend to marriage? In my opinion, you can’t say that gay couples are extended equal rights until they are allowed marriage.

      And in response to your question: “Does the homosexual community want the same privileges as heterosexuals or the same title?”, I would guess both! Don’t they deserve it?

      • Seth W Reply

        I believe marriage is more than just love and unity — surely they are part of a good marriage, but two people can have those things outside of marriage. What I think marriage inherently is designed for in both society and the law (and religion) is to provide essential legal rights to couples who provide new members of society through having children and raising them. They don’t always work perfectly but that’s the design of marriage, in my opinion.

        • Matt Cheuvront Reply

          I think it’s time we lose the religious connection with marriage – or start calling marriage something else. At the root of it all, this is a religious debate, and thus has no place at all in our legal system. I don’t care if it is or isn’t a choice, I’m not worried about anyone’s religious affiliation – all I care about is the legal rights of every human being in America. If you are a legal American citizen, heterosexual or not, you should be entitled to equal legal rights. I simply cannot understand an argument against allowing homosexuals to receive the rights/privileges/however you want to position it – as everyone else.

          The only argument I see here, and everywhere else, is rooted in faith. Faith and Government do not, or at least should not, go hand in hand.

  • Katja Reply

    Matt this is a wonderful post and I could not agree more. Growing up in the arts community with a father who was an opera singer I was blessed with accepting and open minded parents. I was also exposed at an early age to many wonderful people whom I later learned (once I was old enough to understand) were gay. I learned early to love people for who they are and not who they love, a lesson clearly a lot of Americans still need to learn.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank you for the kind words Katja – I was the same way – growing up and living amongst the “gay community” at a very young age – which I am very grateful for. I didn’t even have the opportunity to be brought up with a narrow-minded perspective. Being accepting of EVERYONE was something that was instilled in me from very early on, and something I plan to pass along to my children.

      • Seth W Reply

        Matt – I was brought up in situations not too different then. My community and extended family is very diverse and I believe I am accepting of EVERYONE too. I just see things differently.

        Congrats on the success of this post and thanks for being open and genuine in your comments. It really helps everyone understand each other better.

        • Matt Cheuvront Reply

          We have fundamentaly different beliefes here Seth – you see being gay as a choice, I do not. I do not think I choose to be straight, I just am, it is my natural tendency to have an attraction to women. I don’t think that anyone just one day wakes up and says, “I think I’ll try the whole gay thing today”.

          Regardless of belief – I accept that everyone has an opinion. I’m glad things have maintained civility and I appreciate you bringing a diverse perspective into the discussion.

          • Seth W Reply

            I think your community is awesome to be able to discuss diverse and difficult topics. I think its great you can moderate and encourage these kinds of conversations too.

            I actually don’t believe being gay is not sometimes a very real genetic or inherent desire for some people, I just believe acting on it isn’t right. I guess that’s the major difference and whether or not anyone wants to admit it… it comes down to different moral foundations with each side claiming superiority.

            Thanks again for being really respectful and encouraging to everyone… even those you don’t agree on this subject. Your a fantastic guy.

  • Katja Reply

    Matt this is a wonderful post and I could not agree more. Growing up in the arts community with a father who was an opera singer I was blessed with accepting and open minded parents. I was also exposed at an early age to many wonderful people whom I later learned (once I was old enough to understand) were gay. I learned early to love people for who they are and not who they love, a lesson clearly a lot of Americans still need to learn.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank you for the kind words Katja – I was the same way – growing up and living amongst the “gay community” at a very young age – which I am very grateful for. I didn’t even have the opportunity to be brought up with a narrow-minded perspective. Being accepting of EVERYONE was something that was instilled in me from very early on, and something I plan to pass along to my children.

      • Seth W Reply

        Matt – I was brought up in situations not too different then. My community and extended family is very diverse and I believe I am accepting of EVERYONE too. I just see things differently.

        Congrats on the success of this post and thanks for being open and genuine in your comments. It really helps everyone understand each other better.

        • Matt Cheuvront Reply

          We have fundamentaly different beliefes here Seth – you see being gay as a choice, I do not. I do not think I choose to be straight, I just am, it is my natural tendency to have an attraction to women. I don’t think that anyone just one day wakes up and says, “I think I’ll try the whole gay thing today”.

          Regardless of belief – I accept that everyone has an opinion. I’m glad things have maintained civility and I appreciate you bringing a diverse perspective into the discussion.

          • Seth W Reply

            I think your community is awesome to be able to discuss diverse and difficult topics. I think its great you can moderate and encourage these kinds of conversations too.

            I actually don’t believe being gay is not sometimes a very real genetic or inherent desire for some people, I just believe acting on it isn’t right. I guess that’s the major difference and whether or not anyone wants to admit it… it comes down to different moral foundations with each side claiming superiority.

            Thanks again for being really respectful and encouraging to everyone… even those you don’t agree on this subject. Your a fantastic guy.

  • Jon Bishop Reply

    Great post Matt.

    It sucks, REALLY SUCKS, that there is still such my naivety in the world. This is just one piece of a bigger problem for me specifically dealing with the way religion influences some of these ideas. My family in Puerto Rico is a bit more religious than myself and I am often surprised by how they view the world. I love my abeulita but she said some things about a close relative that really threw me off concerning this relatives sexual orientation and her lost soul.

    I think a lot of people have a lot of waking up to do.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      I’m with you Jon – and I see that as the reoccurring theme here – religion. Isn’t it supposed to bring us together? More often than not, it seems to be segregating our community and dividing us apart – where exactly did we go wrong? Will we ever get to a point where religion can be UNIVERSAL, where denominations and beliefs will come together, or will religion continue to pull us further and further apart. My god is no better or more “right” then yours. People need to stop thinking that their beliefs guarantee them exclusive rights to a comfortable place in the afterlife.

      • Cheryl Elizaga Reply

        I don’t see religion as bringing people together because there isn’t just one religion, there are several. Religion is the stimulating force behind the war in the Middle East. This is an entirely different topic altogether, but who are we to intervene in the war? I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, I just think it’s a battle between two deep-rooted beliefs that goes far beyond any of us, from this side of the world, can really understand.

        For one side to win, another must lose. While some people fight for gay marriage, others oppose it. Which side is right? This is a subjective battle because priorities are different for each and every person.

        One side will scream, “If love exists between two people, they should be allowed to marry!” while the other side protests, “What’s love got to do with it?”

        I think this fight is so big because it involves 3 of the most controversial subjects: love, rights, and religion. I’m not gonna go all out and write my opinions up here, but I just wanted to say that when one side wins – no matter which side it is – the other will lose. This isn’t a matter of “right” or “wrong” to me because there IS no blanket term, it all depends on the eye of the beholder. Gay marriage opposed in California did not mean the opponents to the cause won. Neither side wins because neither side gets what they want. There is no means to compromise on this or any big situation…

        I didn’t write this to fight either side, as you can see; I’m just writing in the middle of the road, here :P

      • Cheryl Elizaga Reply

        Oh and kind of going along with what I just wrote, you writing, “People need to stop thinking that their beliefs guarantee them exclusive rights to a comfortable place in the afterlife” is also a stab at those who believe this. It’s like saying “People need to stop thinking that gay marriage is okay.” I think people are entitled to believe whatever they want.

        • Matt Cheuvront Reply

          Thanks for your comment here Cheryl – we are getting a lot of different perspectives here which has made for an incredible discussion for anyone who takes the time to read through all of this. I agree with you in that everyone and anyone is entitled to believe whatever they want – if you don’t agree with me in the acceptance of homosexuality as an “OK” lifestyle – that’s fine – we can agree to disagree. The issue here isn’t whether or not it’s acceptable – the issue here is that there are human beings, citizens of this country, who are denied rights because of who they go to bed with. If all men are created equal, why is everyone not provided with equal rights? I get the religious argument, I really do – but don’t see any validity outside of that in relation to the rights of an American citizen.

          I see what you are saying about one side losing and one winning – but I honestly believe, from a political standpoint, there can be a win-win here. Take faith out of the equation – believe what you will personally in your faith, but in terms of equal legal rights, everyone CAN be on the same page, if they started being a little more accepting of people who may be different from themselves.

  • Jon Bishop Reply

    Great post Matt.

    It sucks, REALLY SUCKS, that there is still such my naivety in the world. This is just one piece of a bigger problem for me specifically dealing with the way religion influences some of these ideas. My family in Puerto Rico is a bit more religious than myself and I am often surprised by how they view the world. I love my abeulita but she said some things about a close relative that really threw me off concerning this relatives sexual orientation and her lost soul.

    I think a lot of people have a lot of waking up to do.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      I’m with you Jon – and I see that as the reoccurring theme here – religion. Isn’t it supposed to bring us together? More often than not, it seems to be segregating our community and dividing us apart – where exactly did we go wrong? Will we ever get to a point where religion can be UNIVERSAL, where denominations and beliefs will come together, or will religion continue to pull us further and further apart. My god is no better or more “right” then yours. People need to stop thinking that their beliefs guarantee them exclusive rights to a comfortable place in the afterlife.

      • Cheryl Elizaga Reply

        I don’t see religion as bringing people together because there isn’t just one religion, there are several. Religion is the stimulating force behind the war in the Middle East. This is an entirely different topic altogether, but who are we to intervene in the war? I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, I just think it’s a battle between two deep-rooted beliefs that goes far beyond any of us, from this side of the world, can really understand.

        For one side to win, another must lose. While some people fight for gay marriage, others oppose it. Which side is right? This is a subjective battle because priorities are different for each and every person.

        One side will scream, “If love exists between two people, they should be allowed to marry!” while the other side protests, “What’s love got to do with it?”

        I think this fight is so big because it involves 3 of the most controversial subjects: love, rights, and religion. I’m not gonna go all out and write my opinions up here, but I just wanted to say that when one side wins – no matter which side it is – the other will lose. This isn’t a matter of “right” or “wrong” to me because there IS no blanket term, it all depends on the eye of the beholder. Gay marriage opposed in California did not mean the opponents to the cause won. Neither side wins because neither side gets what they want. There is no means to compromise on this or any big situation…

        I didn’t write this to fight either side, as you can see; I’m just writing in the middle of the road, here :P

      • Cheryl Elizaga Reply

        Oh and kind of going along with what I just wrote, you writing, “People need to stop thinking that their beliefs guarantee them exclusive rights to a comfortable place in the afterlife” is also a stab at those who believe this. It’s like saying “People need to stop thinking that gay marriage is okay.” I think people are entitled to believe whatever they want.

        • Matt Cheuvront Reply

          Thanks for your comment here Cheryl – we are getting a lot of different perspectives here which has made for an incredible discussion for anyone who takes the time to read through all of this. I agree with you in that everyone and anyone is entitled to believe whatever they want – if you don’t agree with me in the acceptance of homosexuality as an “OK” lifestyle – that’s fine – we can agree to disagree. The issue here isn’t whether or not it’s acceptable – the issue here is that there are human beings, citizens of this country, who are denied rights because of who they go to bed with. If all men are created equal, why is everyone not provided with equal rights? I get the religious argument, I really do – but don’t see any validity outside of that in relation to the rights of an American citizen.

          I see what you are saying about one side losing and one winning – but I honestly believe, from a political standpoint, there can be a win-win here. Take faith out of the equation – believe what you will personally in your faith, but in terms of equal legal rights, everyone CAN be on the same page, if they started being a little more accepting of people who may be different from themselves.

  • Emily Jasper Reply

    Thanks Matt. I think people forget that you need to vote every year, not just every fourth. Your post reminds us of that. One of my Sunday School kids wanted to understand why we even call it a separation of church and state, when so clearly it isn’t. We’re hoping to have that debate over the next few weeks. I’m Episcopalian, and we still deal with backlash for appointing gay bishops. Why can’t things be inclusive?

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      I’m not sure Emily, and it’s a shame. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t vote as I should – but this has inspired me to take action when and where I can to use my right to vote. We can talk about it all we want, but at some point, we have to start acting. I’ve inspired myself to do more, and hopefully a few of you to do the same.

  • Emily Jasper Reply

    Thanks Matt. I think people forget that you need to vote every year, not just every fourth. Your post reminds us of that. One of my Sunday School kids wanted to understand why we even call it a separation of church and state, when so clearly it isn’t. We’re hoping to have that debate over the next few weeks. I’m Episcopalian, and we still deal with backlash for appointing gay bishops. Why can’t things be inclusive?

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      I’m not sure Emily, and it’s a shame. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t vote as I should – but this has inspired me to take action when and where I can to use my right to vote. We can talk about it all we want, but at some point, we have to start acting. I’ve inspired myself to do more, and hopefully a few of you to do the same.

  • Teri Reply

    Here here Matt, I’m impressed that you blogged about this issue and even more impressed about your open mindedness on it. I too have a very hard time with the rationales tossed around to justify denial of rights, or privileges to groups of people because they are DIFFERENT. As you so aptly point out, we live in a multi cultural, diverse society that dares to call itself progressive. But it’s not, in reality.

    It is ironic to me that while America was founded on the principle of religious freedom, it has always been associated with the Puritan ethic, and to this day, much of the populace and leaders consider and push to frame it as a Christian country, not a country of different mindsets and philosophies. When I’ve had occasion to speak with European colleagues about American politics and attitudes, they always share their surprise at how religious so many Americans are, and how strong a force that is in their lives, and how that set of morals and personal philosophies can lead people to justify their abhorrence of those that are different from themselves. That too is ironic at best, repulsive at worst. What ever happened to the idea of tolerance?

    I have never understood the objection to letting adults commit for life to a partner of their choice. Inevitably those who’d continue to deny this right to homosexuals use their next breath to rail against gay promiscuity while conveniently ignoring the flagrant adultery and hypocrisy displayed by married heterosexuals.

    To me, marriage is a life choice, not a religious choice. Some opt to celebrate it with religion, some do not, but let’s not let our religious leanings deny people the right to commit to the partner of their choice from a legal and civil rights standpoint.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Hear, Hear Teri. I honestly could not have summed this up any better. It is a LIFE choice. But even if we want to label marriage as a religious act, let that be up to the church, but keep it separate from the government system. The only basis a state government has in denying gay marriage is rooted in religious beliefs – the two do not, or at least should not, go hand in hand. As several have mentioned – Give equal RIGHTS to all, and if some churches want to turn away homosexuals, let it be there prerogative. You’re entitled to an opinion, but the government should not restrict any human being of equality.

  • Teri Reply

    Here here Matt, I’m impressed that you blogged about this issue and even more impressed about your open mindedness on it. I too have a very hard time with the rationales tossed around to justify denial of rights, or privileges to groups of people because they are DIFFERENT. As you so aptly point out, we live in a multi cultural, diverse society that dares to call itself progressive. But it’s not, in reality.

    It is ironic to me that while America was founded on the principle of religious freedom, it has always been associated with the Puritan ethic, and to this day, much of the populace and leaders consider and push to frame it as a Christian country, not a country of different mindsets and philosophies. When I’ve had occasion to speak with European colleagues about American politics and attitudes, they always share their surprise at how religious so many Americans are, and how strong a force that is in their lives, and how that set of morals and personal philosophies can lead people to justify their abhorrence of those that are different from themselves. That too is ironic at best, repulsive at worst. What ever happened to the idea of tolerance?

    I have never understood the objection to letting adults commit for life to a partner of their choice. Inevitably those who’d continue to deny this right to homosexuals use their next breath to rail against gay promiscuity while conveniently ignoring the flagrant adultery and hypocrisy displayed by married heterosexuals.

    To me, marriage is a life choice, not a religious choice. Some opt to celebrate it with religion, some do not, but let’s not let our religious leanings deny people the right to commit to the partner of their choice from a legal and civil rights standpoint.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Hear, Hear Teri. I honestly could not have summed this up any better. It is a LIFE choice. But even if we want to label marriage as a religious act, let that be up to the church, but keep it separate from the government system. The only basis a state government has in denying gay marriage is rooted in religious beliefs – the two do not, or at least should not, go hand in hand. As several have mentioned – Give equal RIGHTS to all, and if some churches want to turn away homosexuals, let it be there prerogative. You’re entitled to an opinion, but the government should not restrict any human being of equality.

  • Sheema Reply

    Matt, this is such a great post and I agree with you 100% It saddens me that people are so close-minded and scared of change that they would deny people the right to be happy and love.

    I understand that people have religious beliefs that may conflict with gay marriage, but just because you believe something doesn’t mean its the right belief and it doesn’t mean that everyone else will think the same things. People need to learn to live and let live.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      This is what I don’t understand Sheema – why can’t people just worry about themselves? It’s not about accepting something, or allowing it, or restricting rights – just live your life and let others live theirs – this denial of anything that is different is such a waste of time.

  • Sheema Reply

    Matt, this is such a great post and I agree with you 100% It saddens me that people are so close-minded and scared of change that they would deny people the right to be happy and love.

    I understand that people have religious beliefs that may conflict with gay marriage, but just because you believe something doesn’t mean its the right belief and it doesn’t mean that everyone else will think the same things. People need to learn to live and let live.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      This is what I don’t understand Sheema – why can’t people just worry about themselves? It’s not about accepting something, or allowing it, or restricting rights – just live your life and let others live theirs – this denial of anything that is different is such a waste of time.

  • JR Moreau Reply

    Cheers to you Matt for stepping up and saying this. I completely agree. Being from Massachusetts I guess I’m always a little shocked when so many people lean in the sad directions on voting on what other people’s rights are.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      I wish we could get a few people in here who did vote against – if nothing else – I’d really be interested in hearing what their logic or reasoning is. I strongly believe a lot of people’s values are there because they think they’re “supposed to be there” – even though they may have no clue why. It’s a damn shame.

  • JR Moreau Reply

    Cheers to you Matt for stepping up and saying this. I completely agree. Being from Massachusetts I guess I’m always a little shocked when so many people lean in the sad directions on voting on what other people’s rights are.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      I wish we could get a few people in here who did vote against – if nothing else – I’d really be interested in hearing what their logic or reasoning is. I strongly believe a lot of people’s values are there because they think they’re “supposed to be there” – even though they may have no clue why. It’s a damn shame.

  • Stuart Foster Reply

    Is it wrong? Yes. Should the vitriol be directed at a single state?

    No.

    Lots of other states voted the same way.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Stuart. I realize the title may be misleading but this is in NO WAY an attack on the state of Maine. I could have easily called this “Why I won’t be going back to Tennessee anytime soon” (my home state that will probably NEVER vote FOR gay marriage rights). The vote happened in Maine yesterday, and those results represent an overall population of people who remain resistant to change and diversity.

  • Stuart Foster Reply

    Is it wrong? Yes. Should the vitriol be directed at a single state?

    No.

    Lots of other states voted the same way.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Stuart. I realize the title may be misleading but this is in NO WAY an attack on the state of Maine. I could have easily called this “Why I won’t be going back to Tennessee anytime soon” (my home state that will probably NEVER vote FOR gay marriage rights). The vote happened in Maine yesterday, and those results represent an overall population of people who remain resistant to change and diversity.

  • DrJohnDrozdal Reply

    Thanks you for another courageous post!

    We are in the midst of a major social and economic change in the world – quite similar in magnitude to the American Revolution. Whenever, there are periods of major social change where institutions get challenged, there will always be people who resist the change – and that is what is going on in Maine and among those that resist progressive ideas – like health care reform. Keep in mind, that during the American Revolution less than 40% of the colonists actually supported it – most did not want to break with England. Yet, the rest, as they say, is history. Time is on the side of the revolutionaries.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank you for reading and commenting John. I am on your side here – and I have complete faith that my generation will bring about and enact the change that is currently being resisted – it all takes time, but, as people before me thought of people before them, it’s disappointing to see so much resistance to change that is ultimately inevitable.

  • DrJohnDrozdal Reply

    Thanks you for another courageous post!

    We are in the midst of a major social and economic change in the world – quite similar in magnitude to the American Revolution. Whenever, there are periods of major social change where institutions get challenged, there will always be people who resist the change – and that is what is going on in Maine and among those that resist progressive ideas – like health care reform. Keep in mind, that during the American Revolution less than 40% of the colonists actually supported it – most did not want to break with England. Yet, the rest, as they say, is history. Time is on the side of the revolutionaries.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank you for reading and commenting John. I am on your side here – and I have complete faith that my generation will bring about and enact the change that is currently being resisted – it all takes time, but, as people before me thought of people before them, it’s disappointing to see so much resistance to change that is ultimately inevitable.

  • Earl Reply

    For me, it all comes down to “How does someone else’s sexual preference effect ME in any way”?
    It doesn’t, at all. We’re all here for only a short time on this planet…we should therefore be trying our best to seek happiness for both ourselves and others. Let people be happy and be treated equally, what’s the big deal? Life is all about change anyway. None of us would be living the way we do today without some major changes in societal beliefs at some point throughout time. The change will happen eventually, so why stand in the way?

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      There’s really nothing else to say here Earl, you are 100% spot on. Are we on this world to limit and restrict the happiness of others, or to bring happiness to ourselves and spread that love to as many people as possible? I’ll side with the latter, every time. Why should I care, at all, who my neighbor is sleeping with, who my mom is in love with? I don’t, at all. There are other REAL problems in the world, telling someone they can’t get married because they’re gay is SO petty in the grand scheme of things.

  • Earl Reply

    For me, it all comes down to “How does someone else’s sexual preference effect ME in any way”?
    It doesn’t, at all. We’re all here for only a short time on this planet…we should therefore be trying our best to seek happiness for both ourselves and others. Let people be happy and be treated equally, what’s the big deal? Life is all about change anyway. None of us would be living the way we do today without some major changes in societal beliefs at some point throughout time. The change will happen eventually, so why stand in the way?

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      There’s really nothing else to say here Earl, you are 100% spot on. Are we on this world to limit and restrict the happiness of others, or to bring happiness to ourselves and spread that love to as many people as possible? I’ll side with the latter, every time. Why should I care, at all, who my neighbor is sleeping with, who my mom is in love with? I don’t, at all. There are other REAL problems in the world, telling someone they can’t get married because they’re gay is SO petty in the grand scheme of things.

  • Kelly Reply

    Great post, Matt.
    You really put yourself into this post, and I admire that.
    I completely agree with you, and was saddened by the vote in Maine, but I know we will keep fighting.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank you Kelly – every once in a while we have to take a break from the blogging advice and Social Media wisdom to take a look at the real life around us. The result, with the community that’s been established here, is an amazing discussion that can’t help but inspire anyone who takes the time to read it. Cheers!

  • Kelly Reply

    Great post, Matt.
    You really put yourself into this post, and I admire that.
    I completely agree with you, and was saddened by the vote in Maine, but I know we will keep fighting.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank you Kelly – every once in a while we have to take a break from the blogging advice and Social Media wisdom to take a look at the real life around us. The result, with the community that’s been established here, is an amazing discussion that can’t help but inspire anyone who takes the time to read it. Cheers!

  • Mandy Reply

    Definitions do matter when there is a subtler nuance to be gleaned from them but in the case of same-sex marriage, the terms civil-union and marriage mean essentially the same thing. I have difficulties distinguishing between the two if both commence between two partners, both receive health benefits, insurance benefits, are legally recognized as each other’s partners in life and all associated benefits couples have. In this case, using different terms to describe the act of two people legally, morally and personally bound to one another is detrimental–to the same sex couple because the weight of history and societal mores are behind “marriage” to be defined as one man, one woman.

    However, the weight of history and societal mores is not a good enough reason to essentially categorize a subsection of people into a secondary tier. Even if this is not explicitly stated, it is implied in the weight put behind the value of the word “marriage” and its connotations that civil-unions are not as legitimate. As such, it also socially segregates civil-unions into a secondary class of citizenship which includes the way their rights and legitimacy are perceived, which to me, are completely unacceptable. It doesn’t contravene any legal reasons to permit civil-unions but it certainly puts civil-unions and people who have them–namely the LGBTQ community–into a social strata that clearly marks them as “others”. It is easy enough to say that logically this shouldn’t happen since the law doesn’t distinguish between the two but socially, the perception of civil-unions as second tier does prevail. It is one of the reasons why civil-unions are often used as a term, a sop if you will, to ease the LGBTQ community as “good enough” because it essentially states that, “Yeah, you get all the rights but be always reminded that you are in a civil union, not a marriage.” In other words, it’s legal but not legitimate. Keep in mind that many LGBTQ are religious themselves; being gay does not preclude you from following any faith (it just makes it harder depending on which one). I’m not religious myself but I can imagine how ostracizing it can be to not have your union acknowledged in a traditional manner.

    I have no opinion either way as to what you would call this union but it’s simply unfair to suggest that marriage is for the traditional pairing of one man and one woman and civil-unions are for everyone else, but that’s essentially what is being argued. I think a middle ground, right now in this day and age, is to accept civil-unions as the first step in a continuum towards full acceptance.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank you for the comment Mandy. I agree that the gay community can and does foster religion – My mom and her partner celebrated their Civil Union under the Methodist faith (I believe) as it was very accepting of that lifestyle. As with everything, religion can be interpreted in a million different ways – the Bible was written by men, which thus leaves it up for interpretation.

      It is unfair, I agree with you – but I have complete faith that we will see equal rights throughout our nation – the collective spirit proves there are many who will make sure that happens.

  • Mandy Reply

    Definitions do matter when there is a subtler nuance to be gleaned from them but in the case of same-sex marriage, the terms civil-union and marriage mean essentially the same thing. I have difficulties distinguishing between the two if both commence between two partners, both receive health benefits, insurance benefits, are legally recognized as each other’s partners in life and all associated benefits couples have. In this case, using different terms to describe the act of two people legally, morally and personally bound to one another is detrimental–to the same sex couple because the weight of history and societal mores are behind “marriage” to be defined as one man, one woman.

    However, the weight of history and societal mores is not a good enough reason to essentially categorize a subsection of people into a secondary tier. Even if this is not explicitly stated, it is implied in the weight put behind the value of the word “marriage” and its connotations that civil-unions are not as legitimate. As such, it also socially segregates civil-unions into a secondary class of citizenship which includes the way their rights and legitimacy are perceived, which to me, are completely unacceptable. It doesn’t contravene any legal reasons to permit civil-unions but it certainly puts civil-unions and people who have them–namely the LGBTQ community–into a social strata that clearly marks them as “others”. It is easy enough to say that logically this shouldn’t happen since the law doesn’t distinguish between the two but socially, the perception of civil-unions as second tier does prevail. It is one of the reasons why civil-unions are often used as a term, a sop if you will, to ease the LGBTQ community as “good enough” because it essentially states that, “Yeah, you get all the rights but be always reminded that you are in a civil union, not a marriage.” In other words, it’s legal but not legitimate. Keep in mind that many LGBTQ are religious themselves; being gay does not preclude you from following any faith (it just makes it harder depending on which one). I’m not religious myself but I can imagine how ostracizing it can be to not have your union acknowledged in a traditional manner.

    I have no opinion either way as to what you would call this union but it’s simply unfair to suggest that marriage is for the traditional pairing of one man and one woman and civil-unions are for everyone else, but that’s essentially what is being argued. I think a middle ground, right now in this day and age, is to accept civil-unions as the first step in a continuum towards full acceptance.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank you for the comment Mandy. I agree that the gay community can and does foster religion – My mom and her partner celebrated their Civil Union under the Methodist faith (I believe) as it was very accepting of that lifestyle. As with everything, religion can be interpreted in a million different ways – the Bible was written by men, which thus leaves it up for interpretation.

      It is unfair, I agree with you – but I have complete faith that we will see equal rights throughout our nation – the collective spirit proves there are many who will make sure that happens.

  • Jess Reply

    While gay marriage has always been a particularly hot-button and personal issue for me, what really drove the point home was my own marriage this year. My marriage instantly conferred on me a whole host of rights and benefits – financial, legal, and medical. One of our witnesses was my best friend, who happens to be gay. It wasn’t fair. And it broke my heart to stand there next to him and be granted rights that he is denied.

    It baffles me that, given our country’s professed values, it is considered acceptable to take away rights of a targeted group of people.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      It is sad Jess, very sad. It’s not fair that my Dad and step-mom get full legal rights while my Mom and other step-mom are denied everything. It really makes no sense. Thank you for coming by and sharing your story – I have no doubt that conversations like this will really shed light on a new perspective for our community.

      • Jess Reply

        Thank you for your post, and for fostering the discussion going on in the comments. I agree with you completely and hope you are correct that conversations like this will make a difference.

        I just cannot understand those on the other side who argue from the standpoint of “protecting marriage and families.” I do not feel that my marriage or my family is made stronger by denying others’ rights. Rather, I feel all our humanity is weakened :(.

  • Jess Reply

    While gay marriage has always been a particularly hot-button and personal issue for me, what really drove the point home was my own marriage this year. My marriage instantly conferred on me a whole host of rights and benefits – financial, legal, and medical. One of our witnesses was my best friend, who happens to be gay. It wasn’t fair. And it broke my heart to stand there next to him and be granted rights that he is denied.

    It baffles me that, given our country’s professed values, it is considered acceptable to take away rights of a targeted group of people.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      It is sad Jess, very sad. It’s not fair that my Dad and step-mom get full legal rights while my Mom and other step-mom are denied everything. It really makes no sense. Thank you for coming by and sharing your story – I have no doubt that conversations like this will really shed light on a new perspective for our community.

      • Jess Reply

        Thank you for your post, and for fostering the discussion going on in the comments. I agree with you completely and hope you are correct that conversations like this will make a difference.

        I just cannot understand those on the other side who argue from the standpoint of “protecting marriage and families.” I do not feel that my marriage or my family is made stronger by denying others’ rights. Rather, I feel all our humanity is weakened :(.

  • Patrice Reply

    Hi Matt! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this topic and being open-minded about the situation. I’m all for diversity and oppose those who are resistant to change. I feel that in order to grow, we all must change. I think many take homosexuality and twist and turn it into something that it is not. I’m going to commit myself to the woman I choose, regardless of what the politicians says. Being a member of the LGBT community, all we want is equal rights in regards to the benefits that “married” couples receive. It’s not about a title or a label, it’s about being recognized as a loving monogamous couple. My spouse and I got “married” in Windsor, ON a couple years ago. In Canada, we’re married, but it is null and void in the states until they decide to honor it. Some may ask what was the purpose if people wouldn’t honor it. Well, it was important to us, as it symbolized our relationship. Thanks again for being open-minded.

    LeadTheWayOut.com

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank you for coming through and sharing your story. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you and getting to know you off my blog. It’s ridiculous to me that you can be considered married on one border and not another – really boggles my mind. But cheers to you! I know that equal rights for all is in our future!

  • Patrice Reply

    Hi Matt! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this topic and being open-minded about the situation. I’m all for diversity and oppose those who are resistant to change. I feel that in order to grow, we all must change. I think many take homosexuality and twist and turn it into something that it is not. I’m going to commit myself to the woman I choose, regardless of what the politicians says. Being a member of the LGBT community, all we want is equal rights in regards to the benefits that “married” couples receive. It’s not about a title or a label, it’s about being recognized as a loving monogamous couple. My spouse and I got “married” in Windsor, ON a couple years ago. In Canada, we’re married, but it is null and void in the states until they decide to honor it. Some may ask what was the purpose if people wouldn’t honor it. Well, it was important to us, as it symbolized our relationship. Thanks again for being open-minded.

    LeadTheWayOut.com

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank you for coming through and sharing your story. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you and getting to know you off my blog. It’s ridiculous to me that you can be considered married on one border and not another – really boggles my mind. But cheers to you! I know that equal rights for all is in our future!

  • josh copeland Reply

    the finer points of the argument aside, I admire your willingness to post personal thoughts on the subject. some may find bloggers to be a cavalier bunch, willing to “share” their thoughts with little regard to research or structure.. but I consider some of the best bloggers are willing to risk sharing their own honest opinion — even if it’s counter to the prevailing sentiment.

    the gay rights issues will be a fight for both sides for many years to come, and even if the gay people of Maine lost this time, they still gain in awareness of the issue and a healthy debate by more and more people. (just like in the commentary below your post here)

    Props for being willing to share your personal feelings on the matter.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank you for the support Josh – what this conversation and community output has showed me is that there are MANY people who are committed to being catalysts for change in our country. While I don’t typically post about “emotional” issues such as this, from time to time, you have to let readers see the real you, what you’re passionate about, and why you are who you are. I couldn’t have ever predicted a response like this.

  • josh copeland Reply

    the finer points of the argument aside, I admire your willingness to post personal thoughts on the subject. some may find bloggers to be a cavalier bunch, willing to “share” their thoughts with little regard to research or structure.. but I consider some of the best bloggers are willing to risk sharing their own honest opinion — even if it’s counter to the prevailing sentiment.

    the gay rights issues will be a fight for both sides for many years to come, and even if the gay people of Maine lost this time, they still gain in awareness of the issue and a healthy debate by more and more people. (just like in the commentary below your post here)

    Props for being willing to share your personal feelings on the matter.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank you for the support Josh – what this conversation and community output has showed me is that there are MANY people who are committed to being catalysts for change in our country. While I don’t typically post about “emotional” issues such as this, from time to time, you have to let readers see the real you, what you’re passionate about, and why you are who you are. I couldn’t have ever predicted a response like this.

  • JoeTaxpayer Reply

    I’m looking forward to the day I’ll never hear about this again.
    When any reference to this issue is met with a blank stare and the person asking “what do mean? there was a time they didn’t allow two people to get married?”
    Although, as with the judge who recently wouldn’t marry a black/white couple, an issue I thought was resolved long ago, I suspect this one will have a long tail, and slow painful progress.
    As a straight guy, I observe that acceptance and understanding is the first step. Once younger people are not afraid to be open about who they are, either to their family or peers, that’s progress.
    I have a cousin now in his 60′s who was the most right wing, bigoted person on the planet, if one can imagine that. When I found out his daughter was gay, I laughed, and told my closer family members “God’s way of setting (the cousin) right with the world.”
    I wish you well.

  • JoeTaxpayer Reply

    I’m looking forward to the day I’ll never hear about this again.
    When any reference to this issue is met with a blank stare and the person asking “what do mean? there was a time they didn’t allow two people to get married?”
    Although, as with the judge who recently wouldn’t marry a black/white couple, an issue I thought was resolved long ago, I suspect this one will have a long tail, and slow painful progress.
    As a straight guy, I observe that acceptance and understanding is the first step. Once younger people are not afraid to be open about who they are, either to their family or peers, that’s progress.
    I have a cousin now in his 60′s who was the most right wing, bigoted person on the planet, if one can imagine that. When I found out his daughter was gay, I laughed, and told my closer family members “God’s way of setting (the cousin) right with the world.”
    I wish you well.

  • Ashley Wirthlin Reply

    Hey Matt,

    I am always so moved to hear opinions like this! Though I shouldn’t be surprised at someone being open, because everyone has the capacity to be, it seems hard to find people who are willing to let others be, regardless of their own opinions and way of life.

    This brings to mind a quote from Aristotle I enjoy: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” It’s awfully depressing to see gay lifestyles not accepted, let alone entertained. We ought to be able to entertain the idea that others will live different lives without accepting that sort of lifestyle as our own. (I think that the above quote shows the lack of educated minds in our country when discrimination, the depravation of rights, and lack of equality are so prevalent.) I guess it’s always been the American way to impress our beliefs onto others.

    Anyways, thanks for being bold enough to share these thoughts! If I had the ability to post such a commentary on my own blog, I definitely would!

    -Ashley

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank you for adding to the discussion here Ashley – I love the Aristotle quote, it is spot on. A true sign of brilliance is someone who is firm in their beliefs, but open minded to accept other perspectives and ideas. I hope you’ll come back through these woods from time to time – look forward to chatting more in the future!

      • Ashley Wirthlin Reply

        Sure thing. It was a great post; I couldn’t not comment. I felt the quote was appropriate. Glad you liked it enough to tweet it!

        I’ll make a point to join the discussion more often!

        -Ashley

  • Ashley Wirthlin Reply

    Hey Matt,

    I am always so moved to hear opinions like this! Though I shouldn’t be surprised at someone being open, because everyone has the capacity to be, it seems hard to find people who are willing to let others be, regardless of their own opinions and way of life.

    This brings to mind a quote from Aristotle I enjoy: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” It’s awfully depressing to see gay lifestyles not accepted, let alone entertained. We ought to be able to entertain the idea that others will live different lives without accepting that sort of lifestyle as our own. (I think that the above quote shows the lack of educated minds in our country when discrimination, the depravation of rights, and lack of equality are so prevalent.) I guess it’s always been the American way to impress our beliefs onto others.

    Anyways, thanks for being bold enough to share these thoughts! If I had the ability to post such a commentary on my own blog, I definitely would!

    -Ashley

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank you for adding to the discussion here Ashley – I love the Aristotle quote, it is spot on. A true sign of brilliance is someone who is firm in their beliefs, but open minded to accept other perspectives and ideas. I hope you’ll come back through these woods from time to time – look forward to chatting more in the future!

      • Ashley Wirthlin Reply

        Sure thing. It was a great post; I couldn’t not comment. I felt the quote was appropriate. Glad you liked it enough to tweet it!

        I’ll make a point to join the discussion more often!

        -Ashley

  • Sydney Owen Reply

    Dude. Right on. And good for you. I’ve had no problem talking about my thoughts on all of this because I’ve been intertwined with this community for as long as I can remember. My uncle is gay and lost the love of his life to HIV/AIDS. I’ve written about this for school but never blogged about it. Courtesy of my uncle, his thoughts (as well as mine) are simple. He didn’t choose this life. I remember when I was old enough to really understand why Uncle Mike was so eccentric, we talked about it and he said to me very plainly: “Sydney, do you think I would choose to be ridiculed, denied civil rights and stereotyped? None of us CHOOSE this, we just ARE”.

    Having worked at Walt Disney World in the Entertainment department, I didn’t have any straight guy friends for the first 2 years I lived in Florida. Every. Single. One. was gay. And it was accepted. It was beautiful.

    When it comes to marriage – it should be about love. My parents have been married for 28 years now and they are so HAPPY and LOVE so much, it’s ridiculous. What they have is what I strive for.

    My sister, who lives with two of her gay friends, recently joined a pretty progressive church where A LOT of the Disney cast members go. The message isn’t about WHO is doing the loving, be it two men, two women, or a man and a woman, but about the fact that there is LOVE to be had.

    At the end of the day – it’s about love. And it shouldn’t matter what box they check when they check “Gender” either. Let people love – for crying out loud there are so many people that are miserable, so many people that have completely shit on the idea of what marriage is supposed to be with the abuse, dishonesty and manipulation. The whole idea of what a good marriage even consists of is so convoluted that we should just start over and let people who want to marry, marry.

    ::stepping off soapbox::

    Thank you, I needed that.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      The fact that people are more accepting of adultery than homosexuality is mind boggling to me (touching on your point of what consists of a GOOD marriage). As you said, it’s about LOVE – whoever you love, you love – it’s not a choice, it’s that gut, butterflies in your stomach feeling. I felt it four years ago when I met my fiance, it didn’t take me long to realize that she was the one. The same can be said for anyone who meets and falls in love with that one person who really completes you. To deny rights, to shoot down love, because it happens to be with someone of the same sex, is just plain wrong. Well said Sydney – thank you for being a part of this conversation – you’re more than welcome to hop back up on the soapbox any time. :)

  • Sydney Owen Reply

    Dude. Right on. And good for you. I’ve had no problem talking about my thoughts on all of this because I’ve been intertwined with this community for as long as I can remember. My uncle is gay and lost the love of his life to HIV/AIDS. I’ve written about this for school but never blogged about it. Courtesy of my uncle, his thoughts (as well as mine) are simple. He didn’t choose this life. I remember when I was old enough to really understand why Uncle Mike was so eccentric, we talked about it and he said to me very plainly: “Sydney, do you think I would choose to be ridiculed, denied civil rights and stereotyped? None of us CHOOSE this, we just ARE”.

    Having worked at Walt Disney World in the Entertainment department, I didn’t have any straight guy friends for the first 2 years I lived in Florida. Every. Single. One. was gay. And it was accepted. It was beautiful.

    When it comes to marriage – it should be about love. My parents have been married for 28 years now and they are so HAPPY and LOVE so much, it’s ridiculous. What they have is what I strive for.

    My sister, who lives with two of her gay friends, recently joined a pretty progressive church where A LOT of the Disney cast members go. The message isn’t about WHO is doing the loving, be it two men, two women, or a man and a woman, but about the fact that there is LOVE to be had.

    At the end of the day – it’s about love. And it shouldn’t matter what box they check when they check “Gender” either. Let people love – for crying out loud there are so many people that are miserable, so many people that have completely shit on the idea of what marriage is supposed to be with the abuse, dishonesty and manipulation. The whole idea of what a good marriage even consists of is so convoluted that we should just start over and let people who want to marry, marry.

    ::stepping off soapbox::

    Thank you, I needed that.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      The fact that people are more accepting of adultery than homosexuality is mind boggling to me (touching on your point of what consists of a GOOD marriage). As you said, it’s about LOVE – whoever you love, you love – it’s not a choice, it’s that gut, butterflies in your stomach feeling. I felt it four years ago when I met my fiance, it didn’t take me long to realize that she was the one. The same can be said for anyone who meets and falls in love with that one person who really completes you. To deny rights, to shoot down love, because it happens to be with someone of the same sex, is just plain wrong. Well said Sydney – thank you for being a part of this conversation – you’re more than welcome to hop back up on the soapbox any time. :)

  • Sam Davidson Reply

    Matt: you’ve done a very valuable thing here. You’ve created conversation and community. I encourage everyone to go read all of the comments. There are a lot of Gen Y folks who weighed agreeing with you, which gives me hope that my generation will one day right this wrong.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank you Sam. This has been a powerful reminder in the value of community – and what a simple tweet here and a blog post there can create. It’s clear to me now, if it wasn’t before, that there are many, many passionate and inspired people who will bring about change in the world that we live in. It’s up to you, myself, and everyone else who will act as a catalyst to inspire others to get on board. Since I had the pleasure of meeting you a few years ago you have and continue to serve as inspiration for me. Cheers!

  • Sam Davidson Reply

    Matt: you’ve done a very valuable thing here. You’ve created conversation and community. I encourage everyone to go read all of the comments. There are a lot of Gen Y folks who weighed agreeing with you, which gives me hope that my generation will one day right this wrong.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank you Sam. This has been a powerful reminder in the value of community – and what a simple tweet here and a blog post there can create. It’s clear to me now, if it wasn’t before, that there are many, many passionate and inspired people who will bring about change in the world that we live in. It’s up to you, myself, and everyone else who will act as a catalyst to inspire others to get on board. Since I had the pleasure of meeting you a few years ago you have and continue to serve as inspiration for me. Cheers!

  • Ryan Rancatore Reply

    Matt, awesome post that really strikes a chord with me. My mom is gay too, and one of the few to be legally married (in San Francisco during the window in which it was possible).

    Kudos to you for speaking up on an issue so close to your heart. You and I happen to have similar professional interests, but I might have never connected with you if not for this very personal post.

    Thanks for speaking up and encouraging others like myself to do the same.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Funny how that works out sometimes, eh? Sometimes it takes something personal to make a professional connection. Thanks for coming by and sharing some encouraging words Ryan. I look forward to chatting with you more in the future!

  • Ryan Rancatore Reply

    Matt, awesome post that really strikes a chord with me. My mom is gay too, and one of the few to be legally married (in San Francisco during the window in which it was possible).

    Kudos to you for speaking up on an issue so close to your heart. You and I happen to have similar professional interests, but I might have never connected with you if not for this very personal post.

    Thanks for speaking up and encouraging others like myself to do the same.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Funny how that works out sometimes, eh? Sometimes it takes something personal to make a professional connection. Thanks for coming by and sharing some encouraging words Ryan. I look forward to chatting with you more in the future!

  • Abby Reply

    Great post, Matt. I completely agree. Who people marry shouldn’t be up for vote and it is nobody’s business but the two people wanting to get married. I hate that it ended up this way but hope other states wont’ make the same mistake.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Abby! Thanks for coming by. Nice to get more “real life” friends wandering through these parts from time to time. Other states WILL make that mistake, but hopefully, in time, less of these poor decisions will be made. Resisting change is natural, albeit stubborn and ill-guided. It’s up to people like us to convince and re-convince people that change is OK, and that accepting people who are different won’t kill you.

  • Abby Reply

    Great post, Matt. I completely agree. Who people marry shouldn’t be up for vote and it is nobody’s business but the two people wanting to get married. I hate that it ended up this way but hope other states wont’ make the same mistake.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Abby! Thanks for coming by. Nice to get more “real life” friends wandering through these parts from time to time. Other states WILL make that mistake, but hopefully, in time, less of these poor decisions will be made. Resisting change is natural, albeit stubborn and ill-guided. It’s up to people like us to convince and re-convince people that change is OK, and that accepting people who are different won’t kill you.

  • Priya Reply

    Thank you for this, Matt. I only wish you had shared your story BEFORE the election so it could have actually helped convince someone up here. It is too late this time around. That makes me sad and somehow, a little bit angry.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      You’re right Priya – it is a little ill-timed I suppose – but what this hopefully will do is inspire people, all over the country, to vote differently (or simply get out and vote) when this comes through their home state. The vast majority of our country is un-accepting of gay marriage, so there will be plenty of opportunities to get these votes passed in the future.

  • Priya Reply

    Thank you for this, Matt. I only wish you had shared your story BEFORE the election so it could have actually helped convince someone up here. It is too late this time around. That makes me sad and somehow, a little bit angry.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      You’re right Priya – it is a little ill-timed I suppose – but what this hopefully will do is inspire people, all over the country, to vote differently (or simply get out and vote) when this comes through their home state. The vast majority of our country is un-accepting of gay marriage, so there will be plenty of opportunities to get these votes passed in the future.

  • Benjamin Reply

    Quoting from Seth W. above:
    “Richard – I’m not an expert on biology, psychology or other subjects… but I do know choosing a homosexual lifestyle is a choice. Just like choosing to get married is as well.”

    This is always where the conversation goes downhill. Please do not tell me that you personally could choose to be homosexual. I am a heterosexual male and I know that I could never feel a sexual attraction to another man. That is the way that I have been my entire life. I would assume that goes for men who are gay as well. They didn’t know why until they were older, but they liked who they liked, in their case it just happened to be guys. I don’t have to be an expert in biology to realize that.

    We are all entitled to our own opinions on this issue. However, there is no way that you can dictate how someone else’s brain works and conclude that someone decides to be straight or gay.

    • JoeTaxpayer Reply

      Benjamin -
      That’s exactly the point. If one believes it’s a choice, they can easily claim it to be a bad one or a wrong one. Seth’s claim that Gay is the same choice as marriage is a bit off. I am straight, I didn’t choose that, I was born that way. I could choose to get married or not (I did.) As a gay friend of mine asked me, “Do you think anyone would choose to be an outcast? To not be accepted by their own families?”
      For the anti-gay crowd, the implication that God made people this way is too much for them to comprehend.
      As far as ‘family’ goes, it’s easy to run into the two dad or two mom family whose kids are better adjusted than the straight marriage family whose parents are dysfunctional.
      Your last sentence is correct, but it’s a conclusion that comes with intelligence and understanding. A few decades ago, it was up for dispute.

      • Seth W Reply

        Joe and Ben – to answer “For the anti-gay crowd, the implication that God made people this way is too much for them to comprehend.” its actually not. I am sure people are born that way in many instances of homosexuality. I never said God couldn’t or didn’t make them that way. Genetically or whatever, I still think its wrong.

        There are genetic and inherent things in all of us that we choose to either encourage or discourage. My point is whether or not you are “made” that way or not, its still not right to practice it and then seek for the same rights. I don’t hate or even dislike homosexuals, I have some in my family. I don’t think some of the things they do in practice though are good for them or society. :) You wont like this argument I am already sure.

        Also, yes there are bad marriages.. they are called failed marriages for a reason! They will always exist when couples stop providing a nurturing home for their children and an unselfish relationship.

        The key to marriage is in the ability to create life and then continue the cycle of the human family. Marriages purpose is for that entirely. The love concept is secondary to societal and community safeguards. That’s why benefits come with marriage.

        • Benjamin Reply

          The problem with this argument is that I think many opponents assume that homosexuals are very promiscuous. What if a homosexual couple never had sex? Then what behavior would be bad or unhealthy for them or society?

  • Benjamin Reply

    Quoting from Seth W. above:
    “Richard – I’m not an expert on biology, psychology or other subjects… but I do know choosing a homosexual lifestyle is a choice. Just like choosing to get married is as well.”

    This is always where the conversation goes downhill. Please do not tell me that you personally could choose to be homosexual. I am a heterosexual male and I know that I could never feel a sexual attraction to another man. That is the way that I have been my entire life. I would assume that goes for men who are gay as well. They didn’t know why until they were older, but they liked who they liked, in their case it just happened to be guys. I don’t have to be an expert in biology to realize that.

    We are all entitled to our own opinions on this issue. However, there is no way that you can dictate how someone else’s brain works and conclude that someone decides to be straight or gay.

    • JoeTaxpayer Reply

      Benjamin -
      That’s exactly the point. If one believes it’s a choice, they can easily claim it to be a bad one or a wrong one. Seth’s claim that Gay is the same choice as marriage is a bit off. I am straight, I didn’t choose that, I was born that way. I could choose to get married or not (I did.) As a gay friend of mine asked me, “Do you think anyone would choose to be an outcast? To not be accepted by their own families?”
      For the anti-gay crowd, the implication that God made people this way is too much for them to comprehend.
      As far as ‘family’ goes, it’s easy to run into the two dad or two mom family whose kids are better adjusted than the straight marriage family whose parents are dysfunctional.
      Your last sentence is correct, but it’s a conclusion that comes with intelligence and understanding. A few decades ago, it was up for dispute.

      • Seth W Reply

        Joe and Ben – to answer “For the anti-gay crowd, the implication that God made people this way is too much for them to comprehend.” its actually not. I am sure people are born that way in many instances of homosexuality. I never said God couldn’t or didn’t make them that way. Genetically or whatever, I still think its wrong.

        There are genetic and inherent things in all of us that we choose to either encourage or discourage. My point is whether or not you are “made” that way or not, its still not right to practice it and then seek for the same rights. I don’t hate or even dislike homosexuals, I have some in my family. I don’t think some of the things they do in practice though are good for them or society. :) You wont like this argument I am already sure.

        Also, yes there are bad marriages.. they are called failed marriages for a reason! They will always exist when couples stop providing a nurturing home for their children and an unselfish relationship.

        The key to marriage is in the ability to create life and then continue the cycle of the human family. Marriages purpose is for that entirely. The love concept is secondary to societal and community safeguards. That’s why benefits come with marriage.

        • Benjamin Reply

          The problem with this argument is that I think many opponents assume that homosexuals are very promiscuous. What if a homosexual couple never had sex? Then what behavior would be bad or unhealthy for them or society?

  • floreta Reply

    i’m glad you wrote about this and i agree. the choices of others in life and love should not be undermined by the government. it really is true that the personal is political.. but really, no matter what my view is on an issue, it should not give me the right to deny other people’s rights!! that’s what i don’t get about this ‘debate’ either. =/ and right again, i believe that religion/god DOES fit in with this ‘progressive’ view.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Religion/God does fit in Floreta, but it is also the fuel behind the argument against gay marriage – I don’t see any other explanation and have yet to hear an argument on any other premise. Live and die by the sword I guess – I see a lot of value in religion in faith, but also think it is the cause of MANY of our countries (and world) problems.

  • floreta Reply

    i’m glad you wrote about this and i agree. the choices of others in life and love should not be undermined by the government. it really is true that the personal is political.. but really, no matter what my view is on an issue, it should not give me the right to deny other people’s rights!! that’s what i don’t get about this ‘debate’ either. =/ and right again, i believe that religion/god DOES fit in with this ‘progressive’ view.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Religion/God does fit in Floreta, but it is also the fuel behind the argument against gay marriage – I don’t see any other explanation and have yet to hear an argument on any other premise. Live and die by the sword I guess – I see a lot of value in religion in faith, but also think it is the cause of MANY of our countries (and world) problems.

  • Sandra Reply

    Matt, I am very proud of you for standing up on this issue. You really made my day.

    Change will only happen when we keep the dialog open. I encourage all of you who posted a comment, to make sure that the next time there is an election in your community, no matter if it is local, state or federal, that you take the initiative to go vote. Voting brings about change.

    To those of you who think marriage is only about procreation, how sad. Marriage is so much more than that. There is plenty of procreation out of wedlock. Marriage, civil unions, or however you label it, is much more. Not only is it about love, but nurturing a relationship with another human being , starting a family through adoption or invitro fertilization, weathering the storms that life may bring and being better through the journey with your partner.

    The Gay Community wants nothing more than the heterosexual community takes for granted.
    It is our civil right as Americans.

    America was built on the philosophy of separation of church and state. It is religious ideology and church doctrine that aids in preventing the passage of legalization of gay marriage. This is what happened in California.

    There is no such thing as choosing to be gay or lesbian. We are who we are whether anyone likes it or not. We must embrace diversity!!!

  • Sandra Reply

    Matt, I am very proud of you for standing up on this issue. You really made my day.

    Change will only happen when we keep the dialog open. I encourage all of you who posted a comment, to make sure that the next time there is an election in your community, no matter if it is local, state or federal, that you take the initiative to go vote. Voting brings about change.

    To those of you who think marriage is only about procreation, how sad. Marriage is so much more than that. There is plenty of procreation out of wedlock. Marriage, civil unions, or however you label it, is much more. Not only is it about love, but nurturing a relationship with another human being , starting a family through adoption or invitro fertilization, weathering the storms that life may bring and being better through the journey with your partner.

    The Gay Community wants nothing more than the heterosexual community takes for granted.
    It is our civil right as Americans.

    America was built on the philosophy of separation of church and state. It is religious ideology and church doctrine that aids in preventing the passage of legalization of gay marriage. This is what happened in California.

    There is no such thing as choosing to be gay or lesbian. We are who we are whether anyone likes it or not. We must embrace diversity!!!

  • Nancy VanReece Reply

    Thank you Matt.
    Joan and I would love to meet you mom and her wife someday here in Nashvegas. She is so proud today. You have no idea.

    If you missed it – Keith Oberman said it over Prop8:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27650743/

  • Nancy VanReece Reply

    Thank you Matt.
    Joan and I would love to meet you mom and her wife someday here in Nashvegas. She is so proud today. You have no idea.

    If you missed it – Keith Oberman said it over Prop8:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27650743/

  • @NashvilleBen Reply

    Matt,
    Your best post. ever. You are so spot on with my thoughts on this issue. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this.
    Ben

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank you Ben. That really means a lot – whether or not this is my “best” most is irrelevant to me, but I do consider this, by far, to be the most impressive discussion I’ve organized to date. Thanks to you, and everyone else, who came through and felt compelled to add their story and perspective. Cheers!

  • @NashvilleBen Reply

    Matt,
    Your best post. ever. You are so spot on with my thoughts on this issue. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this.
    Ben

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank you Ben. That really means a lot – whether or not this is my “best” most is irrelevant to me, but I do consider this, by far, to be the most impressive discussion I’ve organized to date. Thanks to you, and everyone else, who came through and felt compelled to add their story and perspective. Cheers!

  • Amy Bradstreet Reply

    Hello from Maine. I would like to echo Gennyfer’s words and say that the most populous areas of Maine, ie, Portland and southern Maine, tend to also be the most progressive–Maine is a blue state, afterall. Also, it wasn’t 50% of Maine that voted to repeal same sex marriage, it was 53% of those that voted. It was 47% of those that voted to keep the same sex marriage law. Furthermore, the wording of the ballot question had many folks confused, as I witnessed repeatedly while working the NO On 1 phone banks and during canvassing. The question was worded as such, ““Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?” Too many people I spoke with would ask me, “what do you have against gays?” I found myself doing a lot of educating. It’s important to note that the double negative questions have been issues in the past, in Maine, mostly because our state government sees fit to legislate affording LGBTs human rights protection, equal marriage, etc, but then the people’s referendum option allows the opposition to create a ballot initiative that then repeals said legislation, so it results in a “yes” for the oppostion side, and a “no” for the pro-gay side. I’m not arguing that all 53% of voters were confused, hardly, but I do think we might be talking a few percentage points, and in this case, that could have meant the difference.
    I do hope people realize that so many Mainers are heartbroken and angry that the equal marrige law has been repealed. My entire family, my 12 year old daughter, especially, was so dedicated, spending long hours at the phone banks, trying to make a difference.

    On a personal note, I am the 38 year old child of a gay father, who came out during the media frenzy of the new “gay plague”, which we know as HIV/AIDS–this was when I was 12. It wasn’t a supportive environment for the LGBT community then and I’m heartened that times have changed, even if not enough, to be sure. I try to hold onto the fact that my two kids will vote someday, and when they do, they’ll always have the images of their loving Grampies with them. My family is also part of a huge home/unschooling community here in the greater Portland area, and everyone I know was voting No On 1. All of us–hundreds of us. It was a no-brainer issue for us. So know that. Please don’t write all of Maine off. We’ll get it right one day. I promise.

  • Stephen Reply

    Matt,

    As I patiently stood in line waiting for my 2 (yes, 2) breakfast power sandwiches at Panera, I read your post. I’m usually pretty good about “keeping it together” but not today. I cried. In line at Panera.

    Thank you so much for your honesty and openness. There are so many thoughts and feelings that I don’t even know where to begin. Thank you.

    Stephen

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Stephen. Man. I’m not sure what to say. Thank you – seriously. Being able to impact you and everyone else who has come through here is why I do what I do – and why I will continue to push others to think more progressively. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to respond here – but thank you for coming through here – you didn’t have to say much – your Panera story speaks volumes, and this comment made my night. Thank you.

  • Amy Bradstreet Reply

    Hello from Maine. I would like to echo Gennyfer’s words and say that the most populous areas of Maine, ie, Portland and southern Maine, tend to also be the most progressive–Maine is a blue state, afterall. Also, it wasn’t 50% of Maine that voted to repeal same sex marriage, it was 53% of those that voted. It was 47% of those that voted to keep the same sex marriage law. Furthermore, the wording of the ballot question had many folks confused, as I witnessed repeatedly while working the NO On 1 phone banks and during canvassing. The question was worded as such, ““Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?” Too many people I spoke with would ask me, “what do you have against gays?” I found myself doing a lot of educating. It’s important to note that the double negative questions have been issues in the past, in Maine, mostly because our state government sees fit to legislate affording LGBTs human rights protection, equal marriage, etc, but then the people’s referendum option allows the opposition to create a ballot initiative that then repeals said legislation, so it results in a “yes” for the oppostion side, and a “no” for the pro-gay side. I’m not arguing that all 53% of voters were confused, hardly, but I do think we might be talking a few percentage points, and in this case, that could have meant the difference.
    I do hope people realize that so many Mainers are heartbroken and angry that the equal marrige law has been repealed. My entire family, my 12 year old daughter, especially, was so dedicated, spending long hours at the phone banks, trying to make a difference.

    On a personal note, I am the 38 year old child of a gay father, who came out during the media frenzy of the new “gay plague”, which we know as HIV/AIDS–this was when I was 12. It wasn’t a supportive environment for the LGBT community then and I’m heartened that times have changed, even if not enough, to be sure. I try to hold onto the fact that my two kids will vote someday, and when they do, they’ll always have the images of their loving Grampies with them. My family is also part of a huge home/unschooling community here in the greater Portland area, and everyone I know was voting No On 1. All of us–hundreds of us. It was a no-brainer issue for us. So know that. Please don’t write all of Maine off. We’ll get it right one day. I promise.

  • Stephen Reply

    Matt,

    As I patiently stood in line waiting for my 2 (yes, 2) breakfast power sandwiches at Panera, I read your post. I’m usually pretty good about “keeping it together” but not today. I cried. In line at Panera.

    Thank you so much for your honesty and openness. There are so many thoughts and feelings that I don’t even know where to begin. Thank you.

    Stephen

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Stephen. Man. I’m not sure what to say. Thank you – seriously. Being able to impact you and everyone else who has come through here is why I do what I do – and why I will continue to push others to think more progressively. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to respond here – but thank you for coming through here – you didn’t have to say much – your Panera story speaks volumes, and this comment made my night. Thank you.

  • jen Reply

    Hi Matt,
    Fantastic post. I do find it mind boggling that this a law can even be passed around this, at this time. It is great to hear the difference your upbringing has made to you.
    Jen

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thanks Jen – I am SO appreciative of my upbringing and my background – it’s shaped me into the open-minded and accepting man that I am today – and for that, I will forever be grateful. Thank you for coming by – the support here has been amazing.

  • jen Reply

    Hi Matt,
    Fantastic post. I do find it mind boggling that this a law can even be passed around this, at this time. It is great to hear the difference your upbringing has made to you.
    Jen

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thanks Jen – I am SO appreciative of my upbringing and my background – it’s shaped me into the open-minded and accepting man that I am today – and for that, I will forever be grateful. Thank you for coming by – the support here has been amazing.

  • Bryon Reply

    Matt, kudos’s again for taking the lead to begin discussion on such a controversial topic as I first stumbled across this on Twitter and Brazen . I totally agree with you that religion so much defines what the state believes in politically. Sadly, I’m from Tennessee as well and grew up in a very fundamental background until I saw the light many many years ago. I’m in that cross range age of Gen Y and Gen X. I see much hope in Gen Y truly understanding what true freedom of choice means and equal rights for all peoples. I agree with you, my God loves all and is not going to condemn or reject anyone for how they are “naturally” made up. It’s sad that religion/church can’t grasp that and sad that I have seen religion divide so many people (not only on gay rights). Thanks for being willing to become very transparent on this issue and sharing your heart, we need more people like this in the professional world and in society. I see Gen Y taking a huge lead in benefiting society in teaching all peoples that’s it’s ok!

  • Bryon Reply

    Matt, kudos’s again for taking the lead to begin discussion on such a controversial topic as I first stumbled across this on Twitter and Brazen . I totally agree with you that religion so much defines what the state believes in politically. Sadly, I’m from Tennessee as well and grew up in a very fundamental background until I saw the light many many years ago. I’m in that cross range age of Gen Y and Gen X. I see much hope in Gen Y truly understanding what true freedom of choice means and equal rights for all peoples. I agree with you, my God loves all and is not going to condemn or reject anyone for how they are “naturally” made up. It’s sad that religion/church can’t grasp that and sad that I have seen religion divide so many people (not only on gay rights). Thanks for being willing to become very transparent on this issue and sharing your heart, we need more people like this in the professional world and in society. I see Gen Y taking a huge lead in benefiting society in teaching all peoples that’s it’s ok!

  • Chad Reply

    I live in CA and it’s just as pathetic here as in Maine. I can can walk 3 blocks from my house and legally pick up a bag of weed, but my friend can’t get married. It makes no sense. The arguments against same sex marriage are purely religious and therefore have no place in our politics.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Couldn’t have said it better Chad – that’s the only argument I see – and the only one that has ever been presented to me – you can beat around the bush but at the end of the day, it’s all about religious beliefs. Which is fine, but keep it in the church. I highly doubt God put us on this earth to deny the rights of our fellow man.

  • Chad Reply

    I live in CA and it’s just as pathetic here as in Maine. I can can walk 3 blocks from my house and legally pick up a bag of weed, but my friend can’t get married. It makes no sense. The arguments against same sex marriage are purely religious and therefore have no place in our politics.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Couldn’t have said it better Chad – that’s the only argument I see – and the only one that has ever been presented to me – you can beat around the bush but at the end of the day, it’s all about religious beliefs. Which is fine, but keep it in the church. I highly doubt God put us on this earth to deny the rights of our fellow man.

  • cv harquail Reply

    Normally I wouldn’t bother to add the 99th comment — who ever reads that far? But I must chime in and say — what a great post. It must have felt great to write that, to post that, and to generate this discussion. I’m 110% with you Matt. Rock on.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thanks CV (I’m reading through every single one of these). The atmosphere and empowerment felt here is incredible. It’s extremely humbling to know that my words have had such an impact on so many. Thank you for coming by and for your support!

  • cv harquail Reply

    Normally I wouldn’t bother to add the 99th comment — who ever reads that far? But I must chime in and say — what a great post. It must have felt great to write that, to post that, and to generate this discussion. I’m 110% with you Matt. Rock on.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thanks CV (I’m reading through every single one of these). The atmosphere and empowerment felt here is incredible. It’s extremely humbling to know that my words have had such an impact on so many. Thank you for coming by and for your support!

  • Elisa Reply

    Matt, I’d like to write a comment called “Why I Won’t Be Moving to Illinois/Tennessee/Florida/Alaska/etc Anytime Soon.” It goes a little something like this:

    I am effing PROUD to live in a state where my legislature felt compelled to grant rights to EVERYONE equally. I am effing PROUD to live in a state that actually has the balls to bring this issue to light instead of ignoring it like at least 30 states in the union. I am effing PROUD to live in a state that had an EXTREMELY close vote (you make it sound like a vast majority of people voted this down, you NEGLECT to point out the closeness of a 53% to 47% vote) on the issue.

    But what the hell do I know…I’m just from Maine. Oh, by the way, I’ve written extensively for No On 1 (the pro-equality vote,) volunteered for the cause, and voted against it myself. But I suppose people like ME in Maine that will continue fighting in the hopes that love might actually conquer all and everyone will be afforded the same rights. However I am not foolish enough to believe that people’s beliefs and opinions will change simply because I want them to. I instead choose to fight ignorance and hate with love and tolerance. If nothing else it’ll totally throw ‘em.

    I understand that you may not blame “Maine” for the greater piece of this issue, but your post certainly did not do a good job or portraying that.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Elisa – I respect your thoughts here but I am very dissapointed that this was your primary takeaway from the post here. This was, in no way, a bashing of the state of Maine. Consider it a poor choice of title if you will, but as I have replied to Stuart above, this could have JUST AS easily been titled “Why I won’t be moving back to Tennessee anytime soon. The fact is, a couple days ago Maine had this vote and it was rejected – this article is a timely response to that SPECIFIC vote, and how it represents our overall society and the views a majorty (an even higher majority in most states) still possess.

      Again, I have nothing at all against the state of Maine. I do apologize if it came across that way – but once again – this situation is a REPRESENTATION of a much bigger issue. My response here was in no way hateful to the population of Maine, or anyone for that matter.

      • Elisa Reply

        The problem with sensational titles and words is that they sometimes DO distract from the greater issue. My frustration in the comment is that I was disappointed in THAT from your post. In a post celebrating the importance of equality and people’s right to love whomever they choose you instead portrayed only one side of the population of an entire State. And I know that you probably don’t know because you don’t live here to see it, but the outpouring of so much goodness from my fellow supporters of No On #1 was overwhelming. It’s just sad that you chose not to show any of that.

        • Matt Cheuvront Reply

          Again, in a post that was fueled by my personal connection to this issue, it’s unfortunate that some (very few) did not see past the “sensational” title. I see it as relevant, not sensational. I have no doubt there was outstanding pro-equality support in your home-state, as there is in every community. The point here was, even though I have complete faith that real change will come about, we (universally, country-wide) still have a long way to go. And the MAJORITY is still resistant to change. I opened up and shared my personal connection and thoughts on the issue – we could spend days talking about the overall support and/or lack there of. I appreciate your thoughts here Elisa, they are always more than welcome.

  • Elisa Reply

    Matt, I’d like to write a comment called “Why I Won’t Be Moving to Illinois/Tennessee/Florida/Alaska/etc Anytime Soon.” It goes a little something like this:

    I am effing PROUD to live in a state where my legislature felt compelled to grant rights to EVERYONE equally. I am effing PROUD to live in a state that actually has the balls to bring this issue to light instead of ignoring it like at least 30 states in the union. I am effing PROUD to live in a state that had an EXTREMELY close vote (you make it sound like a vast majority of people voted this down, you NEGLECT to point out the closeness of a 53% to 47% vote) on the issue.

    But what the hell do I know…I’m just from Maine. Oh, by the way, I’ve written extensively for No On 1 (the pro-equality vote,) volunteered for the cause, and voted against it myself. But I suppose people like ME in Maine that will continue fighting in the hopes that love might actually conquer all and everyone will be afforded the same rights. However I am not foolish enough to believe that people’s beliefs and opinions will change simply because I want them to. I instead choose to fight ignorance and hate with love and tolerance. If nothing else it’ll totally throw ‘em.

    I understand that you may not blame “Maine” for the greater piece of this issue, but your post certainly did not do a good job or portraying that.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Elisa – I respect your thoughts here but I am very dissapointed that this was your primary takeaway from the post here. This was, in no way, a bashing of the state of Maine. Consider it a poor choice of title if you will, but as I have replied to Stuart above, this could have JUST AS easily been titled “Why I won’t be moving back to Tennessee anytime soon. The fact is, a couple days ago Maine had this vote and it was rejected – this article is a timely response to that SPECIFIC vote, and how it represents our overall society and the views a majorty (an even higher majority in most states) still possess.

      Again, I have nothing at all against the state of Maine. I do apologize if it came across that way – but once again – this situation is a REPRESENTATION of a much bigger issue. My response here was in no way hateful to the population of Maine, or anyone for that matter.

      • Elisa Reply

        The problem with sensational titles and words is that they sometimes DO distract from the greater issue. My frustration in the comment is that I was disappointed in THAT from your post. In a post celebrating the importance of equality and people’s right to love whomever they choose you instead portrayed only one side of the population of an entire State. And I know that you probably don’t know because you don’t live here to see it, but the outpouring of so much goodness from my fellow supporters of No On #1 was overwhelming. It’s just sad that you chose not to show any of that.

        • Matt Cheuvront Reply

          Again, in a post that was fueled by my personal connection to this issue, it’s unfortunate that some (very few) did not see past the “sensational” title. I see it as relevant, not sensational. I have no doubt there was outstanding pro-equality support in your home-state, as there is in every community. The point here was, even though I have complete faith that real change will come about, we (universally, country-wide) still have a long way to go. And the MAJORITY is still resistant to change. I opened up and shared my personal connection and thoughts on the issue – we could spend days talking about the overall support and/or lack there of. I appreciate your thoughts here Elisa, they are always more than welcome.

  • The Ego Reply

    I think it’s stupid that people still are against homosexuality. It. Is. NOT. A. Choice. You just know whether you’re attracted to a man or a woman, whatever gender you may be! I’ve blogged about it myself in a way: http://big-fat-ego.blogspot.com/2009/04/its-all-about-loving-your-family.html

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thanks for sharing the link to your blog here. I 100% agree with you and don’t understand the argument that it is just a decision someone makes to be gay. As I said above, you can’t help who you are attracted to – and if it was a choice, do you honestly think anyone would choose to go down the path of homosexuality, gladly “choosing” to be neglected of equal rights? Exactly.

  • The Ego Reply

    I think it’s stupid that people still are against homosexuality. It. Is. NOT. A. Choice. You just know whether you’re attracted to a man or a woman, whatever gender you may be! I’ve blogged about it myself in a way: http://big-fat-ego.blogspot.com/2009/04/its-all-about-loving-your-family.html

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thanks for sharing the link to your blog here. I 100% agree with you and don’t understand the argument that it is just a decision someone makes to be gay. As I said above, you can’t help who you are attracted to – and if it was a choice, do you honestly think anyone would choose to go down the path of homosexuality, gladly “choosing” to be neglected of equal rights? Exactly.

  • Sarah Kettler Reply

    I know I thanked you on Twitter, but THANK YOU for writing this post. We need all the allies we can get. Allies are the ones who help back up our arguments and battles, as you have done in your post. Thank you thank you thank you.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank YOU Sarah – I usually don’t get so emotional here – but this is clearly a subject that hits home with me. Without you, and everyone else who came through and took time to share a few words of inspiration, this would have been “just another rant”. THANK YOU!

  • Sarah Kettler Reply

    I know I thanked you on Twitter, but THANK YOU for writing this post. We need all the allies we can get. Allies are the ones who help back up our arguments and battles, as you have done in your post. Thank you thank you thank you.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank YOU Sarah – I usually don’t get so emotional here – but this is clearly a subject that hits home with me. Without you, and everyone else who came through and took time to share a few words of inspiration, this would have been “just another rant”. THANK YOU!

  • Kevin M. Reply

    Hi Everyone,

    I’ve been following these issues closely for some time now…the phenomenon we’re witnessing from a communication standpoint is fascinating to a graduate communication student like myself.

    I rarely give my opinions on issues such as these…I suppose on hot topics sometimes it just pays to be tactful. Personally, I think that if being gay were a choice, almost no one in this country would choose to be. Why would they? The history speaks for itself…and we’re not even the worst place in the world for homosexuals. Think of that.

    That being said, I still think the debate is ultimately raging on over a word and a word only. I think, that since homosexuals are fighting for same sex marriage, that’s where they are losing the vote. Statistics say that in a popular vote, almost no state (California is a striking example) would pass same sex marriage legislation. Heterosexuals, in general, see the word marriage as being defined between one man and one woman, normally for the purpose of reproducing and raising children. Now, I think that homosexuals have the same capacity to love as heterosexuals do, and while they can adopt, they cannot reproduce with one another.

    I think that this debate rages and continues to rage because while homosexuals are fighting for the same rights, many heterosexuals think that they are fighting for the same title. And perhaps they are…I don’t know, I’m not a homosexual myself. I think equal rights should be granted. But if everyone else is going to be pissed off by calling it marriage, is that WORD a concession the homosexual community could make?

    Perhaps there is room for compromise here after all…only time will tell.

  • Kevin M. Reply

    Hi Everyone,

    I’ve been following these issues closely for some time now…the phenomenon we’re witnessing from a communication standpoint is fascinating to a graduate communication student like myself.

    I rarely give my opinions on issues such as these…I suppose on hot topics sometimes it just pays to be tactful. Personally, I think that if being gay were a choice, almost no one in this country would choose to be. Why would they? The history speaks for itself…and we’re not even the worst place in the world for homosexuals. Think of that.

    That being said, I still think the debate is ultimately raging on over a word and a word only. I think, that since homosexuals are fighting for same sex marriage, that’s where they are losing the vote. Statistics say that in a popular vote, almost no state (California is a striking example) would pass same sex marriage legislation. Heterosexuals, in general, see the word marriage as being defined between one man and one woman, normally for the purpose of reproducing and raising children. Now, I think that homosexuals have the same capacity to love as heterosexuals do, and while they can adopt, they cannot reproduce with one another.

    I think that this debate rages and continues to rage because while homosexuals are fighting for the same rights, many heterosexuals think that they are fighting for the same title. And perhaps they are…I don’t know, I’m not a homosexual myself. I think equal rights should be granted. But if everyone else is going to be pissed off by calling it marriage, is that WORD a concession the homosexual community could make?

    Perhaps there is room for compromise here after all…only time will tell.

  • Rob Reply

    Hi Matt! I can’t thank you enough for your honesty and courage in dealing with this matter. As you know, I have been with your Uncle (who happens to be your Mom’s brother) for over 22 years now. We met at the age of 24 and we are both currently 46. We were legally married here in California in June 2008. We are also Registered Domestic Partners here, which actually gives us about the same rights as being married. Though the State of California later banned gay Marriage, we will remain married because the state can not take that away. We have lived a wonderful life together, and have been very financially blessed. Because of this we have done more than our share to keep the economy moving. We are both very proud of being gay because it has allowed us to see life from a different angle, and to be more understanding of everyone’s differences. THANK YOU MATT!

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thanks Rob (great to see family coming through here and reading). I hope you both are doing great – seems like it’s been forever since we’ve seen each other – looking forward to the holidays. I admire what you guys and my mom has been through – it can’t be easy from the outside looking in – but as I’ve said and as most have agreed, this is not a path you CHOOSE, it’s just what you are. For someone, in this case the government, to deny you the right to be yourself is just plain wrong.

      Thanks again Rob. Tell Uncle Art I said hello and I will see you guys soon!

  • Rob Reply

    Hi Matt! I can’t thank you enough for your honesty and courage in dealing with this matter. As you know, I have been with your Uncle (who happens to be your Mom’s brother) for over 22 years now. We met at the age of 24 and we are both currently 46. We were legally married here in California in June 2008. We are also Registered Domestic Partners here, which actually gives us about the same rights as being married. Though the State of California later banned gay Marriage, we will remain married because the state can not take that away. We have lived a wonderful life together, and have been very financially blessed. Because of this we have done more than our share to keep the economy moving. We are both very proud of being gay because it has allowed us to see life from a different angle, and to be more understanding of everyone’s differences. THANK YOU MATT!

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thanks Rob (great to see family coming through here and reading). I hope you both are doing great – seems like it’s been forever since we’ve seen each other – looking forward to the holidays. I admire what you guys and my mom has been through – it can’t be easy from the outside looking in – but as I’ve said and as most have agreed, this is not a path you CHOOSE, it’s just what you are. For someone, in this case the government, to deny you the right to be yourself is just plain wrong.

      Thanks again Rob. Tell Uncle Art I said hello and I will see you guys soon!

  • Marcos Salazar Reply

    Great post Matt! I wish I had seen it sooner but I also loved reading everyone’s comments. This is the part that struck me in your post: “Wake up people. Wake up Maine. The world is changing around you. When will you stop resisting that change?” I was just having this convo with a friend last night about how we all get used to hanging out with our groups, especially people from our generation, who are so accepting of others and even seek out diversity because we see the value in it – and then something like this happens and it slaps you in the face, making you realize there are a lot of people out there who are not accepting and are not willing to change because they are stuck in an outdated system of beliefs. And worse, they are having a significant impact on our society that affects the lives of those we love (if not our own). You are right – we have a long way to go before we live in a society that is equal and doesn’t deny the most fundamental of rights to ALL its citizens. But that is what you and I and the rest of our generation is here to do – to work together to help change the world for the better one day at a time. And it’s discussions like these that bring us one step closer. They are baby steps, but steps nonetheless. Keep up the great writing!

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank you Marcos – and as I’ve said many times throughout this discussion – I hope this post did not come across as pessimistic – I am an optimist and I genuinely believe that we will bring about real change in this world. It takes time – resisting change and difference isn’t anything new – but it takes catalysts like you and a lot of other folks that have come through here to really bring about that change. Thanks for the perspective.

  • Marcos Salazar Reply

    Great post Matt! I wish I had seen it sooner but I also loved reading everyone’s comments. This is the part that struck me in your post: “Wake up people. Wake up Maine. The world is changing around you. When will you stop resisting that change?” I was just having this convo with a friend last night about how we all get used to hanging out with our groups, especially people from our generation, who are so accepting of others and even seek out diversity because we see the value in it – and then something like this happens and it slaps you in the face, making you realize there are a lot of people out there who are not accepting and are not willing to change because they are stuck in an outdated system of beliefs. And worse, they are having a significant impact on our society that affects the lives of those we love (if not our own). You are right – we have a long way to go before we live in a society that is equal and doesn’t deny the most fundamental of rights to ALL its citizens. But that is what you and I and the rest of our generation is here to do – to work together to help change the world for the better one day at a time. And it’s discussions like these that bring us one step closer. They are baby steps, but steps nonetheless. Keep up the great writing!

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thank you Marcos – and as I’ve said many times throughout this discussion – I hope this post did not come across as pessimistic – I am an optimist and I genuinely believe that we will bring about real change in this world. It takes time – resisting change and difference isn’t anything new – but it takes catalysts like you and a lot of other folks that have come through here to really bring about that change. Thanks for the perspective.

  • Jerret Reply

    So, you KNOW being gay is not a choice. And I KNOW being gay is a choice. And the tie breaker is narrow mindedness? By defining “diversity” you’ve ceased to be diverse. Just food for thought.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      I guess I base my “knowing” on the fact that my mom is gay, my uncle is gay, several friends are gay, and I have never heard any of them mention that they CHOSE to be gay – it’s just who the person is. Did you CHOOSE to be straight? Or are you just naturally attracted to women?

      To each his own – the point of this post was not to change ANYONE’S belief. If you want to say that it is a choice, that’s fine – but it is a choice that still deserves equal legal rights. All humans are entitled to at least that.

    • Ashley Reply

      Your inability to accept that homosexuality is not choice is not diversity, but rather a prime example of “narrow-mindedness” which you questioned to be the tie-breaker; it is.

      How can you “know” that it is not a choice, by the way?

  • Jerret Reply

    So, you KNOW being gay is not a choice. And I KNOW being gay is a choice. And the tie breaker is narrow mindedness? By defining “diversity” you’ve ceased to be diverse. Just food for thought.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      I guess I base my “knowing” on the fact that my mom is gay, my uncle is gay, several friends are gay, and I have never heard any of them mention that they CHOSE to be gay – it’s just who the person is. Did you CHOOSE to be straight? Or are you just naturally attracted to women?

      To each his own – the point of this post was not to change ANYONE’S belief. If you want to say that it is a choice, that’s fine – but it is a choice that still deserves equal legal rights. All humans are entitled to at least that.

    • Ashley Reply

      Your inability to accept that homosexuality is not choice is not diversity, but rather a prime example of “narrow-mindedness” which you questioned to be the tie-breaker; it is.

      How can you “know” that it is not a choice, by the way?

  • Karen Reply

    I’m superbly late with jumping into this conversation, but I read an article today in the New York Times that had a little paragraph about gay marriage, and I thought I’d share it here:

    And when I hear people explain that gay people shouldn’t be allowed to marry because the purpose of marriage throughout history has been to produce children, and they can’t do that, I envision decades of our anniversary cards being shredded.

    During those years when our marriage was clearly failing in its natural assignment of procreation, were we not, according to these people, really married? If marriages have to be about children — rather than about affection and respect, or even the kind of endurance that leads teenagers to marvel at any marriages that have lasted longer than they have been alive — then gay people aren’t the only ones whose unions are somehow unsanctified.

    Here’s the link to the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/13/fashion/13love.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

    Enjoy!

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Interesting piece Karen – and thanks for jumping in here (better late than never, huh?) I think the definition of marriage has been loose throughout history – ultimately, if you’re in love, you should at least, if nothing else, be able to obtain full legal benefits under American law. If you want to ‘define’ marriage otherwise, leave it up to the churches. The intertwining of church and state has to stop.

      • Karen Reply

        The problem with unwinding church and state is that the church’s values are so heavily embedded in people’s everyday values. People’s discomfort with homosexuality is sometimes conditioned by the institution they choose to follow; and because of what they believe, they will vote a certain way. Also, to provide another perspective: my dad was not raised by the church, yet he’s slightly homophobic and admits to it. He has gay friends, but the thought of homosexuality makes him uncomfortable. So he will be naturally inclined to vote against gay marriage rights, if we were to have such a vote here in Ontario.

        Many are raised with a set of values which have come from their faith; over the years, they have taken ownership of these values. For people looking from the outside-in, it may seem as though votes were cast a certain way “because the church says so”.. but that isn’t usually the case. So how do you separate the church’s doctrine with a personal belief that will dictate what and who we vote for? Once the church’s doctrine becomes a personal belief, you can’t. It’s a huge grey area.

        • Matt Cheuvront Reply

          I read you loud and clear Karen – and I firmly believe that everyone is entitled to beliefs and opinions – I think where I get frustrated is that gay couples are not given the same LEGAL benefits – If a church doesn’t want to accept the relationship under their belief system, that’s one thing – but to reject them as equals under the eyes of our government is wrong. At least that’s my two cents.

  • Karen Reply

    I’m superbly late with jumping into this conversation, but I read an article today in the New York Times that had a little paragraph about gay marriage, and I thought I’d share it here:

    And when I hear people explain that gay people shouldn’t be allowed to marry because the purpose of marriage throughout history has been to produce children, and they can’t do that, I envision decades of our anniversary cards being shredded.

    During those years when our marriage was clearly failing in its natural assignment of procreation, were we not, according to these people, really married? If marriages have to be about children — rather than about affection and respect, or even the kind of endurance that leads teenagers to marvel at any marriages that have lasted longer than they have been alive — then gay people aren’t the only ones whose unions are somehow unsanctified.

    Here’s the link to the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/13/fashion/13love.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

    Enjoy!

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Interesting piece Karen – and thanks for jumping in here (better late than never, huh?) I think the definition of marriage has been loose throughout history – ultimately, if you’re in love, you should at least, if nothing else, be able to obtain full legal benefits under American law. If you want to ‘define’ marriage otherwise, leave it up to the churches. The intertwining of church and state has to stop.

      • Karen Reply

        The problem with unwinding church and state is that the church’s values are so heavily embedded in people’s everyday values. People’s discomfort with homosexuality is sometimes conditioned by the institution they choose to follow; and because of what they believe, they will vote a certain way. Also, to provide another perspective: my dad was not raised by the church, yet he’s slightly homophobic and admits to it. He has gay friends, but the thought of homosexuality makes him uncomfortable. So he will be naturally inclined to vote against gay marriage rights, if we were to have such a vote here in Ontario.

        Many are raised with a set of values which have come from their faith; over the years, they have taken ownership of these values. For people looking from the outside-in, it may seem as though votes were cast a certain way “because the church says so”.. but that isn’t usually the case. So how do you separate the church’s doctrine with a personal belief that will dictate what and who we vote for? Once the church’s doctrine becomes a personal belief, you can’t. It’s a huge grey area.

        • Matt Cheuvront Reply

          I read you loud and clear Karen – and I firmly believe that everyone is entitled to beliefs and opinions – I think where I get frustrated is that gay couples are not given the same LEGAL benefits – If a church doesn’t want to accept the relationship under their belief system, that’s one thing – but to reject them as equals under the eyes of our government is wrong. At least that’s my two cents.

  • Karen Reply

    Yea. I hear you loud and clear too. It’s frustrating when love is overlooked this way; how absurd would it be that you and your fiance were not allowed to marry because of your sexual orientation?

    But that’s what makes democracy what it is: our government is grounded on the belief system of the people, or at least that’s what it’s supposed to be. It’s theoretically a sound system, because we would want our government to represent us. So then when a controversial topic comes up, such as gay marriage and abortion, the government’s at a standstill, and in the name of democracy it’s only proper of them to hold a vote so that they can ask the population for a direction (I personally would hope that my leaders would do just that – lead – and take a progressive stance, but then that’s not democratic, is it?). And unfortunately for Maine and California, the belief system of the majority is that gay couples shouldn’t be given the same legal benefits (mostly because of homophobia more than logic, I reckon), and so that’s the way they voted too. As frustrating as it is, church –> belief system –> the way people vote –> government. It all inevitably goes hand in hand.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      I agree Karen – I guess at the end of the day, it’s just unfortunate that things are the way they are – but, as they say, for now, “it is what it is”…

      • Karen Reply

        It is what it is for now, for sure. But! People like you, who are respectably but passionately vocal about these controversial issues, have created conversation and will become a part of a collective progress towards change! Homosexuality has already become more accepted in North America than ever before. I’m sure it’ll only get better from here.

        • Matt Cheuvront Reply

          Agreed – it will take time, but there is real change happening every day. It takes people like you, me, and everyone else here to start conversations, raise awareness, and get people thinking in new ways. Thank you for your kind words!

  • Karen Reply

    Yea. I hear you loud and clear too. It’s frustrating when love is overlooked this way; how absurd would it be that you and your fiance were not allowed to marry because of your sexual orientation?

    But that’s what makes democracy what it is: our government is grounded on the belief system of the people, or at least that’s what it’s supposed to be. It’s theoretically a sound system, because we would want our government to represent us. So then when a controversial topic comes up, such as gay marriage and abortion, the government’s at a standstill, and in the name of democracy it’s only proper of them to hold a vote so that they can ask the population for a direction (I personally would hope that my leaders would do just that – lead – and take a progressive stance, but then that’s not democratic, is it?). And unfortunately for Maine and California, the belief system of the majority is that gay couples shouldn’t be given the same legal benefits (mostly because of homophobia more than logic, I reckon), and so that’s the way they voted too. As frustrating as it is, church –> belief system –> the way people vote –> government. It all inevitably goes hand in hand.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      I agree Karen – I guess at the end of the day, it’s just unfortunate that things are the way they are – but, as they say, for now, “it is what it is”…

      • Karen Reply

        It is what it is for now, for sure. But! People like you, who are respectably but passionately vocal about these controversial issues, have created conversation and will become a part of a collective progress towards change! Homosexuality has already become more accepted in North America than ever before. I’m sure it’ll only get better from here.

        • Matt Cheuvront Reply

          Agreed – it will take time, but there is real change happening every day. It takes people like you, me, and everyone else here to start conversations, raise awareness, and get people thinking in new ways. Thank you for your kind words!

  • Kristina E. Proctor Reply

    Hi Matt, I’m a day late and a dollar short on this post but I wanted to put in what I was thinking when I read this.

    First, thanks are in order. Not everyone with the experience such as yourself has the ability to openly talk and discuss this issue. Thanks my friend.

    Secondly, I’m a firm believer that marriage is a sacrament of the church. No state should be able to tell us who we can marry. Instead, as I head to the courthouse with my fiance in a few months I think we should be getting a ‘civil union license’. From there, the church handles the marriage part. The church, spiritual organization or something along those lines should be the ones handling the marriage.

    I’m straight, I want a civil union. Let my church marry me, let my government join us on paper for healthcare, taxes, wills and official documents. Let my religious or spiritual organization handle things from there.

    Thanks, Matt.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thanks for coming by and sharing some thoughts on this Kristina – never too late to join the party. I agree with you 100% here – there needs to be a clear distinction between church and state. If we don’t want to call gay marriage “marriage” – whatever – but everyone, regardless of who their with, should be given the same legal rights and protection. Denying someone those rights because of who they choose to go to bed with has never and will never make any sense to me…

      Thanks again Kristina. This was one of my “defining” posts and discussions as a blogger.

    • Allen T. Graham Reply

      At first, I found it challenging to put my feelings in words on the subject.. but I scroll down to find them here already. Awesome response. Thats good stuff Kristina E. Proctor.nn- Allen

  • Kristina E. Proctor Reply

    Hi Matt, I’m a day late and a dollar short on this post but I wanted to put in what I was thinking when I read this.

    First, thanks are in order. Not everyone with the experience such as yourself has the ability to openly talk and discuss this issue. Thanks my friend.

    Secondly, I’m a firm believer that marriage is a sacrament of the church. No state should be able to tell us who we can marry. Instead, as I head to the courthouse with my fiance in a few months I think we should be getting a ‘civil union license’. From there, the church handles the marriage part. The church, spiritual organization or something along those lines should be the ones handling the marriage.

    I’m straight, I want a civil union. Let my church marry me, let my government join us on paper for healthcare, taxes, wills and official documents. Let my religious or spiritual organization handle things from there.

    Thanks, Matt.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Thanks for coming by and sharing some thoughts on this Kristina – never too late to join the party. I agree with you 100% here – there needs to be a clear distinction between church and state. If we don’t want to call gay marriage “marriage” – whatever – but everyone, regardless of who their with, should be given the same legal rights and protection. Denying someone those rights because of who they choose to go to bed with has never and will never make any sense to me…

      Thanks again Kristina. This was one of my “defining” posts and discussions as a blogger.

  • Francis Martel Reply

    I come from Maine and I live in CT now and was married to a man at a beautiful bed and breakfast owned by an awsome straight couple who did the whole wedding for us. People in Maine need to have a new way of thinking, the world is changing everyday. Are you and some of the other hick country folks from around the USA who stay in the in the 1950s? Open your minds and start to think how you would feel if your son, daughter, wife , or husband came to you and said he or she was gay, or they met someone who made them happy, do you want them not to be happy or you want them not to have the same wrights as you. It is time to move on people, life is too short to be so narrow minded. We all deserve to be happy.

  • Anonymous Reply

    Why some people never “take a stand” stupid reason “I just do not want to get involved” When many times it is indenfense of your family.

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