The US Supreme Court hears this coming week two appeals regarding same sex relationships. Can they legally marry (Prop 8 from our state) and Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which restricts what same sex couples are allowed to do regarding estate matters, inter alia.
As a straight middle aged man, who lived in San Francisco in the 1980’s, I must admit my own thinking has evolved.
My then wife and I owned a house near the Castro MUNI Station, and I walked a few blocks to and from the Station to get to work in downtown San Francisco. I was young, dressed in a suit, and I passed along the Castro, especially on the way home, feeling like a bunch of really weird homosexuals, wearing leather, drinking in the open air bars, were undressing me with their eyes. (I came to appreciate what women experience in this light.)
I must admit I did not know what to make of gay people at that time. Our house had a little studio unit, which we rented out, and typically a gay person, man or woman, was the tenant. Business arrangement, no judgment.
I landed down in Palo Alto in the late 1980’s when my ex was in Medical School and our babies were coming along. Several more or less “out” people in her medical school class, pretty normal in their behavior.
I also got considerably more exposure to people of other nationalities and traditions, all of which led me to keeping an open mind and less judgmental about “stereotypes,” be it Hassidic Jews, Muslims, people from Podunk, USA, and others.
I am influenced by my adult children, both of whom are straight, and have gay friends. The situation we face right now, in their opinion and mine, is absurd.
I know too many same sex parents who are making great families for their kids. I have worked with many gay people who are no different from their straight colleagues—sexual orientation is not an issue in many workplaces here in the Bay Area.
By the same token, in my travels around the US in recent years, the attitudes around what gay people are “entitled” to, be it marriage, estate matters, or others, including their simply being gay, still have ways to go.
I don’t know what the US Supreme Court’s rulings will be about DOMA or Prop 8, although I think what I have written displays my bias. Like many national pundits, I do believe that we have hit a point of inflection around gay rights.
For the 3 women and 6 men who sit on the sacred dais across the street from the Capitol building, it is a matter of whether the have the courage the court had in Brown –v- Education, or the fear and bias that led to the Dredd Scott decision.
We shall see how wise and prescient this court is in its ruling on these matters.
There is no "March Madness" bracket with me and the Supremes, and I predict it will be close.
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