Proposal 2 passed. Does that mean that Michigan is full of
heterosexist bigots? Maybe. But this year’s election shows
that people are going to need to do some more soul-searching in
order for gays to retain their rights. Name-calling will not prompt
people to reconsider their attitudes toward the gay community.
However, entering into a cooperative relationship in which we learn
from each other just may.

I’m homophobic, often stuttering and breaking a sweat
after being told of someone’s nonheterosexual orientation,
screaming and kicking when friends try to drag me into gay bars and
struggling with the fact that many of my friends and some of the
coolest people I know happen to be gay. Now as you read this, you
can hate me, curse me, call me a bigot … whatever, but
I’m simply being honest. And the passage of Proposal 2 last
night suggests that there are many more just like me who sympathize
with my position but are too afraid to openly acknowledge this out
of fear of being tagged as a “sexist” or
“heterosexist.” So instead, they silently voice this at
the polls.

For personal reasons, I do not believe that individuals should
gain or lose rights based upon their sexual orientation. But just
as I am able to enter into some type of contractual agreement with
a loved one, others should have the same opportunity. There exists
a distinction between marriage and a contract, and this is why I
can support Michigan’s defense of marriage act, while voting
against Proposal 2. Despite my homophobia, I refuse to use my
ignorance and intolerance to suppress the freedoms of my friends,
professors and a whole host of others. Proposal 2 was
discrimination at its best. Not simply because it banned gay
marriage (the Defense of Marriage Act already does this), but
because it triggered an entire population’s lack of
understanding of the gay community and used it to prevent gays from
entering into unions of any similar purpose including civil unions.
People were asked to legislate biased personal opinion for the
purposes of intruding on the rights of others … and they
did.

So now what? Do you turn to people like me and yell and scream?
Of course you will, but when your throat gets sore and your legs
grow numb, remember that there are a lot of homophobes out there,
and we’re not going to change by getting yelled at and called
out of our names. We need love too, so help us to understand why we
are homophobes, and we’ll help in the fight to protect your
rights.

 

Clair is an LSA senior and a Daily columnist.

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