We as a nation, a culture and a society are in the early stages of the climax of the long journey on LGBT civil rights. The denouement will last for years or decades as it has for the civil rights of African-Americans, but the coming Supreme Court decisions according to most reliable sources are likely to be the bellwether moment that tips the scales inevitably and permanently in favor of equality.
All of the arguments have been made, sides have been long established, and I’m not interested in regurgitating what has been articulated far better than I can here. I wish to speak only to those on the fence, near the fence or so far back they refuse to acknowledge that the fence exists.
This is your last chance to be on the right side of history. This is truly it. Once the mountaintop is reached (always with room to go), once the tide is strongly and permanently turned – it will be too late. You will have been left behind, and you will never be able to take that back.
This is most specifically directed at those who have a friend, co-worker, brother, sister, son or daughter who is a part of the LGBT community and claim to love this person and yet oppose marriage equality because “every child needs a mother and father” or “the Bible or the Koran or Joseph Smith or L. Ron Hubbard or the magical unicorn that speaks to me in my dreams says it’s wrong or a sin” or even just “the idea makes me uncomfortable” or a combination of these objections and others.
You are being left behind as our society continues to work to enact the concept articulated in the Declaration of Independence that all are created equal. What you undoubtedly cannot see is that this person in your life has needed you in this fight. This fight for equality. This fight for equal treatment under the civil laws of our nation. Religious beliefs and principles aside, this fight is, and has always been, about not treating any individual as a second class citizen in the civil arena.
There were slaves in every society until someone said they should be treated equally. Women were treated as inferior until someone said they should be treated equally. And now, in nations throughout the world, homosexuals and their allies are saying that the LGBT community should be treated equally as well. You have been needed in this fight, and you have been missed. Until now.
When, not if, these decisions comes down in favor of equality and create another advancement in civil rights, whether sweeping in scope or another series of steps in the right direction, you will no longer be needed to fight and it will be too late. That friend, that sibling, that child – they will always know that you were not there when it mattered. You did not fight for them when there was a war to win. You loved them the way you wanted to love them, not the way they needed to be loved. Loving someone “in spite of” of something feels exactly the same as rejection on the receiving end.
So consider for a moment in these final days what you want the legacy of your love for this person, and these people, in your life to be. Are your objections to equality stronger than your love? Because that is what your actions say to each of us who have needed you through this struggle, and your actions, or lack thereof, are speaking loudest in these final crucial moments. If you wait until equality is the accepted law of the land, it will not matter that you finally showed up. Your support will mean nothing because the war will be over.
It is now that matters, more than it ever has before, and you have these final moments and this final opportunity to demonstrate the unconditional love you express in words with actions that match them. If you really love one of us, or some of us, or all of us – prove it. Stand with us while it still matters that you do so. Accepting the reality after the fact is not the same as fighting with us and on our behalf to force change to happen; we may forgive, but we will never forget if you choose not to show up. This is likely, probably, hopefully your final opportunity – for our sake, for your sake, for the person in your life you claim to love’s sake – be there with us, with them and with all who support equality on the right side of history.