Opinion: Coming out now is nothing like coming out then
Writer Jeffrey Sharlach remembers when the gay community felt like an "elite group" at venues like Studio 54.
May 9th, 2012
05:00 AM ET

Opinion: Coming out now is nothing like coming out then

Editor’s note: Jeffrey Sharlach is an author, businessman and faculty member at NYU Stern School of Business. His novel, “Running in Bed,” about a gay man who finds love in the 1970s, was published this month by Two Harbors Press.

By Jeffrey Sharlach, Special to CNN

(CNN) - I often listen in awe to the stories from young gay people about their experiences being out in high school or junior high, how they went with a same-sex partner to the prom and celebrated after graduation with their gay and straight friends together. When I graduated high school in 1971, I didn’t know even one openly gay person, including myself.

Certainly, even today, many queer youth still struggle with accepting their sexual identity and one doesn’t need to search the news very diligently to come across heartbreaking stories of bullying and family rejection. But more and more, we’re seeing scenes of out and proud young people at earlier ages.

Just this weekend, the U.S. vice president says he's OK with gay marriage.

It’s probably difficult for people born in the last two or three decades to imagine the shame and revulsion once foisted upon gay people by society, government policies and especially the media. I came out in the 1970s, at age 24, and that was the most exciting experience in my nearly 60 years. The exhilaration of finally accepting myself for who I was has never been equaled.

My introduction to homosexuality came around age 6, from my mother, warning me to be careful when I had to use the men’s room at Grand Central Station when we took the train in from Connecticut for the day.  And why wouldn’t she warn me? The only homosexuals anyone ever read about in the news were the ones arrested for molesting boys, having sex in public bathrooms, or both.

The rare homosexual who turned up in television or movies was a tragic character, usually put out of his misery with an early death. We never saw or heard about gay doctors, gay lawyers, gay politicians, or anyone gay who had accomplished anything in life.

I remember furtively looking up the word “homosexual” in the encyclopedia at the school library, carefully covering the page with my hand in fear that someone passing by might see what I was reading. I don’t remember what the encyclopedia entry said but in researching my novel, “Running in Bed,” I tracked down excerpts from the very popular 1970s bestseller, “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask).”

I remember buying a copy of during my freshman year of college. The author, a doctor named David Reuben, explained in question-and-answer format that homosexual encounters were generally impersonal bathroom sex, where guys exchange notes on toilet paper and then go at it. "No feeling, no sentiment, no nothing." Another question: "But all homosexuals aren't like that, are they?" Yes, he answered, "unfortunately, they are just like that."

That was enough to stoke my self loathing to keep me in the closet all through college and continuing through law school.

One of the first things I did when I came out just months after graduation was to toss that book in the trash – and nearly all of the friendships I had. Not because any of these long-time friends dropped me once they found out I was gay; I never gave them that chance.  I was embarrassed to admit my lies and deception, all my pretending to be straight. Although I’m not sure how many of them I actually convinced over the years, one has to remember how much easier it was in those days.  Anyone who had watched TV would have thought all homosexuals minced around with limp wrists and high voices - that is, when they weren’t parading around in all-out drag.

I came out at work, in my job at a big international PR agency, and it wasn’t long before I was “adopted” by the older cadre of gay execs, most of them completely closeted, living in the suburbs with wives and kids.  When a major cosmetics client kept complaining, they decided a young gay account executive was just what he needed and I got a major promotion, and gained some long-time friends.

It was still the love that dare not speak its name so we had our code words in addition to the furtive glances. In business, the universal expression was “Are you a friend of Dorothy?” which I suppose originated with the traditional gay attachment to Judy Garland.

I felt like part of a privileged elite group.  In New York, we basked in the collective glow of that decade after Stonewall. Gay bars and clubs were suddenly visible. Studio 54 was the place to be and no, the bartenders in their silver lamé shorts were not straight. Harvey Fierstein’s “Torch Song Trilogy” had just opened off-Broadway. Richard Gere, the hottest movie star of the moment, starred on Broadway as a gay man in the drama “Bent.”

So now we have our gay lawyers, doctors, and congressmen. The media don’t dare portray a negative stereotype, lest the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation starts holding news conferences and organizing protests.  Gays can serve in the military, something that someone who came of age during the height of the Vietnam War protests, like me, appreciates the symbolic importance but can’t understand why they’d want to enlist. I fully expect gay marriage to be the law of the land in my lifetime.

Uncertainty for N.C. couples after gay marriage vote

For all the gains and the fervent hope that we’ll keep moving forward and not backward, I can’t help but be a little nostalgic for those heady days after I came out in the late 1970s. I doubt any from my generation would choose to return to those days, but I still look back fondly on the momentous gravity of the time of my "coming out" and how it shaped the man I've become today.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jeffrey Sharlach.

soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. Cindy Maddy

    I just wanted to bring up a much earlier argement between 'basketcase' and 'Rob' in this comment thread... But rather than try to quote and repeat, I'll just summarize what I gleaned from it...
    One Solution: Repeal government's recognition of "Marriage" altogether, and replace with equally recognized "Civil Union" where the government is concerned for ALL PARTIES (man/woman, man/man, woman/woman). Such unions would bear all the same benefits accross the board. Let the "Church" of your choice be responsible for issuing marriage liscenses as it pleases. Thus is a given church (Catholic, just for an example) doesn't want to recognize marriage between a man/man or woman/woman, so be it. Seems this could actually be a less tedious task than trying to get everyone to agree on the same cookie-cutter definition of marriage. The only thing making it so complicated right now, is that government is defining something they were never meant to be involved in when it was created.

    May 14, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bh247

    I enjoyed your article and find it quite amazing how far we've come as a society since the days when you were first able to come out. However I found it so sad that you felt it necessary to rid yourself of your old friends when you did so. I grew up in the same era and had several friends I suspected were gay. I didn't ask out of respect for their privacy. Many of them have since come out, and found nothing but love and support from the friends who were with them during their closeted years. It seems you didn't give your friends much credit.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. tomasina

    actually prefers them over Biden and secret service recruits.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jim Hahn

    I too am looking forward to the day when mentioning that you are gay brings no greater reaction than if you announced that your eyes are blue. I am very thankful to those who have come before me and paved the rocky road of acceptance with their blood, sweat and tears.

    I've always believed that everyone else will treat my life as normal, once I do too. I talk openly of the people I date and the experiences I have and I never hide behind anything.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. brownsugarmama

    come on cnn put my comments back. you know they are good

    May 9, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Hahn

      Thus far they have not been good. They've been short sighted and ignorant.

      May 9, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ben

    Hey Jeffrey,

    Don't worry, we can always go back to those heady days of shame and intense personal transformation and isolation just to love who you want to love. It took tremendous work to get to the moment we are now in around acceptance. However, history is not a one-way street. Something opened can be closed. Acceptance can be turned back into rejection. We need to keep working and pushing for acceptance. I for one don't want to be back in the 70's.



    May 9, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Gracin

    1973... high school in Doraville Ga... I discovered that i was gay in the 9th grade. I am so grateful that young people today don't have to live as I did. But there is much to be done. Above all, we need to remember to enjoy life- we have worked hard and endured a lot to be here..

    May 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Cookie Monster

    Coming out nowadays is very different to how it used to be. I've heard the
    stories of how hard some people have had it. My story, although not without it's
    moments, has been a piece of cake in comparison.

    It's the work that MANY people have done over MANY years that has made it this
    way. I have not had to deal with being called names, I don't get scorned when I
    walk down the street with my boyfriend holding hands, I have not been lambasted
    by my friends, I have not lost any friends yet, my family is accepting of me.

    My son! Oh boy, he's just been awesome. His friends have been awesome.

    This is all due to the work that others before me have done. I am eternally

    Thank you.

    Thank you to all those out there who have worked hard, fought hard and put
    themselves in harms way to make it this way. I will never know what you have
    gone through, and I'm grateful I will never know. But I can fully appreciate the
    extent of what you have done to make my life easier.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cookie Monster

      Yes, some McVitties Ginger Nuts would be just fine.

      May 9, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mike in NJ

    That's it, embrace your hatred. Shout it from the rooftops. Just like Jesus said, "Love thy neighbor... unless they're different than you – in that case, hate them with all your might and soul, and say it loud so they hear you from a distance!"

    So be sure to introduce yourself at parties like this: "Hi, I'm brownsugarmama, and I hate gay people, Godless sodomites, anyone who believes in 'Science', and anyone else who is different than me. Pleased to meet you!" It should get you a great response.

    May 9, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Melissa

    In the eleven years since I left North Carolina, I've never felt so far away from my home state. Supporters of Amendment One, you disgrace all North Carolinians and the world is watching.

    May 9, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      If you consider bigotry and ignorance to be good sense then I pity you. I've traveled the world, experienced different cultures and learned new things. But what have you done outside of N.C?

      May 9, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jim

    All I can say is wow. Jeffery Sharlach is only a few years older than me (perhaps 5-10) and took me right back to those days reading this article. No, I wouldn't chose to go back either, but there are meny memorable moments and times from then I wouldn't trade for anything now. Yes, I'm a friend of Dorothy and fondly remember my days in San Francisco's Polk and Castro neighborhoods. Those times made me who I am today.

    May 9, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dblawyer

    Great article, not so great comments. There is a psychological difference and stigma between marriage and a civil union. Just like we can't isolate races in public places because you cannot be separate and equal at the same time. There are certainly many LBGT religious people who just want to feel married by being "married." Shame on all the religious zealots for using our legislative system to further their hatred of mankind.

    May 9, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • carolyn

      We are not there yet.Some people still can not accept two males or two females being "married" to each other.

      May 9, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. tehGay

    That word, "abomination" – I suspect you got it from your christian bible. Note that word, "your". What authority does your religion have over anyone but yourself? "Your" is the operative word here.

    May 9, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Syd

      And how does your comment reflect Christ's commandment that you "love your neighbor as yourself"? (Hint: It doesn't.)

      May 9, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      "That" religion is what our nation was founded upon, despite popular belief. Doubt it, check out or lineage or I'll make it easy, look at our coinage. It's amazing how far our country has plumeted following thier self-serving desires.

      May 12, 2012 at 3:30 am | Report abuse |
      • Gracin

        no- our country was founded on the idea of freedom of belief- to be able to believe in or not believe in what ever religion a person chooses. you need to go do some reading. just saying...

        May 12, 2012 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
  14. Rob

    I see hate from both sides. So the argument that the hate is from Christians ("religous nut jobs") is just stupid.
    Like I said in my previous post. Time to take the goverment out of the marriage business and let everyone be responsible for their own relatinship when they meet their maker. (That is assuming you will meet your maker even if you don't believe in one.)

    May 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. tehGay


    What gives you the right to prevent consenting adults entering into a binding contract?

    Your religion? Note the word "Your".

    May 9, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • carolyn

      Well, fine with me.Get married.......get divorced......pay high lawyers fees...to divided property...and sometimes alimony.Welcome to the land of the "Straights"/

      May 9, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
  16. gigisup

    "It's always been." Yeah, so has blood letting, a world without electricity.......on and on. The same old tired arguments. Like "If gays are allowed to marry why not marry a horse?." When my hospital finally allowed gay partner visitation, my partner (of 23yrs) could hardly make her way through all the barnyard animals in the hallways to visit me after my apendectomy.

    May 9, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Freud, Jr.

      So, why not go to a state that allows gay marriage now and ask for a license to marry your sister. You will find out that DC is not as progressive as you think.

      May 9, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mike in NJ

        Because there are valid health and psychological reasons why marrying a family member is not healthy. You moron.

        May 9, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • Freud, Jr.

        Mike in NJ there are no health problems in marrying your sister if you are female and are gay. Those all have to do with conceiving children. And you make my point. Even you, enlightened as you are, still see marriage as a union between two people of opposite gender with the possibility of conceiving children. Your own mind still sees marriage as between a man and woman.

        If you redefine it, that is not a consideration for gay people. All of the people who are reacting to my statement are just saying that they really know what marriage is.

        May 9, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • PF

      @ Freud Jr.

      Would you then see no problem with brother and sister marrying if one or both of them were sterile?

      If procreation and marriage were inextricably connected, there are a lot of "traditional" marriages out there that should never have taken place. The day all couples seeking marriage are tested for reproductive viability AND forced to have children will be the day you can cite "ability to procreate" as one of the foundations of marriage.

      May 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Mark

    Politics aside, "gay marriage" is clearly a losing issue and I'm surprised anyone would think this would pass. The United States was founded by Puritans on Christian values, and love or it hate it, the "gay" lifestyle goes against the principles of which this nation was founded upon. Fast forward a few hundred years, and America is now a melting pot of many cultures and she is trending increasingly in Muslim population. Most of these new Muslim Americans are peaceful citizens whom are also very opposed to "gay marriage". Long term wise, "gay marriage" is dead in the water from cost to coast.

    May 9, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • PF

      You're very wrong, Mark. It's actually quite the opposite. As even the opponents of marriage equality have noted, the issue is generational. As the majority of the younger generations are completely in favor of it, the general concensus continues to shift in the direction of equal rights for all. In 20 years, it WILL be a non-issue and gay marriage will be the law of the land with only fringe groups still opposing it.

      The thing that IS dead in the water is the idea that one person can dictate to another person what they can and can't do based on their religion. Given time that idea will die out and the world will be an infinitely better place.

      May 9, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • Rob

        PF, that is what you assume and you put a great deail of trust in that children will grow up with a completely different ideal. I think you expect to much to fast. He is right about the changing US population. Which more Catholic-Hispanics and Muslims, it is actully going the other way.

        May 9, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mark

        In 20 years, the "gays" will be lucky if the Muslim youth haven't outlawed "gay marriage" in Mass.

        May 9, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • PF

        @ Rob and Mark

        I do put a lot of trust in our youth because historically this is how these types of social issues play out.

        Additionally, I didn't pull out the "20 years from now" number out of nowhere. It was Thom Tillis (NC's Republican House Speaker) who stated with respect to the state's new amendment "If it passes, I think it will be repealed within 20 years". It's a pretty strong sign when one of the men responsible for the bill can acknowledge the shift that is taking place.

        The fact that you're bringing your xenophobia into this makes no difference. First generation Muslim immigrants might cling to some of the more repressive aspects of their cultures, but that gap will also close with future generations.

        May 9, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Goodbye, farewell, good night, adieu

      61% against and 39% for says you're delusional, PF.

      May 9, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • physicsstudent

        Except that only 10 years ago it was 75% against.....so the progress is going in the right direction. 10 more years and it will be 45% against.

        May 9, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • PF

        Those numbers are for the NC vote, which I wasn't referencing. One of the most recent national surveys had the numbers 50% for, 48% against marriage equality. The under 30 demographic was even more split with almost 70% of people in favor of gay marriage.

        As was stated in another article, this isn't a linear progression. There will be steps forward and steps backwards, but in the end gay marriage will inevitably be accepted.

        May 9, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • NotGayButSupportive


      This country was founded with slavery too. Wrong ideas closely held onto take a long time to change, but change they will. We still have neo-nazi race haters in America too, so idiocy still doesn't go away unfortunately.

      May 9, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • huhb

      Wow, that's a whole lot of ignorance in one post! The Massachusetts Bay Colony, not the United States of America, was founded by Puritans. The United States of America was founded largely by deists based on Enlightenment principles. And we've been inching ever closer to our ultimate promise of liberty and justice for all – which we will continue to do even though it requires dragging conversatives along like so much dead weight.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  18. A better Idea

    I am 100% OK with doing away with marriage (in the legal sense) altogether. Lets embrace civil unions for everyone and halt this marrage crap for everyone.
    Now that makes sense.

    May 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  19. yeahalright

    a) it's not a choice, and b) so what do you care then? God's sending them all to hell no? Why all up in arms if everything's going to happen like it's supposed to, with your ignorant hateful self in heaven and all those people you feel superior to burning away for eternity?

    May 9, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  20. Freud, Jr.

    If we are going to eventually legalize gay marriage, we need to go ahead and pull out all the stops. For instance, what if a really loving uncle wants to marry his 21-year-old nephew? Are the laws still on the books that don't allow that. There there's Jerry and Bob. They are twin brothers. I mean, they were in the womb together. Now they are in their thirties and they really, really love each other. So why not let them marry?

    Oh, and little Billy and Gramps have that special bond. Gramps is now 74, and Billy is 27. They want to get married. Can they do that now in DC?

    Why put the limitations that are imposed on marriages? Those are outdated. Siblings and kinfolk couldn't marry because of the genetic dangers. There are no genetic dangers in gay marriage, so why don't we do that, too?

    Do you suppose sisters can marry now in states where there is legalized gay marriage? Can a mom marry her beloved daughter? Why not?

    We need to think about this one.

    May 9, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • PF

      It's pretty strange that this is where you mind goes...

      Though I'm sure the scenarios you listed actually exist, I'm quite sure that they are EXTREMELY rare.

      May 9, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
      • Freud, Jr.

        They were saying the same thing about gays wanting to marry just a short time ago. When this is old hat, there will be demands for the next step.

        May 9, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
      • PF

        If that's what you really believe then perhaps we should repeal every single voting law ever written and allow a monarch to make all the decisions. After all, allowing nobles, landowners, all white men, and then eventually women and non-whites a voice in government opened up the door that would in time allow our pets to vote, right?

        A little common sense goes a long way in seeing that the "slippery slope" argument is utterly ridiculous.

        May 9, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter

      Your post is silly.

      First of all, you seem to be all bent out of shape about some grandpa marrying his young nephew, but make no mention of some grandpa marrying his young niece, which is apparently legal (just ask Jerry Lee Lewis).

      Your scenarios are pretty whacked. Reminds me of things that I used to read about mixed marriages many years ago.
      Some people back then actually said that if we allow a black/white marriage, soon we would be allowing people to marry animals.

      May 9, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • Freud, Jr.

        I hear a lot of "this is silly," but I hear no one answering my question. And why is this repugnant to you? Maybe you are just too puritanical. Gay marriage was repugnant to everyone not too long ago.

        May 9, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • Peter

        Freud, Jr wrote: "....And why is this repugnant to you? Maybe you are just too puritanical. Gay marriage was repugnant to everyone not too long ago."

        Because gay marriage is proposing the same structure and rules as traditional marriage. Two people devoted to each other. No other differences.

        Your argument that this will just lead to another more radical step suggests that virtually ANY change in ANY law should be resisted because it will only lead to another more radical step.


        I have no idea where

        May 9, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hutch

      The reason the slippery slope argument is considered a fallacy is exactly this. If you're taking your point to the logical conclusion, shouldn't all marriages be outlawed? If we let a man and a woman marry, what's to stop a really loving uncle from marrying his 18 year old niece? What's to stop a brother and sister from marrying? What about a grandmother and a grandson? Do you see how ridiculous this sounds? We don't outlaw straight marriage out of fear of the far fetched and straw man arguments, nor should we for gay marriage.

      The reason this is an issue is a matter of civil rights. I am born gay. I did not choose to be this way. Because of how I'm born, you're saying I have less of a right to tax breaks, to health benefits, to survivor's benefits. We've been through this before with women's rights to vote, with segregation and interracial marriage, and I imagine we'll be through it again. It's just heartbreaking to hear the same arguments with a new face.

      May 9, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • Freud, Jr.

        When marriage is seen as a union between a man and a woman with the possibility of children, the restrictions are natural and logical. When there is a same-gender union, there is no logical reason why brothers cannot marry, or why granny can't marry her sweet college graduate granddaughter.

        If it's repugnant to you, then maybe your own concept of marriage is rather puritanical.

        And we might as well let Mormons go back to polygamy, too. After all, religious restrictions from that pesky old Bible are the main reason polygamy is illegal.

        May 9, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • NotGayButSupportive

      All the same kind of statements they made against interracial marriages. No Brown Sugars marrying any Whities. Let's bring that back too. They used to use the bible to argue against that too.

      May 9, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  21. rhonda

    I think this is unnecessary and a huge waste of time...there are far more important issues to deal with than who marries who...there are people homeless and hungry, kids can't read and immigration...ect... just let people marry whoever they want and get on with the REAL issues

    May 9, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  22. Bev

    Which bible? Which church?

    Your bible and your church, of course.

    May 9, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  23. rstrickh

    No one else is allowed to marry anyone they choose. Why do gays feel discrimated against when the rest of us refuse to redefine marriage just for them? I can't marry two men at the same time. I can't marry a child. I can't marry someone whose already married. So, in many cases, a person can't marry the love of his/her life, the one person he/she wants. We all have to live with disappointment. Stop whining!

    May 9, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Bev

      When you give up expecting your employer to insure your children, but not the adopted children of gay couples.

      Will you give up you free gift from the state?

      May 9, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  24. Chevy

    I can't believe that you people really think this guy is serious. He is joking, role-playing. But then again, he is saying what you want to hear "Christians" say, so you go along with it.

    May 9, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Sinbad

      I agree. I know Christians, and this is just a caricature of one. He is acting this out to get the responses that these people are ignorantly giving.

      May 9, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  25. Westrick

    I'm going Hell? Really? Throw a stone...no really, go ahead and throw a stone. Because I'm sure you've never sinned in your life. BTW: Please provide the bible reference where GOD states gays are going to hell. I can't seem to find that reference.

    May 9, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  26. Bev

    Tell us about the day you weighed being gay, but then decided to be straight .

    May 9, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • yeahalright

      Funny how the "it's a choice" crowd never thinks about this. They make it sound like it's a choice everybody weighs and then decides one way or the other.

      May 9, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  27. dICKIE66

    You are a idiot pure and simple !!

    May 9, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  28. Carlton

    There is no discrimination against gays and marriage. A gay man, just like a straight man, can marry a woman if he likes. A gay woman can marry a man.

    Marriage goes beyond the limited biblical definition. This is not a "Bible" issue. For over 6000 years of civilization, human beings have known that marriage is between a man and a woman.

    Like President Obama, I have no problem with civil unions if people really want that. I do have a problem with a sudden re-definition of the word "marriage."

    There is altogether too much talking about this one dimension of life. Why can't we just get on with our lives? Gay people say they want to be accepted as people. Well, then, try it. Talk about something else, for a change.

    And why would you want to get married anyway? If I were gay, I would not want to have the IRS penalty that goes against married people. I would cash in on all the insurance, retirement, and other job benefits that go with civil unions. I would not want to add the "marriage tax" to that.

    If this sounds like hate speech at all, realize that the problem is yours, not mine. I hate no one. But I can tell the difference between the millennia-old concept of marriage, and the concept of civil unions.

    May 9, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Bev

      With that reasoning, you should advocate for human slavery – it's condoned in the bible and it is thousands of years old.

      May 9, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
      • Carlton

        I'm sorry; that's just silly. First, I was making the statement that the definition of marriage was not limited to the Bible (or any other philosophical ideology). Secondly, slavery is the abuse of another human being. I think you can see that I am not against abuse or mistreatment of anyone.

        Demanding that the definition of marriage be changed is superfluous. There is no need for it. The only motivation is political.

        The idea that defining marriage and endorsing slavery have anything to do with each other is illogical. There is not even a remote resemblance.

        May 9, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
      • basketcase

        Actually, Carlton, it isn't all that silly. Your argument is that marriage has always been this way, so that's the way it is and we shouldn't change it. By the same logic, you could say people have always owned slaves, so that's the way it is and we shouldn't change it. Bev was not suggesting that you were an advocate of slavery, just that your argument could be used to support slavery as well.

        May 9, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
      • Carlton

        I appreciate the comments, Basket, but that was the minor argument. The major one is that there is absolutely nothing about the definition of marriage that is even distantly related to the concept of slavery (though some married people might think there is).

        I should have made that more clear.

        May 9, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
      • basketcase

        OK, then your "major" argument was a straw man. Bev wasn't arguing that the definition of marriage and slavery were closely related.

        May 9, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  29. basketcase

    I'm sorry that your imaginary friend doesn't like gay people (according to you at least), but that's not at all relevant to what the law should be.

    May 9, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • dICKIE66

      Could not agree more !! Can't believe we are in the year 2012 and there is such hatered in this world !! Mostly from religous nut jobs

      May 9, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  30. SloppyJoeDirt

    Why can't people just stop talking about this stuff and everyone mind their business. Gays need to stop flaunting it and haters need to ignore it.

    May 9, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • itsme

      because, we(christians) know the truth about where their souls go and we want them to know, they need to repent or risk eternal suffering, Hell is real....

      May 9, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • basketcase

      @itsme- Mind your own business and keep your fairy tales to yourself. I doubt there's anyone in the US who has never heard of Christianity. If they care, they'll deal with it themselves. Nobody needs you ramming it in their faces.

      May 9, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • NotGayButSupportive


      It is about civil rights being violated due to some religious views. They are fighting for a basic right. Flaunting it is an inaccurate and pejorative description.

      May 9, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Rob

    LBGT should have accepted civil unions. If that was the original push, I think you would have it in all states or most by now.
    Quite simply the government should be out of this business all together. From the goverments perspective, all adults should be allowed to designate a partner for benifits. Churches should be the ones who decide who can get married. Not the goverement and judges should not perform marriages either. The government wasn't involved until the 1800's to try and stop interracial marriage. Then basically took over with the new deal. The government never should have been given the power in the first place. Talk about a violation of the seperation of church and state!

    May 9, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Todd in DC

      Because "separate but equal" worked so well for blacks, right Rob?

      May 9, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
      • gillianandy

        Thanks, Todd! You sure hit the nail on the head. This issue will eventually go to the high court where the justices (if they have any brains) will decide that every consenting adult in America has the right to marry the person of their choice.

        May 9, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
      • LittleMo

        That's an old, trusty stand-by response but this is why it doens't work. Put a black man next to a white man they are both the same – still men. Put a black woman next to a white woman and they are the same – stll women. But when you put man/man couple or woman/woman couple next to man/woman couple it's not the same and never will be.

        May 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • gillianandy

      I wonder if YOU would like to accept civil unions, Rob? If you are, then you have something to say about this; if not, keep your mouth shut.

      May 9, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
      • Rob

        Yes, I have not problem with it. Why won't the Gay community?
        Are you a 2nd grader? Were you taught respect by a buch of hillbillies?
        "shut up"

        May 9, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • NooYawkah

      Excellent response. Yes, as much as the gay community gets on my nerves, crying about discrimination while on their 3rd vacation of the year in Paris or Hawaii, or in their multimillion dollar homes overlooking the ocean, even I have no problem with civil unions. I believe anyone in the hospital should have any visitors they want, and they should be able to make anyone a beneficiary of their estate, their life insurance, whatever. Yes, even I feel that way. But I can't deny that I'm enjoying this crying session immensely.

      May 9, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
      • JeramieH

        What possibly makes you think that all gay people are rich?

        May 9, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • basketcase

      Rob- The problem is, the LGBT community would've gotten civil unions, while the hetero community would continue to have marriages under law. If it worked as you described later in your comment, and nobody was "married" in the eyes of the law, it would be fine. Let someone designate a partner to have all the rights currently given to a spouse (gay, straight, friends, whatever, as long as it's two consenting adults) and let the idea of "marriage" be between the individuals involved, and their god(s) (or lack thereof). It's only fair if "civil unions" are for everybody.

      May 9, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
      • Rob

        Yes Basket, exactly!
        Goverment got involved in marriage to try and stop interratial marriages, because churches were performing them. So seperate but equal did not work well for blacks. Todd doesn't seem to understand what happened. American's handed over the marriage power to the goverment to stop the marriages of blacks and whites. Yeah Goverment, not....

        May 9, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  32. NooYawkah

    Elite. Special. Discriminated against. HA! The worm turns. It is with great pleasure that I sit back and watch the gay community throw a hissy fit over the NC vote. Again, I must say, HA!

    May 9, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • gillianandy

      I think the gay community should take up a collection to get professional help for you. You sure need it.

      May 9, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
      • NooYawkah

        I will gladly accept your cash. I know you can afford it.

        May 9, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • yeahalright

      While you sit back and gloat over denying rights to people who have NO effect whatsoever on your life.

      May 9, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |