“Same-sex couples should be able to get married.”—President Obama
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 9, 2012
For most of my long life I lived in small towns. I wasn’t aware of anyone I knew being gay. In 1993 I moved to Austin and I started working in high tech environments. I met and made friends with several quietly gay people. (It was the early 90s, after all.) I started attending SXSW Interactive events and realize that some of the people I admired in the interactive world were gay. In about 2004 I moved to Albuquerque and met even more gay people. As my knowledge grew about who was writing the books I reviewed on this blog, who was giving the talks at tech conferences, who was leading the meetings I attended, I realized that some of the smartest leaders in the web design field were gay. And one of my best friends here in Albuquerque turned out to be gay.
None of these people are giving me political lectures on gay rights or trying to do anything to raise my consciousness regarding gay rights. Just by being who they are, they’ve done those things, however.
By working with, watching, respecting, and being friends with all these varied people I realized how wrong it is to discriminate against them for any reason.
I don’t have a romantic vision of marriage. To me it’s a legal arrangement that involves binding contracts, wills, guardianship, inheritance, health care, insurance, and community property. Nor do I have a religious view of marriage. It’s an agreement between people to be together. They can imagine that God brought them together and blessed them if they like that thought, but it’s more of a business deal than a religious event.
For a long time now, I’ve thought that gay people deserve all the rights any citizen has – not just to marry, but every other right citizens enjoy in the United States of America. Because they are, in fact, some of the most valuable citizens we have.
As for the gay speakers, programmers, writers and leaders in the tech world, I can only hope they were please by the symbolic dropping of one more barrier to equality yesterday when the President announced his opinion that marriage equality should become fact.
These are opinions I’m expressing here. I’m sure there will be many who disagree with my opinion, which is their right. However, I want to declare my support in this public way for my gay friends and colleagues. I’m going to disable comments on this post. I do value the opinions of others, but I don’t want to encourage divisive discussion here when there are so many gay people in tech who have my respect.