Like many people, I am outraged by North Carolina’s passage of Amendment One, which defines marriage as an institution between a man and a woman. What disturbs me most is what this says about our inability to learn from the past. The fight for equal rights for same-sex couples is no different from the previous civil rights movements that sought equal treatment for women and minorities. The specifics change, but the ideologies do not. Those who oppose same-sex marriage do so because their patriarchal mindset tells them that the way of life they are used to is the best possible way, and anyone who challenges that is some sort of immoral heretic.
It is a mindset bred of fear – not prejudice alone. It has been my experience that many (though of course not all) people who oppose same-sex marriage lead fairly sheltered lives, in which they are do not frequently spend time with people whose backgrounds are different from their own. It is no wonder, therefore, that they are afraid of people who are different – it is natural to fear the unknown. But it is their responsibility to open their minds and to try to empathize with their fellow human beings. If empathy for his daughter can cause Dick Cheney to support same-sex marriage, then I find it difficult to believe that anyone whose mind is truly open could support legislation like Amendment One.