“And that’s what we did, we put fear and prejudice on trial.”
-“8”: Dustin Lance Black’s Play about the Fight for Marriage Equality
This weekend marked the premiere of “8,” a play that took a magnifying glass to the infamous Proposition that shook California just a few years ago. The story revolves around the court case to overturn Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that eliminated the rights of same-sex couples to marry in the state of California. Spolier alert: If you’ve been keeping up with politics, you’ll know how this show concludes. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take the time to see George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Martin Sheen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jane Lynch, Kevin Bacon and other fantastically talented individuals in action.
It also doesn’t mean that we can stop caring about the issue. A theatrical piece bringing some of the gritty details to life is wonderful, but it still doesn’t change the fact that the U.S. has a long way to go on the issue of marriage equality. The fact that only six states recognize and offer same-sex marriage licenses and that there is no federal recognition of same-sex marriages is a problem tantamount to those issues at the heart of the civil rights movement. It creates a strata of second-class citizens in a nation that purports itself to be the world leader. Leader on plenty of fronts, sure – but not a leader in tolerance.
The fact is, other nations are miles ahead of us on recognizing that allowing gay marriage doesn’t lead to a country’s downfall. Or the apocalypse. Or donkey-human relations. It leads to a culture of compassion and understanding. Oh, the horror!
Let’s grow up, America. Let’s stop standing idly by as kids get bullied for being gay, stop using the phrase “that’s so gay” as a way to signal something stupid or off-color, and stop making designations between individuals based on who they love.
Love is perhaps the single most important thing that we have to share. It costs nothing, and we as humans are endowed with an unlimited supply. So let’s give some away, shall we?