EDITOR’S NOTE:  The following piece was originally posted on Facebook by ddowntain, and is reproduced here with his gracious permission.

I’ve mostly stayed silent on recent issues because I’m surround by people who I love who stand firmly in their opinions both for and against gay marriage.  I know its a surprise given a majority of my comments and posts, but I really try not to offend people.  I just think EVERYTHING is funny and am a sarcastic ass.  But today, I’m going to post something serious.

Whether you agree or disagree, at least try to understand the perspective and be respective of one another.  I am not gay (sorry John and Leo), but a short click on my friends list and you’ll see that many of those who I love are.

To my friends who oppose:

Some of my friends have been with their partners for 10, 15 and even 20 years.  Building their lives together and in more than one case raising children together.  I know you’re gasping at the idea that two men or, more often the case because men don’t have a uterus and are often deadbeats, two women can raise a child together, but I’ve met their children and they are amazing.  While I actually agree with the concept that men and women are creatures of a different nature and all children should have a positive male and female role model that helps guide them through life, I think it’s more important that they have a household that instills kindness, love, responsibility and compassion.  Not all role models have to be named mom or dad.
I accept that your religion prevents you from accepting the idea of calling a life you see as expressly being forbidden “marriage”, but surely you must agree that if two people build a life together in love and commitment that the life they’ve built should be protected and that the person whom they’ve spent their life should be their comfort in death and recipient of their worldly goods.  You’d expect that for yourself in your relationship, it’s natural that they do in theirs.

To my friends who support:

I understand that it’s hard to conceive that someone can love you but not support the idea that you may marry the one you love.  But don’t be so quick to label them with the word “hate”.  While there are those who are in fact narrow-minded hate-spewing bigots, I want to assure you that a majority of them aren’t.  You really need to look at why they feel this way.  Oh, and the hypocrisy of some of their marriages doesn’t change the basis of what marriage “should be” in their eyes, it’s just an example of human failure and sin (thanks Brit and Kim).

We are asking them to look at the basis for their entire lives, God, and say “I’ll follow you, God, except this one part because I know this guy…”.  That’s kind of a big deal.  As assuredly as you know you love your partner and know that could never be wrong, their god has told them its an abomination.  And to them marriage isn’t just a commitment between two individuals, it’s a union before and with the blessing of God.  How can their god give his blessing to something he calls an abomination?  Like I said, it’s kind of a big deal.  It doesn’t mean they hate you, it means there is an aspect of you that they can’t understand or accept without defying the one who guides and gave them life.  While you ask for their understanding and compassion, you must demand the same of yourself.

About my opinion:

I’m agnostic, but the fact is that thousands of years of social standards and religious definition have said marriage is the union of a man and woman before god (and/or a Justice if the Peace).  Our governments have also followed this concept and provided protections (and penalties) around this union and also called it marriage.

To me, the religious origin of marriage makes it a very difficult and sensitive thing to change.  However, I’ve yet to hear any argument based in logic that can explain or justify why those governmental protections should not extend to those who’ve made the same personal commitments but have different genital configurations.

We all run around wanting separation of church and state but only when it fits our own opinions, moralities and prejudices.  I could write for days about that so I’ll skip it for now.  Instead I’ll focus on the word “marriage”.  Leave marriage to the church.  If you’re gay and your church accepts gay marriage, then great; if not, then you have some issues to work through between you and your beliefs and should possibly consider changing denominations.  But that choice and path are yours to resolve and walk.  Meanwhile, the government should redefine the mechanism by which we define such a union.  Call it whatever you want, but don’t deny those rights and protections to people who choose to make a commitment and enjoin their lives.  Loving commitment should be celebrated and protected regardless of its origin.

To friends on both sides:

I love all of you and won’t hold your beliefs or opinions against you.  But I will judge you by how you choose to treat those with whom you disagree, and like a few of my friends, that “goes both ways”.