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Letter to the Editor

Please, be yourself 

I want to see more same-sex couples kissing in public.

Until my middle teens, Maryland had anti-miscegenation laws: blacks and whites could not marry. Needless to say, we virtually never witnessed interracial couples of any sort. We never saw them live normal lives: sharing homes together, visiting their children, playing together, just being normal.

Therefore, we felt interracial love abnormal, something strange, like it just should not be, because that was our experience. We were wrong. But our experience needed to change, not just our theoretical ethics.

I kiss my wife frequently in public. We hold hands; we kiss after worship; we’ll stop in the market for a peck on the lips. It’s just part of our relationship.

Maybe it’s just here in the Midwest. Perhaps it’s just part of my life and not others. But I rarely see same-sex couples kiss — even when I have officiated at same-sex weddings. I think there’s a taboo. It’s like: “Let’s not push it too far. Let’s not upset anyone.”

But I have arrived at a different conclusion: We need a world in which people see others who are different acting normally, until we all just forget that differences exist.

I long for a world in which I don’t see gender choice in partnering as anything other than personal selection, for which each person has equal permission. And that won’t happen until people act themselves in public. It can’t be the reverse: “We’ll just wait until they get accustomed to us, then we’ll kiss in public.” No, it must start now. It’s going to take decades I fear, as racial acceptance did, but it’s absolutely necessary.

Just as few people think there’s anything strange about interracial couples anymore, in order to arrive at the point at which we simply know in our guts that people are choosing the partner appropriate to them and not think any more of it, same-sex couples will have to behave the same as all other loving couples. We are going to have to create a world in which that is the norm.

So if you are a same-sex couple, and you are changing your natural affection in public for my appearances, please be yourself.

“And every person shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and none shall make them afraid.”