, Muskogee, OK

April 2, 2013

In gay rights debate, show respect

— We are talking about gay marriage a lot now.

With the Supreme Court considering two cases related to the topic, many people are expressing strong opinions on the matter.

A lot of people are talking. We’re not so sure many are actually listening.

One side sees the effort to sanction and recognize gay marriage as an effort to put the stamp of social acceptability on an immoral lifestyle.

The other side is pushing to have government allow same-sex marriage, to have society accept the bonds that exist, and to have the same rights and privileges that are given to couples in a traditional marriage.

One side sees the issue as being seated in morality, faith and traditional values.

The other sees it as a question of civil rights.

Both sides are sincere. Each also seems to be demonizing the other.

In any debate, when one side doesn’t respect and listen to the other any hope of understanding is lost.

We should listen to each other. We should disagree without being disagreeable. We should refrain from name-calling, from using a label to disregard deeply held beliefs and opinions.

We are all Americans, gay or straight, Democrat or Republican, religious or secular. We owe the other person in the debate respect — even when we are certain he is wrong.