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I originally posted this diary 6 years ago on Kos.  Since DOMA is goint to the Supreme Court I thought now would be a good time for a repost and a reminder as to the reasons why gay marriage really is so important.

I'm also posting some comments about SCOTUS taking this case that come from our friends over at freerepublic.com - something I didn't do in my original diary, but I believe their relevance is important to add weight to the diary.

I also have to say that this diary isn't an activist asking that his union be recognized - I'm anything but an activist and I actually don't believe much in the institution of marriage itself.   This diary is more for the kid out there who may be struggling with the very scary realization that she or he is gay.

If you are a parent of a kid going through this:

1)  remember this is going to be a particularly trying time for them since their very right to exist is going to be debated in the news, on the internet and probably by their peers for the next 7 or 8 months.

 2) if they are coming out to you -  try something different than your gut may be telling you.  When I told my mom I was gay she was sad, scared for me and worried she had done something wrong - it made my coming out to her feel like a funeral.

May I suggest a different approach?  Throw your kid a party and celebrate her or his life.  Don't throw the weight of your worries on them, they are already carrying the words of a very bigoted world on their shoulders:

I wouldn’t be shocked at all if they pass fruitcake marriage and make it legal. Nothing the Supreme Court does surprises me anymore. After Roberts showed what a douche bag he is nothing they do would shock me
I guess we can count of Roberts saying it will be a grand idea that homos marry.
The Stool Pushers Union are all in for this one.
No, what the militant faggot lobby wants - - what they always want - - is to stick a thumb in the eye of "breeders", mainly Christian "breeders".
Sodom and Gomorrah. I am no longer praying for America, except to ask the people return to the beliefs of the founding. The Government we elected is utterly corrupt and the devil is so busy I don’t know how he gets all this work done.
These words hurt and are particularly painful for a 14 year old who is already dealing with the crazy crap that being a teenager throws at you and those were just a small sample of the bigoted words coming from Freerepubic.com

My original diary:

This is something I have personally never seen discussed in the gay marriage debate, but it is the fundamental reason why gay marriage should be legal and it completely wipes out the arguments against gay marriage.

I am not posting this for pity or pats on the back or congratulatory comments for what I've lived through - I am posting it for the lonely and desperate fourteen year old out there, who needs their parent to understand right now. This might be what your child, brother, sister, nephew or niece is living through at this very moment.

You may be saying to yourself - "ridiculous" - but trust me - we learn to hide it very early on. I had girlfriends all the way through high school - no one had an inkling. So without further ado....

Marriage has a built in support structure that has been there through the ages.

Everyone, both gay and straight, are bombarded with the wonders of marriage day in and day out no matter who you are or where you live.

You have wedding announcements in the papers.

You have engagement parties.

Relatives come from all over the country, if not the world, to see your marriage take place and they celebrate, as they should.

There are entire television shows devoted to celebrating the wonders of marriage.  

Movies are based completely around a
woman finally getting her man to the alter, or vice versa, and the happy ending when they finally kiss at the alter.

There are traditions such as the father paying for the daughters wedding - the throwing of the bouquet - the first dance as a married couple - removing the garter - and dozens more that I won't mention.

I mean jeeze - you can even get a congragulatory letter from the white house signed by the president when you are married.  

To sum it up there is a real support structure built around marriage from your family to your local church and businesses to your town government, state government and finally the federal government.

In contrast - gays and lesbians have no such support structure unless they seek it out and build it themselves and even then it can be torturous.

You may lose family members and friends in the process.  

Here in vermont - even after the civil union bill was passed there were town clerks who refused to give out these licenses.   Can you understand how embarrasing a situation like that can be?

You have to seek out gay friendly places to have your civil union - and even when you do you still feel nervous and out of place.

If you are religious you have to locate a gay friendly church, unless you choose to hide who you are.

You don't know how any one person might react to your being gay and your consideration of entering into a civil union.  You might tell an associate and they could have any reaction - be excited - be angry - or even become violent.

Everything in considering a civil union becomes a chore - the wedding cake - the rings - who to invite - where to rent the clothing, as opposed to straight marriage, which in most cases, is a celebration from the start with family members helping from day one.

Because these support structures do not exist for gay people there is quite often a breakdown in the moral fabric of their relationships.

If the bottom falls out on your gay relationship there are no built in safeguards, as there are in the straight world of marriage, to help your relationship bounce back.

It's easy for a gay man or lesbian to dump their partner and have no concerns - no repercussions. No one in their family saying "Oh my, you're going to get a divorce?"  

Many family members will still think of your being gay as a phase you are going through even after you've been out for decades.

There are no legal repercussions - just a divvying up of the crap you might have accumulated over the life of the relationship.

Kids:

Teenagers growing up gay truly ARE more likely to kill themselves - but why?  

Because society looks down on who they are.  Many parents would never approve of their coming out - and if that's true they would certainly never approve of bringing home a new boyfriend.  

This leads to depression and loneliness - some even run away rather than face having to tell a parent the truth.  Life on the street isn't pretty for a gay teenager - in fact it quite often leads to prostitution, drug use, alcoholism and death.

Even if your parents completely accept you being gay as a teenager - it is still a sad and gloomy experience - many compare it to going through a death in the family when a parent is told.

In contrast - straight teens get the excitement of prom - the embarrasing talk with their parents about sex and their first boyfriend or girlfriend - gaggling with friends about a hot cheerleader or the schools quarterback...etc.

Mom or dad will tell them of their own experiences in high school - they'll reminisce  together - this builds their relationship.

while parents of gay children quite often have to seek counseling to deal with their own emotions after their kid comes out - now imagine the guilt of THAT hanging over your head if you are fourteen years old.

Imagine this if you would - everything is reversed - you're fourteen and everything from the television shows you watch, to the magazines you buy, to the billboards you see everyday, are telling you that YOU should be gay - what kind of an effect would that have on your fourteen year old mind?

Everyday, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year - for our entire lives we are being told that being gay is wrong.

I must be sick - even the president doesn't believe gay people should be able to be married.

This might give you a tiny perspective into how difficult it is to be gay and how strong a person it takes to come out.

So this brings me back to gay marriage:

Gay marriage isn't just about two people being able to get married.  Ultimately it is a recognition of the fact that you have a right to exist - that the way you live your life is legitimate AND that everyone recognizes this even if they don't agree with it.

The effect would be a strengthening of gay and lesbian relationships, their support structures and it would ultimately creep into every aspect of their lives from conception to death.  

What I am talking about is gay marriage completely changing the way society thinks.

It would take generations for something like this to actually happen, but the benefits for gay people and the straight people alike would be enormous.

THAT - in a nutshell - is why gay marriage is so important - not for me or any adult gay man or lesbian woman, we're all already slightly or very damaged - but for the kids who are growing up gay at this very moment and the ones yet to be born.

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