Learning From The Darkness That Lies Behind Us

To The Reader’s Forum:

The recent Letter To the Editor entitled Boy Scouts Bullied By Gay Activists contains the misguided, hurtful, and incredibly naive statement “Gay marriage was never really all about gay people living and loving one another. It was really about forcing everyone into accepting their new and perverted definition of marriage. It was always about transforming society into their twisted values.”

We live in a great nation, great because we continue throughout history to reject and overcome division and discrimination, and because we embrace those different but equal to us. As a nation, we never forget the darkness in our past, we keep it alive in our hearts, and that’s how we grow. There are people reading this who were alive during the Loving vs. Virginia U.S Supreme Court decision where it was deemed unconstitutional to legally prohibit interracial marriage. Far from ancient history, this monumental achievement occurred on June 12, 1967. Masses of people argued that a union between a white and black spouse was not about love, but about ‘forcing a perverted definition of marriage’. Less than 45 years ago.

Just a trifle over 100 years before that, African Americans were fighting for an even more basic freedom: The right not to be owned. Again, far from ancient history.

Circa the same period that slaves were fighting for their personal freedom, women in the U.S and around the world were fighting for another right: to be widely accepted as physicians and surgeons. Surgery residency programs drastically opposed this ‘insult’, this act of ‘bullying’. Maybe the women weren’t about loving medicine and curing the sick? Maybe they wanted to force everyone into accepting their ‘perverted definition of medical practice’.

In the past some have argued that homosexuality is a choice while gender and race is not, but modern chromosomal linkage, epigenetics, and other studies say different. This science is often ignored by people who value prejudice over reality.

Fearing people different from us is much easier to do than understand them. But our country was not built on fear. Rather it was built on an emotion needed to overcome fear: Courage. The courage to shine light in places previously kept in shadow.

I wanted to say that we are a great country because we learn from the darkness that lies behind us. But what knowledge do we gain from the darkness that surrounds us still?

Ralph Conure