It’s Not Just A Belief (RE: Ending Friendships over Anti-LGBT Views)

So the Supreme Court of the United States (or SCOTUS, which looks AND sounds cool) recently legalized same-sex marriage for the entire country. Needless to say, I celebrated my heart out…as much as I could while working eight hours at an internship, and then going to my part-time job two hours after that. We still have a long ways to go, but legalizing marriage for same-sex is a big step that is well worthy for us to celebrate.

But of course, no progressive step in society can go without an uproar of several individuals letting us know that we’re all going to end up in Hell, that we’re ruining the sanctity of marriage, and that Jesus would be crying right now if he still lived on Earth.

First of all, relax. It’s not like you’re being forced to be in same-sex marriages. If that’s really your concern, maybe you actually DO want to be in a same-sex marriage. But hey, you know yourself best.

Aside from that, remarks from these individuals, especially over social media, have caused there to be a rift between friendships caused by long-winded Facebook debates in the comments sections of posts, followed by the use of the dreaded “unfriend” button. With this, the sentiment from many people is “it’s such a shame that a difference in beliefs destroys friendships.”

I get it. Our beliefs really shouldn’t get in the way of being able to maintain friendships. However, people who live by this sentiment, especially for the issue of disapproving of same-sex marriages, seem to only look at this at the surface.

To me, it’s not “just a belief” when someone thinks same-sex marriage shouldn’t be legal. It’s not just something that should be up for debate and it shouldn’t have even needed a vote to legitimize. If you believe that LGBT individuals shouldn’t be allowed to marry someone of the same sex, congratulations! You’re an intolerant person who doesn’t want to see a group attain the same amount of happiness as you. Have fun with that choice that you made.

If you got this far and you’re thinking “relax. It’s just someone’s belief,” then I’m going to ask you to take a step back and check yourself and, preferably for you, before you wreck yourself. Your belief is no longer just a “belief” when it’s something that is meant to restrict societal privileges to a marginalized group that you get to take for granted. It’s no longer a belief when it’s a view in your life that shows that you’re completely unwilling to understand the point of view of a struggling, oppressed community. It’s no longer just a “belief” when you’re using it as a means to justify your hate.

I shamelessly remove these types of people from my social circles when I realize that they have these views about same-sex marriage. I don’t care if someone tells me that shouldn’t do that just over a difference in beliefs. Why? Because my identity as a gay male does not infringe on anyone’s quality of life, and my quality of life should not have to be compromised because someone “believes” that I don’t deserve the same opportunities that they have.

Aside from the societal hinderance these views provide, I don’t need views like that weighing on my heart and mind. I’ve tried to be friends with people who don’t approve of my sexual orientation, and I couldn’t enjoy the friendship knowing that there was a part of them that didn’t want me to follow the same road to happiness that society so willingly provided to them. It’s poisonous. It’s something you think about every time you interact with them, and it chipped away at me so much that I had to push them away so I could pick up all of the pieces. They’re baggage; they infect you with the constant reminders that there are so many more people out there who also don’t want to see you be happy.

We don’t need to be reminded of that; we live through that reality every day.

So yes, you better believe that if I see a “friend” post that they “don’t believe” in the very real concept of same-sex marriage, I put them out to the curb. Of course, it’s their belief that I shouldn’t get married because I’m a biblical abomination and my “choice” to be attracted to a man, which serves as an inevitable stepping stone to marrying a man, will surely spiral the world into a flaming black hole (get it? Flaming? Yeah, that was bad.) However, it’s also my belief that I should remove toxic people from my life who don’t want what’s best for me. And believe me, I won’t hesitate to be the one to save us both from a poisonous friendship. There’d be no need to thank me, really. I’m mainly doing it for myself!

Why do I do it? Because I don’t believe in this idea of “respecting” a belief that directly hinders me from having the same benefits as my heterosexual counterparts. I don’t have to tolerate it, accept it, or have anything to do with it, because it in no way serves a purpose in my life. In fact, it actually kind of makes my life much worse. Of course I’ll still be nice to you if you’re against same-sex marriage or LGBT rights in general, and of course I’ll treat you with respect because, despite you condemning my existence, you’re still a human being. But, quite frankly, if you don’t “believe” that I should be allowed to marry a man, you don’t deserve much more than that from me.

Your anti-LGBT beliefs do not trump my freedom to live my life just as you do. And if you believe the opposite, then I have nothing else to say to you.

And if you’re an LGBT individual out there who’s struggling with the idea of removing these types of individuals from your circle of friends, you’re not alone. I had my share of doubts when these conflicts reared their ugly heads, but ultimately, you don’t deserve to be miserable just to keep a friendship going

We deserve better, and we should only have people in our lives who agree with that.