Posted by: johnhourihan | March 19, 2013

Gay rights and old white men

Next week, the Supreme Court will hear two historic cases – one challenging the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the other challenging California’s infamous marriage ban, Proposition 8.

My children and their friends seem so proud that I have voiced my opinions on these matters – that I have listened to them and that I am now of the opinion that gay people should have the same rights as the rest of us. I have to laugh.
I was born translucent skin, blue veined, burn and peel Irish white in 1946. I was baptized Catholic shortly after, and as John Boehner recently said, I was brought up“ to believe marriage is between one man and one woman,” but I have to tell Mr. Boehner, that doesn‘t make it OK. I was also brought up to think the “only good injun is a dead injun,” and I knew at 6 years old that that was bullshit.
At a young age I hunted and fished and joined the Army. I am a combat veteran of the Vietnam War, a member of the American Legion. I am decidedly straight, and because of the experience of a lifetime and the fact that I have never been a blindly following spineless sheep, I believe all people have the right to love whoever they want – we need more love not less – and that belief extends to marriage as a right for everyone.
Boy my kids are proud..
I know there are droves of white Christian vets my age who don’t believe this way, so let me explain.
This is not, as my children would believe, something new to me.
Thumbing home from town late one night while in high school in the early 1960‘s, a middle aged man picked me up. He asked if I would like to do some things that seemed unnatural to me, so I said, No. He asked if I felt he was a bad man, and I told him honestly that I didn’t, that I just didn’t feel the same way he did. He patted me on the shoulder and said “That’s a shame.”
He dropped me off at my house and asked if I was going to tell my father about him.
I thought for a few seconds and said, “I don’t see the point in that.”
He smiled, and I learned that homosexuals, what we called them back then, took no for an answer just like anyone else, that they weren’t all the evil predators we had been told they were.
That was my first lesson. Although I never told my father about it, I did begin defending people whenever they were called predators, since I knew that was wrong.
In the Army I met several men who were homosexual, we still called them that in the 1960s. One was a chief petty officer who helped me learn the Vietnamese language and never made any advances to me. He treated me and a few others more the way a loving aunt would have than anything else. Another was my superior in Vietnam. We often discussed over drinks how unfair it was that he was not allowed to be himself even when he was defending his country. He was beaten pretty badly one night because he was gay, we had started using that word by then. A handful of us who were his friends and knew what a good man he was took out our retribution on the people who had beaten him. It seemed to us those people just didn’t have the right to beat a man because of what gender he was a attracted to.
When I was a young married with children adult  in the 1970’s I was furious with a group of people watching a little league game and making fun of the lesbian teacher who wanted to coach girls. They couldn’t help but make jokes about how she shouldn’t be allowed in the shower room. I thought about my friends and I wasn’t silent. I explained to people that gay people were just like us except they were attracted to the same sex. They were not however predators or evil or dirty or wrong any more than the rest of us were, and that I didn’t want to hear any more of their “stupid and ignorant jokes” about her.
In the 1980s through  2011, as an opinion columnist in  a major newspaper, I finally found the soap box I needed, and since the 1980’s I have written about the rights of every citizen to be a citizen. I have written about gay marriage, don’t ask don’t tell, gay bashing, and the hypocrisy of Christians who would profess to be loving human beings who treat their neighbors as they would be treated themselves while making an exception to the rule for those who love someone of the same sex. And I have also written about how middle class men are, on this gay rights issue, being led by the nose by big business, because of the financial problems full rights would pose for large corporations and insurance companies.
And now my children are proud that I am finally on board with their opinions on this.
Well kids, I am happy and proud you are finally on board with what I have been saying for nearly 60 years.
Sexual preference should have nothing to do with our God given and Constitutional rights as human beings and Americans.
There is one thing though, after having read about the young couple in Denver who brought their son up as a girl because they say he showed that preference when he was 18 months old, I do have one problem
I think young people have a sincere desire to be fair with everyone and to curb the rising suicide rates among young gays. But it seems this has fostered a trend not to raise children to be tolerant, but to accidentally be raising children to be gay.
That may turn out to be a problem for everyone – including a lot of confused children.



  1. I don’t believe in “gay” rights. As Martin Luther King didn’t believe in black rights. I believe as he did in human rights. Homosexuals that call themselfs gay and demand gay rights seperate themselfs from the rest of the worlds population far more than any hetrosexual group ever could. I also think that fighting over a name you want to attach to your love and union to another is assanine. If you do want to fight it tho your fight is with religion not goverment. If and when Goverment gives the same rights and protections to homo and hetro alike they have done all they can. I’m sorry the name marriage is taken. It was taken long before this goverment existed. I don’t even want to think about gay pride. If you were born that way or that bundle of human joy that came into the world developed into it, It is nothing to be proud or ashamed of. Just one more thought on that marriage. The goverment in Boston Ma. past the civil union act or bill. They then changed it to gay marriage. Some elected official said civil union is differant and differant is not equal. Isn’t differant and equal what we are all about as a country? Isn’t it what makes us strong? Isn’t it our foundation?

    • Couldn’t be said better. It is a shame that religions, sets of ideals that promote love and understanding, could never quite grasp the reality of the situation.


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