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Equality for All or Quinoa Equals Mashed Potatoes

Equality for All or Quinoa Equals Mashed Potatoes

Today is the second day that the Supreme Court is hearing arguments about Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. I won’t go into the specifics of what each of those means because most people have a pretty good idea already: same-sex marriage. If you are on Facebook, you can’t help but notice how many people have changed their profile photos to some version of the equality sign so I had to get in on the act and make one that I feel represents my food service industry history.

On April 2nd, I will celebrate my one year wedding anniversary with my husband. One year of marriage may not seem all that impressive, but April 2nd will actually be our 22nd anniversary of being together. We spent the first twenty years or so waiting for people to realize that our relationship does not affect anyone else’s and thankfully, New York State came to that realization in July of 2011. I think a lot of people don’t fully understand how same-sex marriage is absolutely non-threatening to the rest of the world. Maybe if I put it it in terms of food, it will make more sense.

If you go into a restaurant and look at the menu and see something that you would never order you simply order something else. If you don’t want to eat quinoa you order the mashed potatoes instead. What you don’t do is scour the restaurant to see if anyone else ordered quinoa so you can tell them how much you hate it. You don’t make a cardboard sign that says “God Hates Quinoa” and picket their table. If they order quinoa and it sits on their plate and their plate alone, how will that affect your plate of mashed potatoes? I can’t think of any way that it would. Therefore, you simply eat your mashed potatoes and they eat their quinoa and both of you enjoy your dinner. Same-sex marriage is the same thing.

If you are a raw vegan and only eat cold zucchini lasagna with almond cheese that is your decision. Personally, I don’t understand it but that does not mean that I think all raw vegan restaurants that serve cold zucchini lasagna with almond cheese should be shut down. I just make a conscious decision to eat elsewhere. Just like that person is not going to go to my favorite bar-b-q place and order brisket with mac and cheese. Vegans and carnivores can live happily amongst each other and they just agree to disagree. Same-sex marriage is the same thing.

Maybe someone thinks same-sex marriage is wrong because it’s unfamiliar to them and therefore scary. It’s like me and seafood. I didn’t grow up eating seafood of any kind and as an adult, I still hated it. What I eventually realized was that when I said “I hate seafood,” what I meant to say was “I am unfamiliar with seafood.” Gradually, I tried it and now there are a few items that I like. No, I don’t expect straight people to dabble in the world of homosexuality to see if they like it. I just expect people to open up their horizons a little bit and be willing to see if it’s something they can tolerate instead of hate. When I first tried shrimp, I tolerated it and now I like it. Is it my favorite thing to eat? No, but I don’t shudder at the thought of a plate of shrimp as I did when I refused to consider the possibility that shrimp can be very good and it is not threatening. Same-sex marriage is the same thing.

Lots of people are against same-sex marriage because they think the Bible says it’s wrong. I know that Leviticus 18:22 says, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” But what about Leviticus 11:7-8? It says, “And the pig, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. You shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall not touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you” Have another bacon cheeseburger and consider that maybe every line of the Bible isn’t exactly correct.

I know that in time, this country will recognize same sex marriage as a right. It’s happening and honestly, it’s happening faster than I ever expected it to. Forty years from now, it will seem silly that there was a time when so many people were against it. I hope that the Supreme Court makes the right decision. Marriage is something that everyone should have a right to; gay, straight or even that drunk couple who met at a casino in Vegas and got married by an Elvis impersonator two hours later. Seriously, they have a right to get married and people who have been together for thirty years and raised children together don’t? It makes no sense.

Remember this: same-sex marriage is just like letting someone at the next table order quinoa when you order mashed potatoes. A starch is a starch and a marriage is a marriage. They’re just different.

I hope you will share this post. It would mean a lot to me if you did and you can consider it an anniversary gift to me and my husband, Mark.

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