Letter: Acceptance would go a long way

To the editor:

Minnesota will be voting on a proposed amendment to our state’s constitution limiting marriage to one man and one woman. As someone who calls Monticello my hometown, I urge you to remember that this amendment will affect someone you know.  I graduated from Monticello in 2007. I am proud of being from Monticello. I am also proud of being gay. However, being gay, as a child, in Monticello was difficult.
We were all different at some point. In fact, we were told to accept everyone as they were. This wisdom was instilled to me by my Dad who told me that he would love me no matter what – that didn’t mean if I was gay that his love would stop.
Being gay was something I was insulted about while growing up. Now as an adult, I hear about how same-sex marriage will change our culture and values. I hear that being gay is unacceptable. Sadly, I know that there are thousands of gay and lesbian kids who will grow up the same way I did: living in fear that you will not be loved. If we listened to the advice we gave our kids, “accept those that are different,” the issue of same-sex marriage simply would not be a big deal.
Gay and lesbian couples are not the same as heterosexual couples. But, weren’t we told as kids that we should accept those different than ourselves?  How will we explain to kids that someone has two mothers or two fathers? Eventually it’s just going to be a normal thing, like having divorced parents.
Maybe that gay kid won’t have to go to sleep tonight scared that one day Mom and Dad won’t love him anymore. Maybe being that kind of different won’t be a bad thing. Minnesota has an opportunity to come out on Nov. 6 and in doing so, tell its children that they are loved unconditionally and “belong.” Remember the kids who dream of sharing their life with someone of the same sex. They’re listening too.
Being gay is just one of a thousand traits that make up my person. The desire to love and be loved is the strongest force on this planet. And in that way, being gay affects every interaction in which straight people also take part. Every human has a desire for companionship. So on Nov. 6, please accept those who are different than you.

Alex Wipper
St. Paul