Right now my children are upstairs playing Just Dance 2014, which Santa brought them a few days ago. I can hear my 6-year-old daughter and my 10-year-old son in unison belting out Katy Perry’s lyrics, “I kissed a girl and I liked it.”
As a mom, of course, I’m not exactly thrilled with the experimental promiscuity female pop artists proudly tout these days, but in the context of what has happened in my home state of Utah over the past week, I can’t help but reflect more on how attitudes toward gay people are shifting.
Over the holidays Utah couples flocked to the Salt Lake County Clerk’s office to get married. On December 20th Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage was ruled unconstitutional. Utah’s Attorney General plans to appeal this ruling, but in the mean time something has happened that very few people thought would ever happen: Gay marriage is legal in Utah.
For me, personally, arts and entertainment have strongly influenced my ideas about gay people. I remember watching Pedro on the Real World as he struggled with and eventually succumbed to AIDS. At the time I knew only a few gay people and had never met anyone in real life with AIDS. You might say I was naive or sheltered, but that just underscores the importance of art and entertainment in terms of introducing someone like me to a larger, more diverse world. I cried when Pedro died. I really cared about him. The AIDS epidemic was no longer an abstraction to me.
Of note recently, public figures have taught compassion and acceptance through their examples. “Same Love” became a number one hit last summer by Mackelmore and Ryan featuring Mary Lambert, who struggled to reconcile being gay and being religious.
The much beloved couple Dax Shepherd and Kristen Bell, engaged since 2009, married only after same-sex couples were also granted that right. Dax said, “We’re not going to have a party when half of our friends … can’t do that thing we’re doing. We’re not going to ask them to come celebrate a right they don’t have. That’s just tacky! Forget like anything else, it’s like really tacky for us.”
Kristen Bell added, “I don’t believe in standing in the way of love, and I want to stand up for that right.”
The Catholic Church’s Pope Francis, known for his charitable heart, proclaimed “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” according to the New York Times.
In that same spirit of compassion and love, take a look at Darcy Benincosa’s beautiful footage of couples getting married (while they can!) in Utah:
Photo credit: YouTube