I’m very thankful to be gay. Very thankful. So much, in fact, that last Friday when the Supreme Court handed down the historic decision in favor of marriage equality, it was great to be surrounded by people that understood the historic significance of what had just happened. As the group of friends that had assembled raised our paper cups, filled with less than half an inch of bargain-basement “Champagne,” to toast the monumental occasion, no sooner had I swallowed the cheap fizzy bubbles then I overheard someone say, “I spent $10,000 on a Fire Island Pines share. Does that mean I’m really not supposed to go to the tea dance”?!
This “friend,” who had spent $10,000 on a part-time vacation share (and apparently just $7.99 on a bottle of booze) was referring to the boycotting of businesses in the Fire Island Pines area owned by Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass after they gave money to Ted Cruz’s hateful antigay political campaign and then lied about it. One of these establishments holds a “tea dance” where people gather, drink, and celebrate their time vacationing on the Island of Fire. It took everything in my spirit not to leap across the table and scream, “Yes, bitch, it does!”
The fact of the matter is… yes, it does mean you might have to do something that seems inconvenient or difficult for the greater good of equality.
Now it would be one thing if this man’s argument was backed by his beliefs on free speech and people’s right to support the politicians that fight for causes that mirror their own (which in this particular case would mean belief in thinking LGBT people are sinful, second-class citizens who deserve to be discriminated against — which wouldn’t really help his cause anyway), but it wasn’t. His only gripe was coming from his wallet. Sorry, Mary, but the fight for freedom has its costs and your vodka soda with a side of Cher remix is apparently your price to pay.
At this point in the game, we in the LGBT community need all hands on deck. Now is not the time to sit back and become complacent. Now is the time to gather the millions of supporters we have garnered for our community and keep the fight for equality moving forward.
Just a few hours after the marriage equality ruling was announced, we had cloven-hooved Ted Cruz calling it the “darkest 24-hours in our nations history.” Really, Rafael Edward Cruz? No mention of 9/11, Pearl Harbor, presidential assassinations, any time period during the Great Depression, slavery or any war fought by the USA? Nope. The darkest hours of this country’s history, according to this mentally unstable yahoo, is winning the right to marry the person you love.
Then we had Mike “F*ckabee” Huckabee equating opponents of Marriage Equality to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and civil disobedience. This is the same man that when asked how he feels about displaying the Confederate flag in public said, “I don’t personally display it anywhere, so it’s not an issue for me.” You know, if I didn’t know any better, I’d think Mr. Huckabee was a vessel in which Dr. King is still blessing us with his teachings!
No one said this fight would be easy and no one said it would be over with winning Marriage Equality. Recently, baseball-uniform-supermodel Chris Christie vetoed an important LGBT surrogacy bill and in many states there are still laws in full effect or filed that discriminate against the LGBT community in employment, housing, adoption, and public accommodations such as rest rooms.
Listen, everyone in the gay community doesn’t have to agree politically on all things, (I would argue they just have to agree on the things I believe in, but I’m not sure that will go over too well) however, let’s be clear at what’s now at stake and what is being asked of us.
So whether it’s forgoing getting obliterated at a tea dance hosted by the gay version of Uncle Tom — I guess that would be, “Guncle Tom” — turning your profile pic rainbow, or lobbying legislators — stay active. Be engaged. Of course, take the time to celebrate but remember we have a long road to travel still and sometimes the journey takes sacrifice — like spending more than $7.99 on a bottle of “Champagne.” I know… I need to let it go.
John Carroll is a Broadway performer, writer and activist. For more information on him, go to TheJohnCarroll.com. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @MrJohnCarroll