methow grist 2011-2014 archive


A Long Way

A watershed moment for our state happened Monday when Gov. Christine Gregoire signed a bill legalizing gay marriage. She explained her personal, soul-searching journey some days earlier in a moving television interview. Ultimately she realized that it is not the government’s business to tell people who love each other they can’t marry. It is the government’s business to treat all citizens as equals.

Having lived long enough to personally witness the Civil Rights, Women’s Rights and Gay Rights movements, I am proud to live in a state with elected leaders who understand that equality for gays and lesbians is part of the same continuum.

It is so hard to believe, given where our society is now, that it took until 1920 for women to be granted the right to vote in this country, or that it was 1967 before interracial marriage was declared legal, or that the American Psychiatric Association considered homosexuality a mental disorder until 1973.

Not one of these struggles for equality has been easy. Many people have suffered, even died, taking courageous public stands to declare their equality to fellow human beings blinded by irrational prejudices.

Many years ago, my mother asked me why my sexuality couldn’t be a family secret. I replied, “Because too many people have committed suicide or become alcoholics or drug abusers trying to hide who they are from a society that makes them feel ashamed, and that has to change." There is only one way to make that happen, I told her, and that’s for those of us who are very ordinary people to stop hiding and simply be who we are.

Some years later, when gays and lesbians were appearing on Oprah, on the covers of magazines, in newspaper stories, on billboards, my dear mother said, “When are they going to leave you alone and find something important to write about?” To her it was by then a non-story.

We all have come a long way.



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Very nicely written. Well done.

Lori Hixson