Years ago, Good Enough Mother put herself through college by working as a waitress at TGI Friday’s in Sacramento, California. It was a profound learning experience in so many ways; I was living on my own, responsible for my own bills, you know that type of stuff. That was also the year I met my first gay person. Okay maybe not the first but definitely the first who was out, proud and unashamed to be living with her partner and being true to herself.

I consider myself pretty enlightened now but back then I was a wet-behind-the-ears college freshman with a whole lot of living to do. One night I went to Lesley’s apartment for a party.  As I headed to the bathroom, I caught a glimpse of their bedroom, the one with JUST ONE BED! Gasp! That means that they actually slept together in that bed! I’m not sure what I thought I was going to see exactly; maybe I expected the ol’ Dick van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore set-up with twin beds but that was not the case. Yep, there was no denying it, these women actually slept together. And perhaps even, wait for it, had S-E-X!

My thought process was absurd I know and the more I got to know Lesley, I came to realize we shared so many things in common. We both hated our jobs, fought with our respective partners, fretted over money and had big plans for our futures that included settling down and marrying special someone. That was really only a viable option for one of us back then.

There are some in my home state of California who want to permanently keep people like Lesley and her partner from enjoying the same protections under the law as straight couples. To that end they proposed and passed Proposition 8, which made gay marriage illegal.  And there it sat, until yesterday when Judge Vaughn Walker ruled it was unconstitutional.

Maybe this issue is so important to this straight, African American woman because there was a time, not so long ago where rights afford us as TAXPAYERS under the law were denied to people like me. There was a time, as I told Cole, in the not so distant past, where black people couldn’t marry the person they fell in love with if they happened to be a different color. When I shared that with him I could see him struggle to get his head around something so odd. He looked at me like I had a third eye and said “WHY?”  “Because people were afraid. They were afraid of what they didn’t know.” Sort of like now.

When I put this on my Facebook page the majority of the responses were positive. But I got one or two from people who said homosexuality is a sin and that’s why a ban should stay.  I replied with the fact that not everyone is a Christian; therefore that logic and belief system is moot to them. But I do find it interesting, as a Christian, how the Bible, throughout history, has been used so many times to support injustice – a trend highlighted in the documentary For The Bible Tells Me So.


I have tried to take a closer look at and debunk the arguments I hear with regard to gay marriage:

  • PEOPLE CHOOSE TO BE GAY: You’re kidding right? Come on. I cannot remember the exact day I woke up and realized I liked boys; it just happened and it was as natural as breathing. My gay and lesbian friends say the same thing. They knew early on and it is so NOT a choice. It is who they are.
  • THIS IS NOT A CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE: REALLY? Prop 8 denies people the right to marry who they choose, domestic partnerships don’t go far enough and the choice of a marriage partner is protected under the constitution.  If those things are denied, it IS a civil rights issue.
    • SAME-SEX PARENTING IS BAD FOR KIDS: Well not according to Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics which found adolescent children of lesbians rated significantly higher in social, school/academic and total competence and significantly lower in social problems, rule breaking, aggressive behavior.  Guess that one goes out the window.

    At the end of the day, I want for Richard and Roger, Gayle and Mary, Mark and Russ, Jim and Kelly, John and Mark, all of my gay and lesbian friends what I want for myself.  The right to be protected under the law, to live freely and love and marry whoever they damn well please. And when it becomes the law of the land, make sure my invitation is in the mail. I love you all and am proud to call you my friends!

    I’m going to close with this piece of video. Say what you will about Keith Olberman but I think he sums this issue up perfectly. I welcome comments and rational debate but I will not tolerate shouting or name-calling. If you can comment within those parameters, I’d love to hear what you have to say!


    Rene Syler is a wife, mother, breast cancer advocate and television personality whose burning desire to tell the truth about modern motherhood led her to create When not spending time with her family or burning something for dinner, Rene travels the country as host of Sweet Retreats on The Live Well Network and Exhale on Aspire.


    1. Smarty P. Jones

      August 5, 2010 at 10:47 am

      This is such a hot button issue with hot headed people who don’t take the time to think about what they are doing or saying. As a straight, Christian woman, I’m happy with this outcome because I know that this is going to the Supreme Court and it will be handled once and for all.

      It sort of bothers me when people go bringing religion into matters of the court in that church and state are supposed to be separate under our constitution. This country was founded upon religious freedom, yet so many of our lawmakers past and present throw the Bible at their hang ups to make them law.

      Personally, I think that the public airing of dirty laundry in relationships like the one between Tiger Woods and his ex-, former Sen. John Edwards and his estranged wife and the recent marriage of Alicia Keys to Swizz Beats, he was still married when they started dating, coupled with shows like “The Bachelor” and “Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?” has done more to weaken traditional marriage than any gay or lesbian couple.

      I almost don’t want to go to church Sunday because I know this will be the topic of conversation from the pulpit of nearly every black church in the area I live.

      I’ll stop now for fear this will become a book. Sorry, Rene.

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    3. John S. Shore

      August 5, 2010 at 11:21 am

      Thanks, Rene- It is very significant to see our straight allies “coming out” and standing up for our rights to live and love as anyone else.

    4. Suzanne

      August 5, 2010 at 11:46 am

      While I am completely in favor of gay marriage, I wonder how long it will take for them to win an appeal after this decision yesterday. How does a judge just go and overturn what 52% of the voters decided on?

      That said, I do feel like had it been worded differently, Prop 8 would have not been passed. After reading it myself if I were a voter in California I think I would have been a little confused what exactly voting “yes” meant.

    5. Gayle Mahoney

      August 5, 2010 at 12:09 pm

      I took the whole morning today to read the court’s full decision (which I recommend you do if you care about the issue, no matter what side you are on). The judge explains in great detail the criteria upon which he made his decision, the arguments for and against Prop 8, and why the constitutional right to equal protection trumps voter response to an issue. In the end, tradition and the moral beliefs of one group are not enough a compelling enough reason to deny another group their civil rights.

    6. Steve Rosenberger

      August 5, 2010 at 1:56 pm

      I’m with Gayle: EVERYONE should read the ruling. Yes, it’s 138 pages… but about half of that is footnotes/references to testimony. You can “skim” though it pretty quickly if you just read the Findings of Fact section, which has 80 findings (each is a couple of sentences). It’s a quick trip through the whole history of marriage, the larger problem of discrimination against gay people and why it is time for this country to turn the page on this chapter. No one should be speaking for or against this ruling unless s/he has read it!

    7. Kim Wisdom

      August 5, 2010 at 4:29 pm

      Thanks Rene. It is so wonderful to have you as an advocate. If we all continue to speak and share… maybe one day we will all get it that we are created equal. Your voice…is a special footprint to those steps that are getting us closer and closer. Thanks…. and you will be invited to the legal wedding!!! woo hoo!!!

    8. Kirby Pope

      August 5, 2010 at 4:32 pm

      Rene’, Thanks to you and other straight friends for your support. I frequently mentioned to my PFLAG friends that accepting and supportive parents are the most powerful ally for glbtq citizens, but supportive straight friends come right behind the parents. These individuals can off a more compelling argument than any glbtq person is able.

    9. Shay

      August 5, 2010 at 4:55 pm

      I think, in some cases, what voters vote into law is irrelevant… during WWII it was voted into law that the Japanese could no longer own property, could no longer marry outside of their race and were forced into Internment camps. Which turned out to be one of the biggest disgraces my Californian forefathers could have come up with. This law was rightfully overturned (too late, of course, but eventually people got their heads on right). The mob can be wrong. They were before, and they are in this case.

    10. Nancy Brown

      August 5, 2010 at 6:51 pm

      I love this!! I have a gay sister whom I dearly love. I know God loves her, he made her the way she is. We could tell she was different as a child. This is who she is. I am happy about the ruling and hope that gay people and all people can have the rights that are guaranteed in the constitution. P.S.It does not say that only straight, white people are entitled to life , liberty and the pursuit of happiness!

    11. Liam in Maui

      August 5, 2010 at 8:53 pm

      Hey Good Enough Mother thanks for your beautiful and rational thoughts. U are a true G.E.M. in my eyes.

    12. Yelaina

      August 5, 2010 at 9:37 pm

      About time and thank God.

    13. Bennett

      August 6, 2010 at 2:38 pm

      Great article. Michael and I live in Texas. We are legally married in Massachusetts. When were getting married, the judge said “This ain’t gonna happen in Texas, Congratulations!” —

    14. Deon Smith

      August 9, 2010 at 9:33 pm

      It floors me how someone elses “marriage” (commitment will effect someone elses……This REALLY baffles me to no end.

    15. Stephen Simpson

      August 10, 2010 at 9:22 am

      I have to respectfully disagree with several comments. Lets first start with prop 8. the gay community first thought this was not an issue for the government to decide. then they realized that you put your marriage on your taxes meaning it instantly becomes a government issue. They then said we dont want the government deciding our fate because they are too biased. LETS TAKE IT TO TH (liberal) CALIFORNIANS! And guess, they voted against it. They gay community got all pissy and said we dont like that ruling. Since when does the minority get to decide for the majority? The american people decided in a majority ruling. Not the government. Then the judge and all gay community fans said I think the 7 million voters are stupid and WE know whats best for society. WE will fix this. Sounds like bigotry and semi socialism to me and I will not for stand for it. it would be like if McCain won the presidency, the government came out and said that voting against a black man is racist so we are giving the presidency to him. Its like you dont even care what the majority of the people decided on.

      Now onto some of your points about religion. You say you have no choice…seriously? Because you cant think of when you all of a sudden liked boys? Then how can an overwhelming amount of former gay and lesbian people have turned straight? And dont give me those double standards quotes like “Oh if they turn gay its because they found themselves” and “if they turn straight its because society got to them”. No scientist has ever found a link in being born gay. Its just a false justification. You have every right to choose a man over a woman or a woman over a man.

      I will come out and say that I am a christian man. I believe as the bible says and it says homosexuality is a sin. but Im not one of those nuts. I believe God gave you the freewill to do what you want. It is my job to try and steer you in the right direction, but you are ultimately responsible for your own actions and God will judge you accordingly when the time comes. So my statements are not judged by me being right and you being wrong. I support your right to do whatever you want. But you have to support my right not support what your doing.

    16. C. Blanchard

      August 13, 2010 at 3:16 am

      No real Christian can support this matter, for it truly is a sin, even an abomination before the Lord. But we can warn those that do, in hope, because we care enough for their souls. It is not hatred which compels me … for l don’t hate them, I want them to know the Lord, if possible.
      As to those that are not Christians … they must still make the decision to abide or change … for they face the same fate.
      And it also seems to me that most have forgotten the founding of this country … the sort of people that started this country … the heritage of this country … “One Nation, under God” is part of that heritage.

    17. luchina

      August 13, 2010 at 7:29 pm

      i am not a american but i still wanted to say who’s dission is it to punish gay people the world belongs to all of us and everybody needs to have te same rights who’s dission is it to say you are not okay i find it really horrible that in a lot off country’s you cant marry who you love because somebody say it is not okay the world belongs to all of us and not only to the people that have money and power why do we have to live just like a other human being say’s were al human beings and thats it…
      i am from holland and i think that how it is like here it needs to be every where on the world


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