Embracing a small change

The Supreme Court of the United States rules on cases that affect us nearly every day. However, only a few exceptionally polarizing rulings ever truly catch the interest of the American people.

One such ruling came last week when the Supreme Court ruled that marriage rights will extend to same sex couples throughout the land of the free and the home of the brave. I dealt with a similar situation in my previous job when “Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell” was repealed.

One day our first sergeant stood in front of the company and said it was coming, that paratroopers in our unit would be allowed to serve while openly being who they are. There was, of course, even more concern in our infantry ranks than in much of the rest of the Army. Our job was one that required us not only to fight together as one cohesive unit, but also to live together, eat together and even sleep together sometimes.

First Sergeant Johnson smoothed it out with the ranks by utilizing what he did best — humor. He talked about when African-Americans began serving with white soldiers, saying that each unit had a bus pull-up and drop-off the unit’s allotment of soldiers of color.

“A rainbow colored bus isn’t going to pull-up and say here’s your gays, boys,” said Johnson.

In the end, the repeal of “Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell” had little to no effect on our unit. We learned some of our best soldiers were gay. It became something else we could joke around about as we passed the time in guardhouses and on observation points.

In short, nobody was running around wearing rainbow-colored tabs, and the change had no effect on the completion of our mission.

It seems that some want to make this latest Supreme Court ruling more than it is. In the end, it affects very few people. According to the Census Bureau there are about 9 million people who identify themselves as gay or lesbian in the United States. That means that the number of folks directly impacted by the court’s ruling account for less than three percent of our nation’s nearly 320 million folks.

So why the polarization on the matter? It would seem to me that we ought to just let people be who they are. After all, the ruling doesn’t affect most of us.

One thing we hear, is that the SCOTUS ruling will be the ruination of the American family. Will allowing two consenting adults of the same sex keep heterosexual couples from marrying, having kids and all that good stuff? I doubt it.

Another classic argument is that gay and lesbian sexual activities threaten to run the human race into extinction. When a reasonable person looks at census data, that person would be amiss to come to any conclusion that gays and lesbians are a threat to the future of the human species.

The population of the United States has increased by almost 100 million since 1980. It would seem that heterosexual couples are doing a fine job picking up the slack for our gay and lesbian couples, diligently breeding in order to ensure the survival of the species. I would even venture to say that these folks are quite happy to do this service for the greater good.

I listen to Sean Hannity’s radio program almost daily, as I’m a pretty extreme fiscal conservative. Yesterday evening I was particularly interested in a conversation Hannity was having with a lesbian woman.

The woman was excited about the ruling, knowing that a right had been extended to her and her partner. However, she criticized the LGBT community for all of the theatrics following the ruling, telling Hannity that folks that run around waiving rainbow flags simply end up breeding more hate toward the LGBT community.

The young lady told Hannity that she simply wanted to live her life, just like many heterosexual couples do. She didn’t need to celebrate it or throw her newly gained right in anybody’s face. I would venture to say that this woman represents the majority of the LGBT community.

She simply wants to get married and live in harmony with the love of her life.

In Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry (Airborne) we learned to respect each of our paratroopers for who they were. We learned to embrace a very small change that ended up having little to no effect on our lives or our mission. If we were able to do this in the Airborne Infantry, full of overly masculine individuals, we ought to be able to accept the same sort of changes in our society as a whole.

Andy Winemiller is a staff writer at the Mount Airy News. Andy may be reached at 336-415-4698 or [email protected]

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