(Guest Columnist Paige Pfleger, March 30, 2013)
My name is Paige, and I am an advocate for gay rights and marriage equality.
Growing up, I always had a best friend. My sister is 2 years older than me, and has been there for me through every single step of my life. Though we have always been sisters, we haven’t always been friends. I remember the day distinctly when she looked at me and said “Paige, you are finally cool enough to be friends with me.” She had just gotten her driving permit, and was feeling very superior. But I will always remember that day, because it changed my life. She understands me better than anyone ever has, even without words. She looks and me, and reads me eyes, and tells me she understands with hers. She is the keeper of the ex-boyfriend box, she knows the exact thing to say to turn my tears from sadness to laughter. Around the time she told me we could be best friends, I found out something else about my sister: that she was gay.
This news didn’t change my perspective of my sister at all. I was young, she was someone I had known all my life, and this was just a facet of her personality. She was not different, she was not special for it, or some kind of mutant: she was my sister, she has always been my sister, and she always will be. Gay or straight, she’s my big sister, my best friend. Really all it changed was the amount of laughs I got when I made a joke about all her plaid shirts.
I will be the first one to admit that I am not a politically minded person. History class was an easy A with a photographic memory, just memorizing facts and dates. Civics class was an absolute joke, and I can honestly say I think I would fail a US citizenship exam about the government and our policies here. But, I always knew which way I would vote. I would vote in support of gay rights…in support of the rights of my sister. I understand that this ideology sometimes upsets people: “I am not an informed voter”…which is true. I am not informed on taxes, nor on our monetary system, nor on debt, nor on health care,
HOWEVER, I know all I need to know in order to vote. I know that no one has the right to take away someone elses’ rights. I know that no one has the right to say whose love is real and whose just doesn’t count enough. I know no one has the right to say that my sister doesn’t deserve a wedding day and I don’t deserve to give a sloppy drunken speech about her and her wife.
I know enough to know that gay rights shouldn’t be an issue. The only issue is the people who stand in opposition to a force that is stronger than anyone’s hate — love.