Last April, Brandon Ambrosino authored one of the most compelling articles that I have read all year: “Being Gay at Jerry Falwell’s University.” Appearing in The Atlantic, the essay is his own story of coming out of the closet while he was an undergraduate at Liberty University. What riveted me about his account is how the Christians at Liberty University responded to the revelation of his sexuality. He had feared that they would want to stone him. But instead, he found out that quite the opposite happened. Even though professors and administrators believed homosexuality to be a sin, they loved him and embraced him with open arms. His expectations of these Christians were so low that he realized he had been suffering from “homophobiaphobia.” These fundamentalist Christians didn’t turn out to be the nasty caricatures that they are often made out to be.
Earlier today, Ambrosino released another article for The Atlantic, and I think it is just as significant as the one from last April. The title says it all: “Being Against Gay Marriage Doesn’t Make You a Homophobe.” I have to say that—even though he and I are on opposite sides of this most contentious social issue of our time—I really appreciate what Ambrosino does in this article. Here’s a bit from the conclusion:
As a gay man thinking through the issue of marriage equality, I’ve come to the conclusion that, although it’s a no-brainer for me, this issue is complicated to a great number of people. To demonize as anti-gay the millions of Americans currently doing the difficult work of thinking through their convictions is, in my opinion, very troubling…
We shouldn’t have to resort to trumped up charges of bigotry to explain why opponents of gay marriage are wrong. Calling someone “anti-gay” when his behavior is undeserving of that label doesn’t only end civil discussion – it degrades the foundation that undergirds a democratic, pluralistic society. Though gay rights’ opponents have at times villified us, I hope that we’re able to rise above those tactics.
Ambrosino supports legal gay marriage. He believes that gay sexual relationships are a good and wholesome expression of human sexuality. In other words, he and I couldn’t be any further apart on this substance of these issues. Nevertheless, I really appreciate what he is arguing for in this article. Against the overwhelming opinion of others in his community, he does not believe that opponents of gay marriage should be demonized or considered bigots. His stand is courageous as he is already taking shots from those on the Left. He didn’t have to write this, but I for one am grateful that he did.
Read the rest of Brandon’s article here.