Senator Marco Rubio has joined the chorus of anti-marriage equality forces pleading for "tolerance" of their efforts to prevent gay couples from marrying. I do not doubt there are good people with different view points on this issue. To suggest, however, that the LGBTQ community and our supporters should be "tolerant" of those efforts is nothing short of absurd.
I have two questions for Senator Rubio. 1) If someone had stood between you and your wife and prevented you from marrying, would you have been "tolerant" of that person's opinion and his or her enforcement of that opinion? 2) You acknowledge the discrimination the LGBTQ community has faced and the reality that denying gay couples the right to marry lends to the stigmatization of the community. You suggest state legislatures should do something about it. In your years as Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and as a US Senator, what legislation have you sponsored to combat the injustice you yourself recognize? Or is it only now, on the cusp of nationwide marriage equality, that you are willing to even consider some last ditch alternative to full equality?
And, please, do not be condescending to us by telling us how much you "love gay people" and are only concerned about children having a mother and a father. If this were the case, wouldn't you be trying to outlaw single parent adoptions (or, for that matter, adoptions by gay couples, an issue which never got any attention until marriage equality became a reality)? Are not adopted children of single parents entitled to a mother and father as well? Is there any reason, other than prejudice, that you claim to be worried about a small fraction of children adopted by gay parents (setting aside, for now, the endless studies showing children of gay parents do at least as well as children of heterosexual parents) and not the roughly 30 percent of children adopted by single parents? If entitlement to a mother and father is the true concern, wouldn't it make more sense to go after public policies that have a far greater impact on children not having both a mother and a father than gay marriages? Or, in reality, is this just another ill-fated attempted to find some rational reason to deny gay couples the right to marry?
Ultimately, I do not care what personal opinions you hold about whether I or anyone in my community should be able to marry, or not. But when you act on that opinion and in any way impinge on our rights to do so, I do care. I will not "tolerate" it. Not now, not ever.
By John Mattras.
This post also appeared on HuffPost Gay Voices. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of MEUSA.