The Free Press, Mankato, MN

October 26, 2012

Your View: Don’t lock anti-gay discrimination into place

Jeremy Hanks, Janesville

— I am a father, uncle, brother, son, grandson, godfather, small business owner, taxpayer, Christian and partner — and I am also gay.

It took me 24 years to finally be able to admit that to myself. Why? Because my Catholic church and society told me it was wrong. I grew up on a hobby farm, attended a small school and lived most of my life hearing negative things about gay people. I struggled daily with why I was “that way.” How could I change?

I thought numerous times about suicide and came close to attempting it once.

Guess what? Nothing is wrong with me. God made me this way.

I did not choose to be this way and anyone who thinks it’s a choice is simply wrong. Why would anyone choose to be discriminated against and feel like we have to live in fear, or as second class citizens? You can’t pray the gay away. I’ve tried.

At what point did you choose to be straight? I’m guessing you didn’t, it’s just the way you are. Same applies to gay people.

There is already a law in place preventing gay and lesbian people from marrying. Why lock it into the constitution? Times change and history has proven this. Remember when women weren’t allowed to vote, black people couldn’t marry white people? Thank God we’ve gone beyond those times.

Think of your children and grandchildren’s futures. Do you want to limit them the freedom to marry the person they love in the event they are gay? My parents never thought they would have a gay son, but they do.

I’m voting “no” and will not be a part of discriminating against anyone.