A Conversation with My Dad, Part 2 of 3

Yesterday I introduced my Dad and gave some background about our family. Today, I’m posting the first half of our conversation.

Thanks, Dad, for agreeing to let me interview you and share your thoughts on our website.

What do you think about these constitutional bans on civil unions and marriage for gay couples?

I don’t know a whole lot about the ins and outs of the issue. But it seems to me people move here from other countries to express their freedom. People come here for freedom, to be able to have freedom of religion and freedom of expression. That’s what this country was built on.

I think it’s bullshit that we do something like this. It just seems like it’s against the constitution. That’s why they’re doing this, right? Because it’s against the constitution, right? It’s unconstitutional to deny freedom.

I just don’t think it’s fair that they would pass such a thing. It’s like taking away the freedom that this country was built on. Whether you personally agree with [homosexuality] or not, it’s still taking away people’s freedoms. It’s like trying to make everybody go to church or not go to church. Why is one group supposedly better than another group?

And if it comes to religious beliefs, well that’s not what this country is built on. It’s not built on forcing people to have certain religious beliefs. That’s what this gay thing is about, the abortion thing. It’s forcing certain people’s beliefs on other people.

Was it difficult for you to accept me as gay?

I always knew that there was a chance you were gay. When you came out and were definitely gay, it didn’t really affect me, because I already thought you were. It’s not something that someone goes running up and down the street bragging about. It’s just reality.

What was the hardest thing to deal with?

Worrying about what other people think. When you’re a jock all your life and then a construction worker, it makes it hard. It bothers me knowing how other people will react knowing I have a gay son. It just puts me in a situation. I’ve told a lot of people about it, but it’s just awkward. Because you have to deal with certain macho, hard-ass people. The type of people I deal with on a daily basis.

I’ve asked some people--including people I work with--what would you do if your kid was gay? I think this whole thing comes down to people being educated about it. A lot of people think gay people are a bunch of weirdos, and they just need to be educated. Until you are around it and realize what it’s all about, it’s just a different type of person. It’s not like they’re weird, strange, mean, or crazy. It’s just the way they are.

One of my friends is a Teamster, and he was saying something about “those f--ing queers.” I said “Hey wait a second, my son is gay.” He said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize. I won’t say that anymore.” And I said, “It’s okay, if your son was gay or you were around gay people, you would realize they’re regular people too.” A lot of people have never been around gays. They think they’re just a bunch of weirdos.

What would be your position on the civil unions and marriage ban if you didn't have a gay son?

That’s a good question. I don’t think I’d vote for it. But I’m saying that now because I’ve been around it, and I’m educated about it. People who are going to vote for it just aren’t educated. They don’t know or don’t learn or read about it. Because it’s against their principles and they think it’s against human nature. They don’t realize.

That’s what you guys are doing--going out and educating people about it. It’s the only way to win. Explaining "we’re normal people and we deserve rights. We can raise kids just as well as other people. We’re regular, educated people." Yeah, there are weirdos who are gay just like with any other group.

Tomorrow, I’ll post the second half of our conversation, in which my dad talks about what happened when Michigan faced a civil unions and marriage ban on the November 2004 ballot and what he thinks about how other Catholics and laborers react to this issue.

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At 8:46 AM, Blogger Paul said...

What a great perspective! Your dad seems like a great guy. I look forward to hearing the second half.



At 1:43 PM, Blogger David Schowengerdt said...

Nice job, Josh. This is a great story about the human side of all of this. How good of your dad to spend his time on the interview...and especially for standing up for you.

At 5:21 PM, Anonymous Kyle said...

This is the kind of person whom everybody should aspire to be and look to promote.

Josh, your day is very well educated, knowledgable, and able to see that, despite his religion and unbringing, gay people like myself are completely normal and that everybody should have equal rights. I think it is great he is allowing you to post the interview for more people to see. It certainly is a different viewpoint than one is used to.



At 6:17 AM, Blogger Tom in Rhinelander said...

This demonstrates why everyone should be out to as many people as possible. We can't win over the hearts and minds of the voters if they don't know.

Thanks, Josh


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