Brian Doughty is a Utah State Representative and currently serves as Plan-B Theatre Company’s board treasurer. He and Rian Davis are subscribers and donors.
I accepted my sexuality late in life, or at least I considered it to be late in life. I was 29 when the realization hit me that 30 was around the corner and I needed to accept who I was and embrace being a gay man. But that was just the first step in an evolution to truly embracing what being gay means and the rights I should be given. Not special rights! Equal rights.
When I was in my early 30’s the discussion about civil unions and gay marriage were just starting to gain momentum. But, to be honest, I did not understand all of the hoopla coming from the gay community. “Why do we need to be able to get married?” I would ask my friends and myself this question during heated debates at the gay coffee shop in Denver [where I was living at the time].
Looking back, I was still very immature to the concept of relationships. During those first 29 years of my live I had never been in any type of committed relationship. Now that I have been in three “long term” relationships I have grown or evolved to understand the importance of marriage for the gay community and for my partner and me].
Marriage is a societal recognition of a couple’s love and dedication to each other. Marriage is a bundle of legal rights that ensures everything from medical visitation to child custody. Until gay marriage is available in all fifty states, gay couples are essentially second-class citizens.
The fact that states are putting initiatives on the ballot where the majority can vote to refuse rights to the minority is insane. My partner Rian and I love each other, we live together, we contribute to society, we pay our taxes, we share dreams together, but in the eyes of our state we are perfect strangers.
Marriage would mean legal protections and benefits that are given to our heterosexual neighbors.
Marriage would mean society recognizing that our relationship is just as important as those of my straight friends and family.
It is my hope that in my lifetime we look back at the last few years of states removing and/or restricting the ability of loving gay couples to marry as shameful and ignorant.
Being a gay man, I myself was ignorant to the benefits of marriage equality. It’s imperative that the gay community and allies help people like myself evolve to a place of understanding and support of marriage equality.
Plan-B Theatre Company’s Script-In-Hand Series reading of “8″ takes the stage August 4-5. A fundraiser for both Plan-B and the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the event boasts a cast of 20 and a post-show discussion with the playwright, Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black, and Congressman Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts). Tickets and more info available here.