So here’s the thing…I know this young man. His name is Duncan. Duncan McAlpine Sennett to be exact. He has recently garnered himself a great deal of attention, both good and bad, by speaking his truth.
Duncan was recently Bar Mitzvah’d (not sure that is the appropriate tense) and as part of this celebration he had to give a speech on his Torah portion. As I understand it, you don’t get to choose your Torah portion, it is assigned to you based on your birth date. His portion dealt with the marriage of Jacob. Duncan used this opportunity to very maturely, eloquently and bravely state his views on the current state of marriage equality in America. You can see it here.
This video went a little viral. The count on youtube has the views at over 140,000. He has been on MSNBC. The speech as been in articles on Huffington Post and Yahoo, to name a few. It has been featured on websites in Europe. His speech hit a nerve.
Marriage equality is a hot topic. It is an important issue. I am a straight woman who is married to a straight man. But not too long ago in our history I would have been branded a jezebel, a whore, a fallen woman, because I was married once before, and we divorced. That alone would have put me on a path that would have me shunned in many social circles. The idea that I could then go on to get remarried would have been unthinkable.
But we don’t live in the dark ages, or 1950, any longer. I am fortunate that I am no longer limited by outdated and patriarchal rules. But marriage equality doesn’t stop there. There is a large percentage of our population who currently cannot legally get married in the state in which they reside because they want to marry a person of the same gender. I get to live in Massachusetts, the first state to recognize the legal right of two people of the same gender to marry. As far as I am concerned, when two legal, consenting adults want to bind themselves together legally, in front of God and everybody, they should be able to do that. AND they should be afforded the same rights and responsibilities as a heterosexual couple.
People will argue with that, for a variety of reasons, and that is OK. We can disagree. People will say that the Bible says this, or it says that, or it doesn’t say this or that. There is a lot of room for discussion, and ultimately you will have missed the whole point of Duncan’s speech if you get bogged down in THAT particular discussion.
The point he stood up for, and I stand with him on, is people deserve equal rights, in the eyes of the law. And when he spoke this truth, there was an amazing outpouring of support and admiration. There was also an amazing outpouring of hate and anger. As someone pointed out, the closer to the truth you get, the more hatred it can engender. But when all is said and done, this is a 13 year old young man who felt so strongly about something that he stood up at an alter and spoke it. I don’t know if he realized exactly what could happen, probably not, and I am not sure how he feels about it now. I know his mother and father and step father (my brother, in full disclosure) are there, supporting and defending him. But it has to be hard. To have put your truth out there, and to have people write hateful, threatening things in return has to make you question if you did the right thing.
Here is what I would have Duncan, and all of the Duncans of the world know: You did the right thing. Never ever ever let the threat of hatred and anger stop you from speaking your truth. I admire your strength of conviction and am proud to know a young man who is so smart and loving. I know good things will come from you being on this planet. Good things have already come from it.