Editor’s note: This op-ed is by Jaime McMillan, who is running as a Republican for the U.S. Senate against Democratic Senator from Colorado Mark Udall.
I am the first Republican US Senate Candidate to support full LGBT equality. I fully support gay marriage because it is simply the right thing to do. From my reading in the history of natural law theory, the government has no authority to tell consenting adults who they can and cannot love. Therefore the government should not be in the business of telling free, adult citizens what they can and cannot do in their own relationships. Neither should the government be in the business of declaring which marriages are valid and which ones are not. To me, this seems like a common sense issue. Government has its place, but making decisions about who someone can love is not one of them.
While some people in my party are convinced that being gay is a ‘lifestyle preference,’ the scientific community tells us a different story, one in which we still do not know why people are gay, but believe that it goes beyond a simple choice.
As a pragmatic, heterosexual, conservative father of two boys, I will continue to respect what so many in the LGBT community have been saying for years about their experience: “Being gay is a trait people are born with, not a ‘choice’ or a ‘lifestyle.’ People’s sexual preferences are hardwired.”
Out of deep respect for the minority rights of a proud community of law-abiding and hard-working citizens, I will continue to leave this valid and important question open in my mind until there is overwhelming and conclusive scientific evidence to prove otherwise. Until then, I will not succumb to the simple belief that “being gay” can be changed or prayed away. Just as we would today find it inconceivable to deny rights to African Americans based on the color of their skin, we must not allow government to deny rights to a group of people born with a trait outside of their control.
The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community deserves equal recognition and respect, yet every day they face unjust discrimination. This country was founded on the principle of being free to pursue happiness, and what does the government do? It restricts these rights with policies such as The Defense of Marriage Act signed by President Bill Clinton and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. The repeal of DADT was a step in the right direction. Countless LGBT service members have honorably served this country, and we need to recognize their altruism, their desire to champion freedom and serve a country that has not served them.
On a personal note, my 92-year-old grandfather is a decorated WWII veteran and an openly gay man. He has been with the love of his life, Joel for more than two decades. He served his country honorably, fighting for the freedoms we enjoy today. Religions and some private institutions are free to exclude others as they see fit, but the government must be in the business of inclusion, not exclusion.
There are some in my party who believe that civil unions are the same thing as marriage and that if we simply give gay people all of the same rights that marriage enables it should be good enough. I am here to tell you that separate but equal is never equal. Civil unions are NOT the same as marriage.
The time has come for full LGBT rights. History has taught us nothing if we still refuse to accept and value the differences among us. Differences are what helped to start this country, and excluding those who are different hurts the nation. Consenting adults must have the right to choose who they love, and the government must not interfere with that choice.
Jaime McMillan is the first Republican US Senate Candidate to call for full LGBT equality. McMillan is the proud father of two sons, Zach, age 10, and Troy, age 9. He also has a new extended family from unification with his natural father during his teenage years. He believes it is never too late to be a father and encourages everyone having a similar story to pursue the families and loved ones they may have never known.
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