I am a 26 year old heterosexual, white male who is in the best relationship of my life. She is a 26 year old Egyptian woman. We're very happy and recently she met most of my family and extended family. They loved her as well. We even hope to marry someday. I am so grateful that I live in a country that would honor that bond. As you know, it wasn't too long ago that our relationship would not be recognized in many states. That being said, I've taken the stand that I do not want to join the institution of marriage until it is one that allows ALL loving couples to join.
This has been met with raised eyebrows by some in my family. It's not really understood why I would care so much about an issue that doesn't affect me directly. But as an American - it absolutely does. I live in a country that will recognize my relationship but won't recognize another.
The reasons are endless. Gay marriage threatens "traditional marriage" (so did my inter-racial relationship once upon a time). The Bible said man should not lie with man (guess what the Bible thought of me being with an Egyptian -yikes). I've had family, whom are genuinely good people, say that it just weird's them out, they are old-fashioned, it's not the way marriage has been for thousands of years (again - look at my relationship - the same was said about couples like us). So it does affect me. The parallels are numerous. I am so lucky I was born into a generation that approves of the love I feel towards her. Yet, I live in the same generation that doesn't approve of yours - at least in the eyes of the State. But we're getting there.
I was once of the same mindset of most of my family. Being gay was wrong. Then I went to The Ohio State University, and guess what? I met gay people. They were nice, they were jerks, they were shy and they were outgoing. My God, they were like me. Familiarity was the key. It was ok for me to accept that lifestyle because it wasn't "foreign" anymore. Progress, as you have said, will be made in not by litigation so much but in our living rooms, with friends and family. I speak very openly on this issue with my family now. They are great people that, frankly, maybe fear what they don't understand. But maybe I can be that connection to an understanding. Maybe seeing how I feel and how it hasn't destroyed my relationships will help them realize - it's ok. They can in one moment look at my girlfriend and I and hope to see us marry - then in the next moment disapprove of another loving couple wanting to do the same. I wish they looked at your love the same way they look at mine.
There's no need to be afraid. Gays aren't here to destroy marriage. They just want to enjoy it, stress about it, succeed at it, fail at it - as much as the rest of us. As a son of divorce, I need something to re-instill my faith in marriage. I hope to marry someday, maybe when all 50 states allow Gay marriage, maybe when my home state of Ohio does, I don't know exactly. But I do know I need to see something. Something that says this institution of marriage isn't of the mindset of your local country club's "white's only" policies. I love golf. Can you imagine me, a man with a Middle-Eastern partner, joining a "Whites Only" institution? Me neither. Once that "sign" comes down - I'll be the first to join. Know hope.