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Equality for everyone in America includes gay Americans also

I am undoubtedly an insomniac.

Perhaps that’s why I was awake at 3 a.m. watching infomercials for no real reason. But while watching last night’s (or this morning’s?) advertisement touting the wonders of adjustable firmness mattresses, I had a sudden realization.

“Bring in your spouse, try out our mattresses, and determine your unique ‘sleep number.’ You can sleep soundly at your comfort number while your spouse sleeps at his or hers at the same time,” the pseudo-reporter said.

Suddenly, I realized if Tennessee voters vote “Yes” on Amendment No. 1 today, I, along with thousands of other gay people in Tennessee would instantly be precluded from even such mundane activities as picking out a mattress together, as the relationship I would have with a “spouse” or “partner” would be constitutionally banned.

Of course, Amendment No. 1 would restrict me far more than choosing bedding. I would be denied from seeing the person I love in the hospital, filing our taxes together, sharing Social Security benefits and the list goes on. In fact, there are 1,049 federal benefits extended to married couples my partner and I would miss out on.

Not only would the amendment unduly restrict me from living in equality with my heterosexual friends, but the amendment is grossly unnecessary, as same-sex marriage is already illegal by statute in Tennessee. Writing discriminating practices into the State Constitution is nothing more than a ruse to draw conservatives to the polls.

Some supporters of the amendment argue marriage should be between one man and one woman because God says my relationship is an “abomination.”

But why, then, do some religions forbid divorce, yet there is no governmental statute outlawing divorce?

And contrary to some politicians’ claims that same-sex parents are bad parents, both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians, among others, have refuted those statements.

In America our strength is through our diversity, not through homogeneity, misunderstanding and intolerance.

Amendment No. 1 is not just about gay marriage; it’s about equality. That’s all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Tennesseans are asking for: to be treated fairly like the human beings we are.

And if equality means arguing with our husbands or wives about buying Posturepedic mattresses, then so be it.