Op-ed: We should not dictate how people love each other

Boling

By Daryl Boling

Love is love is love. And any American’s pursuit of love should be as inalienable a right as any that our founding fathers declared in our Constitution. And, as President Trump announced his nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy to the United States Supreme Court — Brett Kavanaugh, an extreme conservative known to minimize women’s rights and to prioritize corporations over individual liberties — it is important to understand the broader threat this poses to these rights.

Fear bred from misunderstanding most often leads to hate. It’s nature versus nurture… and for many Americans, our natural instinct to love is suppressed by a cultural indoctrination, submerged by a fear of the unknown. The Other.

Make no mistake about it: Driven by that fear, equality is at stake. Justice Kennedy was at heart a libertarian, believing that each individual should be respected. Whether in matters of choice or LGBTQ rights, despite being quite conservative on virtually every other issue, he respected the right of people to make choices and to live their lives without the intrusion of state or federal government. Tragically, neither Trump nor the GOP leadership in Congress and the Pennsylvania State Legislature share those beliefs. As such, there are serious and justified concerns that this widespread bigotry could slash the hard-won protections of our LGBTQ community. Those who fought long and hard, for decades, to finally attain same-sex marriage and who have only just begun to embrace a growing relief from a generations-old fear of persecution. These individuals — as American as any of us — now find themselves wading through a new nightmare, spun from coded homophobia, bred within extremist factions of the Republican Party, threatening to shatter their newfound, almost-there reality.

Far too many in our own state’s legislature fear either the perceived repercussions of such dynamic change, however righteous it may be; or, barring that generosity, fail to embrace the necessary sea change so obviously upon our culture — a tone-deaf misstep that will ultimately be the demise of their connection to the public they proclaim to serve.

While my upbringing was not without love, it certainly lacked an understanding of all-inclusive love. And as a testament to the necessity of early exposure to creative and cultural diversity, it was my work in the theater in 1995 that ultimately allowed me to embrace that generosity of spirit for the Other — the enlightening experience of working on the romantic, comic and cautionary tale of Jeffrey by Paul Rudnick. Playing the male romantic lead of Steve, opposite the title character of Jeffrey, expanded my horizons to the greater awareness that love is love is love, and that embracing acceptance and understanding is key.

We all want to find love and acceptance within our communities. Friends and loved ones with whom to share our lives. The opportunity to build families and live healthy and fruitful lives. We all suffer from personal and financial insecurities and understand the pain of losing a loved one to tragedy or to a devastating illness. These are all shared human experiences. And it is my sincerest faith in the core of our humanity that I will bring to our state legislature as I join other like-minded individuals in fighting to protect these most basic of human beliefs.

Love is love is love. ••

Daryl Boling is the Democratic nominee for state representative in the 152nd Legislative District.