Marriage equality, Gen X, Gen Y and Millennials

Bruce Hartley (L) and partner Bill Grider. Facebook photo.

by Bruce Hartley
Life Issues Columnist

What a month it has been since the Supreme Court announced the exciting decision on June 26. The weekend following the decision reminded me of the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s. It was amazing to me to read the right and left wing postings on Facebook.

As a university professor, I understand that Facebook is “aging” and is not as popular for Gen X, Gen Y and Millennials as it used to be. Facebook has become a staple communication source for Baby Boomers and older and it was amazing to me to read the comments after this historical day for America.

I was careful to not post anything ugly or hateful toward anyone on Facebook following the June 26 announcement. I only posted celebratory comments about my happiness about the Supreme Court ruling. It was amazing to read replies from my assorted “friends” that brought up topics and issues that appeared confusing and conformational. I was also excited about the significance of 26 million Facebook users changing their profile photos to the colors of the rainbow flag. My profile picture still has the rainbow flag screened over my photo of my partner Bill and me.

One of my postings ended with the scripture reference of John 3:16. As a gay Christian, that verse means so much to me and was the first verse I memorized as a child in Sunday school. To my surprise, a person on my Facebook took offense to me referencing that Bible verse. She decided to post a reply on my thread with numerous Old Testament verses she plucked out to tell me I am going to hell and how she hates seeing all the gay postings. And to my surprise, another “friend” of mine added a comment that referenced “how she missed the old Bruce .…” I’m sure we all had similar type of replies on Facebook as we celebrated this win.

That weekend of Facebook chatter between both sides of the issue made me think about all of the other civil right issues that I have studied in my lifetime. Think about how Facebook would have been used for historical topics such as abortion, slavery, women’s right to vote, etc. I reminded my 77 year-old Mother that this issue is the 2015 equivalent to many civil right topics from years past. I used this time to help my Mother relate to the historic decision and I believe the comparison made a difference with her understanding. She is an active Facebook reader and poster and that weekend of arguing online made her very upset, as well.

The silver lining from that crazy weekend of Facebook is that I realized quickly who were respecting me and who just wanted to argue and fight online. I took time to clean up my Facebook friend lists. I recommend everyone review your friends online so you can join me on focusing on positive thoughts and celebrating this win. A funny posting that I read on Facebook was “in 20 years, our kids will say to their kids that when they were young, people didn’t have a right to marry who they loved and during 2015 that all changed.” It’s exciting to be living in our world today and at age 52; I can’t wait to see how our world continues to change during my lifetime.  

The Gayly – August 8, 2015 @ 2:25pm.