My family met Len through the community theater. He and his partner Lloyd were two of the people who were there since the beginning, which means I've known them both since I was 11 years old. While Len was never as involved as Lloyd, he was always there, behind the bar, building sets, sweeping the theater... doing whatever needed to be done. He was a fixture in my life while I grew up.
If you wonder why I'm so tolerant, or so pro-gay marriage, it's because of people like Lloyd and Len. This was their 45th year together, and had there not been medical issues, I'm sure there would have 45 more years. Were they always happy? Of course not. They argued just like any married couple. And they made up. And they stayed together through out EVERYTHING that came at them. And they were strong. And they loved each other.
I think I'm lucky in that my parents never made a big deal about the men and women who dated men and women respectively. It was just a fact of life. Nothing to judge or worry about. They are just like everyone else. They love just like everyone else. And their choice of partner deserves the same respect as everyone else's, too. Hell, my sister's godfather and HIS partner were together for years and years before my folks got married. From the time I was born, I've understood that love shouldn't be questioned. Love shouldn't be judged. And love shouldn't be denied because of anyone else's opinions or attitudes. To deny love is to deny whatever force serves as a deity in your life, for only in loving can we truly experience magic with which this entire existence was brought into being. And I'm not talking Evolution/Creation/Intelligent Design... I'm talking that magic that makes you cry when you get the email about the little boy who wanted to buy a present for his mom but only had a dime, and the florist just happened to have a dozen roses for 10 cents that day. I'm talking about the magic that makes your heart skip a beat when catch a glimpse of that special someone in your life that you weren't expecting. I'm talking about the magic that makes you laugh so hard that tears roll down your face.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
What part of all don't people get? All men. All women.
I am blessed to know some phenomenal people. Many of them among my friends list. Many of them are paired up with each other. Some of them are even paired up with members of the same sex. And they love each other. And that love gives me hope. And that love makes me smile. And that love makes me cry because it's so damn powerful.
Good bye, Len. You are, and always will be a role model for me. You led your life the way you wanted to. I hope that I can do the same, and do it with the dignity and respect that you earned from so many people.