People wonder why the LGBT community makes such a big deal about gay marriages. Even within the community some think they're fine with civil unions (talking to you, Mr. Elton John). But I think marriage equality is important, and not just because then same-sex couples can file tax returns together. Because granting marriage rights to gays and lesbians shows that they're accepted in society. It's about respect.
For years gays did not have respect. In fact, they were hated. It's this hatred that caused the death of Matthew Shepherd. I think the memory of Shepherd's death should be a rallying cry to renew the energies of the LGBT community and to keep the eye on the prize as to why at the end of the day gay marriages should be allowed. Because love is more important than hatred. Because respect means acceptance.
I created this short video as a reminder to everyone why this battle is so important. As we wait for the next steps, let's not forget the anger we felt when someone in our community like Matthew Shepherd was killed just because of who he was. Let us not forget the anger we felt when Prop. 8 was approved by California voters. Together, we need to remember the past to create a better future.