Monday Briefing: Gay pride flags are flying

06/27/2011 8:47 AM |

I was a big-time partisan nerd in my youth. I used to watch the Rush Limbaugh show at night in the eighth grade, if you can believe it, and would sometimes end up debating adults over things I really had no true knowledge of. (God, that must have been annoying.)

I was a junior at St. Anthony’s High School in 1995 when I mentioned to my friend Kevin I was against gay marriage.

His response was: “So you’re saying if my cousin Brian was gay, you would be against him getting married?”

It was a two-second exchange. And I was embarrassed by it, to be honest. I remember it so clearly because it was the first time I had actually thought about the circumstances of a real human being in consideration of the talking points I had for years been repeating from TV or radio.

The conversation got my young mind thinking (for once) along these lines: If I was against gay marriage, I would some day have to tell gay people, like, say, Brian, to their face that I was against it. And I wasn’t ready to do that; I really liked and admired Brian (who is not gay).

I then reasoned that if I didn’t have the guts to tell someone who was gay that I was against he or she marrying, then I probably shouldn’t hold such beliefs. Because that would make me a coward.It was that simple. From then on I considered the matter closed; high school was all about toughness for me.

Nowadays my belief is that someone’s marriage is not anyone else’s business, least of all the U.S. government’s. But there’s something to be said for my teenage logic as well.

Congratulations to those New Yorkers who have for years and decades felt like second-class citizens, yet fought to do something about it against what must have felt like insurmountable odds. Many of you are my neighbors, as I found out for the first time this week after seeing several gay pride flags go up in the neighborhood.

• The North Fork was jumping this weekend. From graduations to the downtown cardboard boat race to the Soldier Ride event that kicked off in Greenport. And we were at them all. Scroll through the News-Review homepage to see our slide shows and stories.

• Also take the time to read our short bios on Mercy, Riverhead and Shoreham-Wading River’s valedictorians and salutatorians (is this the plural of these words?) I noticed a very clear trend in reaching the profiles, and that’s that all these kids kept busy while also keeping their grades up — way up. I remember some of my friends’ parents didn’t want them to “do too much” at school by way of activities including clubs and sports, less it eat into their study time.

But the real truth is the busier a kid is, the better the grades. And the proof is in these profiles.

Rare is the valedictorian whose activities just include “studying and playing video games.” I know that my grades were always up during football seasons.

mwhite@timesreview.com