After nearly two years of barely a peep from the lips of both Republican and Democratic campaigns on the issue of gay marriage, it appears to be roaring back with a vengeance. Just when I had the (rather ignorant, it seems) hope that the American public would finally be over their need to use the gay community as political target practice, alas.

The often-fiery debate of gay marriage isn’t back by accident either. After dual court wins in California and Connecticut, gay couples have two more states in which they can exchange vows. Those same rulings, however, have brought with them the extra baggage of rage and irrational paranoia — usually from those to whom the issue should matter the least.

Let me say one thing perfectly clear. Senator Obama, Senator McCain, Senator Biden, and Governor Palin — I am not your pet little issue that you can pull out of your political backsides just so you can score with your base. Yes, I’m gay. Yes I would very much like to be able to marry my incredible partner one day. But I have no intention of sitting idly by while you and your campaigns use me and millions of other gay and lesbian people across the country for your little pet issues.

These groups do not apparently believe that we’re human beings with real lives, dreams, and issues. It’s not about fairness, equality, or even “the family.” It’s about votes. You’ve found this nifty little visceral issue that strikes a chord with your base — either conservative or liberal — and you’re hoping that they’ll come to the voting booths in droves.

Well, silly me, I’ve already voted since Tennessee has early voting. Now, thanks to this backhanded assault on same-sex couples everywhere, I’m almost wishing that I hadn’t voted for any major party candidate.

If this electioneering slither wasn’t already obvious with the vice presidential debate, it’s in full slimy swing now. Senator Biden made an appearance on “Ellen,” this week, proudly declaring that he’d vote “no” on Proposition 8, the California referendum that would ban gay marriage once and for all. Governor Palin turned right around and paid an “exclusive” visit to CBN, the “news” organization run by Pat “Katrina was caused by homosexuals” Robertson himself. Naturally, she reiterated her support for an amendment to the US Constitution that would ban gay marriage.

None of this should impress anyone, nor should it be a surprise to anyone. For those who somehow haven’t figured this out, this is nothing more than pandering to their base. Look up the etymology of the word “base” and you’ll realize that this is clearly reaching for the lowest common denominator in both parties.

For one group, it’s a zombie-walking daze that demands that “marriage is man and woman.” For the other, it’s a catatonic cry of “marry mary and mary” no matter what. There’s little discussion, little recourse, and almost no comprehension between either group of the very real issues that those of us who are gay are sick of dodging the arrows that you think are going toward each other. Here’s a tip: those attacks you’re hurling at the “liberals” and “conservatives” about the gay marriage issue? Yeah. They miss. They hit us.

Every. Single. Time.

If you politicians and fellow activists want to actually make some real PROGRESS on the gay marriage discussion, why don’t you turn around and stop preaching to your own choirs? Frankly, they’re tired of hearing it, and we’re tired of looking at your posterior.

It’s all a game. One group goes to court. The other goes to the public. “Activist Judges!” “Majority rules!” Has anyone, even for a brief moment, thought of actually having a discussion on the issue and possibly find some common ground? Or are we so determined to win with the gavel or the ballot box, that nothing else matters?

Gay marriage isn’t even about the people who want to get married anymore. It’s just a pet issue — it’s a pet to conservatives who use it to rally their troops, and it’s a pet to liberals who use it to show how ridiculous conservatives are. The cycle goes on and on.

In the middle of it all, we gay couples — whether we’re married legally or not — are just sick to death of being your little political pets.

To those of you who insist that we’re going to “destroy the sanctity of marriage,” I ask you one simple question: HOW? How the hell does the committed relationship of MAYBE six percent of the population affect you in any way? Because if my relationship affects yours, then honey — your relationship has much bigger problems than me.

And to those of you who just want to parade gay couples like some badge of honor on how “proud” you are to have gay friends, and will fight, blah, blah, blah — give it a rest. If you want to impress me, then invite my partner and me over for dinner. Otherwise, you can pin that badge on my gluteus maximus, right along with your lips.

It’s really simple. Those of us who happen to be gay are literally being slapped around over and over just so the political parties or organizations can get a little more funding, and raise a little more money so they can keep doing what they’re doing, and so they can continue their little mantra of hate/love for gay people.

We are not an issue. We are not your pet divas. We’re not your enemy, your pals, or your targets. We are your brothers, mothers, fathers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nieces, and nephews. We’re your teachers, your employees, your tenants, your landlords, your artists, and doctors. We’re your lawyers, firefighters, postal workers, and your cooks. We’re your servers, managers, and your construction workers. We’re your neighbors.

We’re not hiding anymore, and more and more of us are coming out because living a lie just isn’t okay.

Now would you just leave us the hell alone?

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