“Human dignity and worth is at the heart of everything.
“I say that . . . as a gay man who has spent much of his youth up until college questioning my own worth because of what I would hear through faith or religious leaders. . . . And so for LGBT Americans, as well as for others who are harassed or discriminated against, it all comes down to giving each other human dignity and saying they are worthy of God or each other — they are worthy of being on Earth. We are all human beings, and at the end of the day, I think we are put here to learn from each other and to love. And I think we’ve lost that in the rhetoric. Chick-fil-A, I think, is a perfect example — we’ve lost it in the rhetoric in this country, but we’ve specifically lost it in talking about a chicken sandwich and Chick-fil-A.
“I want to be clear that Dan heard me when I said, ‘You realize that Family Research Council has been quoted saying that people like me are the pawns of the enemy?’ He understood how that impacted a young person. Before, I don’t know that he heard that. I think that’s really important.
“I think the divisive organizations on both sides of this that want to dig in their heels or who want to spew rhetoric that is stereotypical and defaming of the other group are not really giving one other full human dignity. That’s one of the most pivotal moments: when we can come together and say: You know what? I want to give you the worth and the value you need.
“One of my overarching goals in writing the Huffington Post piece was to tell America that each of us, regardless of our religious views about faith, deserves human dignity.
“I have received hundreds of e-mails, and the ones where I know that I’m doing something good are when I hear people talk about faith and talk about the discussions that they’re having around their own dinner table regardless of whether they’re eating Chick-fil-A or not. It really ultimately comes down to, ‘Will I still love my son if he comes out to me?’’ and ‘Will I still respect my neighbor and call up my neighbor if I need help if I know that they’re a gay couple?’ That’s where we get down to the human dignity.”
3. Let’s understand what our differences really are and let’s seek to find common ground
“For Dan and I very early on, after having several phone calls and text messages, it was clear that we didn’t want this to be a one-time conversation. Of course, I was very leery. I was very distrustful of Dan, and I think I would have been wrong not to be. I’m sure he was concerned about my intentions. We assumed and we heard what we wanted to hear about one another.
“For me, [those assumptions] were about him being a Christian, it was about his words about marriage and his tone in his voice when he talked about the judgment of God, saying that he’s ‘guilty as charged’ in support of marriage. That, on top of the rhetoric, really created a challenge. Luckily, we came together with the whole goal that we were going to respect and be civil.