We have learned in our culture that tolerance is important; that in some capacity, there is some situation whereby most people might do bad things but are still good people, and that we certainly should never cast a cloud over an entire group for the actions of a few. But there is one area where I believe that view has become too dangerous. There is one place where tolerance has gone too far.

I admit it. I was intolerant. I didn’t like being called that, but I was.

The truth is that I had never known an openly gay person, until my uncle died of AIDS. Then he was the only gay person I really knew until my godmother told me her news late one night outside my husband’s office in the capitol. I remember her asking me if she could still be in my life. I remember telling her I did not see how. We both cried for hours. I wasn’t sure at that point what “being gay” meant in practical terms. Was she a “man” now? Was she really gay, or just lonely? Would she just give up ever having children?

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