Marriage Matters – a personal story

by Randy Tarkington
Campaign Manager, Vote NO on 1

So this column is not about talking points. It’s not about making sure I am on message with the words of the day. It’s far more personal. It’s about why marriage matters to me and why you should spend time thinking about what it might mean to you. For me to understand why it matters now, I have to look at who I am today and how I got here.

I am a native Tennessean, born and raised in Centerville, a town of about 3000. At 45, I grew up before “Will and Grace”, “Queer as Folk,” or internet sites where I could daily talk to other gay men.  In fact, I was in my 20’s before I met my first positive gay role model. I was at least 22 before I ever walked into a gay bar. My gay development was definitely affected by my environment.

I am single. In fact, I am so single I think maybe if you look up the definition in the dictionary, you might find my picture. So why then is marriage so important?

It took me longer to come to terms with being gay. It took me longer to understand that who I am is profoundly influenced by the fact I am gay. I was late breaking out of my closet doors but once out, I vowed never to go back again.

So today, I have reached the point where I know who I am. I know I deserve to love and be loved just like every other human on this planet. I know that I deserve the same rights as every other person but more importantly, I deserve to be treated with the same dignity and respect.

I cannot predict the future. However I realize that I may never walk down an isle and profess my love for someone else. I may never get the chance to be repaid for all those wedding gifts I have given to others and like every gay man, I give great gifts. I may never have to make the decision to take time off of work to care for the person I have committed my life and love to because he is sick.

However, I should not have that right taken away by the State or its citizens because of unrealistic fear or religion or any other reason. I have worked too hard to find who I am as a gay man. For that reason, I will not let this discrimination happen without giving all I have to fight it.

My mom died of cancer when I was a senior in college. She fought a courageous four year battle that probably should have lasted about two years at best. I know she left me with that stubbornness and strong will that sustained her fight against an awful disease. Growing up, I remember hiding my head in shame when we would have to literally hold her back from storming the field to take on a referee who had not made the right call in her eyes to protect my brother Richard who played high school football. Today, I am forever grateful for that fight and strong sense of what is right that she passed on to me.

If I allow our Constitution to be altered to say that I do not have the same rights as every other person in this state, what does that say about how I really feel about myself? If my marriage rights are taken today, what rights can be taken away tomorrow?

I walk down the streets of Nashville and I wonder if the person I just passed believes that I should be denied the same rights that he has. I wonder if he believes that my love is somehow inferior to his. I feel my mom’s sense of fairness rise in me and rather than storming the field to take on these referees of my life, I fight on a bigger level to educate them. I know in my heart that when good people meet me and meet you and know that our dreams and hopes are the same as theirs that it will be so much more difficult for them to step in a booth and vote away our rights. At the end of the day, I believe that fairness is an important value to the people of this state.

So marriage matters to me. It matters so much. I have battled long and hard to come to where I am today. It has been a long and difficult journey but at the same time a very joyous one.  I also know that thousands before me dedicated themselves so that we could be poised today to be treated equally and fairly. Whether you plan to marry tomorrow or never plan to marry, this issue should be important to you. After many years of searching, I now know some important truths.

I matter. You matter. Fairness matters.  Marriage Equality Matters.

Go to to find out more.
WhistlePig + Alfa Romeo F1

SHOREHAM, VT (September 13, 2023) — WhistlePig Whiskey, the leaders in independent craft whiskey, and Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake are waving the checkered flag on a legend-worthy release that’s taking whiskey to G-Force levels. The Limited Edition PiggyBack Legends Series: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is a high Rye Whiskey selected by the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers, with barrels trialed in their wind tunnel to ensure a thrilling taste in every sip.

The third iteration in WhistlePig’s Single Barrel PiggyBack Legends Series, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is bottled at 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number, 77, and the precision of racing. Inspired by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese F1 driver, this Rye Whiskey is finished with lychee and oolong tea. Herbal and floral notes of the oolong tea complement the herbaceous notes of WhistlePig’s signature PiggyBack 100% Rye, rounded out with a juicy tropical fruit finish and a touch of spice.

Keep readingShow less
by Spectrum Medical Care Center

Nurse Practitioner Ari Kravitz

When I started medical transition at 20 years old, it was very difficult to get the care I needed for hormone replacement therapy because there are very few providers trained in starting hormones for trans people, even though it’s very similar to the hormones that we prescribe to women in menopause or cisgender men with low testosterone.

I hope more providers get trained in LGBTQ+ healthcare, so they can support patients along their individual gender journey, and provide the info needed to make informed decisions about their body. I’ve personally seen my trans patients find hope and experience a better quality of life through hormone replacement therapy.

Keep readingShow less

Descanso Resort swimming pool and lounge area

Descanso Resort, Palm Springs' premier destination for gay men, just received Tripadvisor's highest honor, a Travelers' Choice "Best of the Best" award for 2023. Based on guests' reviews and ratings, fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor's 8 million listings around the world receive the coveted "Best of the Best" designation. Descanso ranked 12th in the top 25 small inns and hotels category in the United States. Quite an accomplishment!

Open less than two years, Descanso Resort offers gay men a relaxing and luxurious boutique hotel experience just minutes away from Palm Springs' buzziest restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Descanso has quickly established itself as a top destination for sophisticated gay travelers, earning hundreds of 5-star guest reviews and consistently ranking in Trapadvisor's top positions alongside brother properties Santiago Resort and Twin Palms Resort.

Keep readingShow less