I never thought I'd become a full-fledged supporter of same-sex marriage, especially growing up in a socially conservative Catholic family of Mexican descent.
From an early age, I had homophobia drilled into my head at church, at school and at home. I remember studying for my first Communion and hearing the nuns talking about how the Bible said it was an abomination for men to lie down with one another.
As a teenager visiting relatives in Mexico in the early 1980s, I can remember a mob massing outside a disco to exact justice on two boys whose crime was sitting too close to each other.
The most stubborn forms of discrimination are those taught to us by people we love. In my case, I never hurt or threatened anyone physically. I just went along to get along – ignoring or laughing at other people's homophobic slurs.
As we get older, we become sophisticated in obscuring our biases with lyrical justifications or purposeful ignorance. You know what I mean?
"Why is this even an issue?" some will ask.
OK, if people don't care, then why is gay marriage illegal anywhere?
Because homophobia is like an invisible wall supported by learned intolerance. I joined the ranks of people who support gay marriage because every legal and religious justification in place to prevent it seems rooted in the same homophobia I learned as a kid.
"There are those who sincerely believe that homosexuality is inconsistent with their religion – and the First Amendment guarantees their freedom of belief," wrote David Boies, one of the lead attorneys seeking to make gay marriage legal. "However, the same First Amendment, as well as the Due Process and equal Protection clauses, preclude the enshrinement of their religious-based disapproval in state law."
In 2008, California voters approved Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage. Members of my faith played a huge role in getting Prop. 8 passed. The Sacramento-based consultant who ran the Prop. 8 campaign ran brilliant ads sowing doubts in the minds of voters by playing on their fears and emotions.
"But a slogan is not a substitute for constitutional analysis," Boies wrote in the Wall Street Journal. "Law is about justice, not bumper stickers."
The old arguments simply don't hold up anymore.
So on Tuesday, when state Attorney General Kamala Harris asked a federal appeals court to allow gay couples to marry while Prop. 8 is sorted out, it was like another blow against intolerance.
Already, "don't ask, don't tell" has been abolished in the military. The federal government is backing off on defending the Defense of Marriage Act. Civil unions and domestic partnerships still do not share the federal benefits and protections conferred on marriage.
It's past time for the law to outlast the lies.