With every step forward we, as a community struggling for equality, take, we are pushed back a little by bigotry and hatred. Sometimes we see the face of hate as a minister or priest, some right-wing politician, but hate also looks like this.
And it's name is this: Karl and Judy Schowengerdt
And this is what it says:
from the DesMoines Register
This April marked our 47th wedding anniversary. My wife, Judy, and I have been blessed with an enduring love that has brought us through the ups and downs of nearly five decades together. We raised three wonderful children, and now enjoy being grandparents. Ours has in many ways been a storybook life.
The single most tragic event in our years together has been the untimely death of our oldest son, Randy. Our firstborn was a blessing that brought so much joy into our lives. He was extremely smart, he participated in extracurricular activities, graduated with many honors and went on to college. After college, he moved to Omaha and took a job. It was while he was living in Omaha that one of Randy's co-workers recruited him into the homosexual "lifestyle."
We loved our son as much as any parents have ever loved a son. Even when we became aware of his homosexuality, we assured him of our love. That is not to say that we condoned or accepted what we knew to be a dangerous "lifestyle," but we always maintained our relationship with the son we had raised and the man we prayed would be delivered from homosexuality.
When we discovered that Randy was sick, we invited him to come home to seek medical attention. We suspected the worst, but hoped for anything else. Either way, we wanted to help our son and see his health restored. We knew the tests would leave no doubt, but there simply are no words to describe the pain of hearing your firstborn say, "Dad, I'm HIV positive."
As a parent, nothing can prepare you for the loss of a child to a terminal illness. It's somehow worse when that illness resulted from your child's reckless decision and his own actions. Witnessing the daily physical deterioration of our son caused great pain and sadness to us as parents and on the extended family as well.
It was interesting to note that once Randy was diagnosed HIV positive, the homosexual community who had actively recruited him and had claimed to be his "family" were nowhere to be found. As his health declined, he spoke frankly about the homosexual experience. Randy said, "It is not an alternate lifestyle. It is a cult."
For years, my wife and I have watched the media and homosexual activists work together to redefine family and marriage in our society. The consistent message has been that homosexual "marriage" will hurt no one, and that those of us who support marriage only between one man and one woman will not be impacted. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Our hearts go out to people caught up in homosexuality. The destruction and pain that homosexuality leaves in its wake is deep and impacts so many more than just the individuals caught up in the activity. We now know several other couples who are struggling with a son who chose to engage in homosexuality. We know the pain they endure, and understand when they reach out for help. One person's homosexuality causes stress and strain on every friend and relative who truly cares about them.
For the Iowa Supreme Court to sanction homosexual "marriage" is to encourage and underwrite the negative results that naturally come from the homosexual "lifestyle." Aside from the physical destruction inflicted on those who practice homosexuality and the incredible stress homosexuals cause their extended families, society often pays a hefty price as well. Randy lost his job when he was no longer strong enough to work. With the loss of that job, he lost his ability to insure himself. As a result, you the taxpayer paid for more than $250,000 in medical bills for this one AIDS patient.
For those still uncertain about homosexual "marriage," please understand that the more accepting we are of homosexuality as a society, the more likely it is that your family, and society in general, will suffer the pain that ultimately results. Homosexuality took the life of our son. We oppose homosexuality and homosexual "marriage" in the hope that we might help another family avoid the pain that we have endured.
Sad that they live their lives in such hatred and ignorance. Sad that they made their own son feel "less than." Sad that they cannot see that homosexuality did not kill their son, a virus did that; the same virus that has killed children and women, straight and gay, and men, straight and gay. Homosexuality does not kill, but homophobia does.