When I first moved to California from Ohio 6 years ago, I had never known a gay couple. Tom and Shane were the first. They were two of the most genuine, honest, hard working and generally likable people I had ever met, too. Their love for each other was crystal clear. After 2 minutes of knowing them, I no longer saw a gay couple; all I could see was a young couple in love.
LGBT rights was a big reason why I began to question my faith. Tom and Shane were the first to remove the boundaries placed on my understanding of love by my fundamentalist upbringing. I owe them both a sincere debt of gratitude.
Last year Shane lost Tom in a accident. Tom’s mother, Martha Bridegroom, came to California from Knox, Indiana to retrieve Tom’s body. While Shane was at home resting, she left with Tom for Indiana without allowing Shane to say goodbye. Tom’s father, Norman Bridegroom, then threatened violence against Shane if he were to attend the funeral Indiana. Shane was shut out.
I don’t need to go on a rant about the damage caused by Martha and Norman Bridegroom’s bigotry and intolerance. Shane expresses more than I ever could with his tears in his “It Could Happen To You” video.