10:45 am - 03/29/2013

Willie Nelson on same-sex marriage

Willie Nelson loves love. "Love is what I live on. Love is what keeps me going," he wrote in his 2006 book The Tao Of Willie. And Wednesday night, in an interview in Austin on his tour bus, Willie said he believes love doesn't discriminate, "and it shouldn't be discriminated against."

Nelson has been watching the Supreme Court arguments over same-sex marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. "[Gay people] should be just as miserable as the rest of us," quipped Nelson, before giving a more nuanced explanation of what he says has been a life-long, unwavering belief that all people deserve equal protection under the law.

After the interview, and just before heading into Austin's ACL Live at the Moody Theater to play a fundraiser for the Darrell K Royal Research Fund for Alzheimer’s Disease, Nelson posed for a Texas Monthly photographer with a series of signs created by the Austin-based design agency Helms Workshop and printed by Austin's East End Ink. The first is a straightforward reproduction of the pink equal sign—the logo of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign—that has gone viral on Facebook and Twitter over the past few days. Helms also designed two Willie-specific variations on the image, one with his trademark braids and another with a pair of marijuana cigarettes. Both images are available for download below for use as avatars on your Facebook or Twitter account. Or whatever else you want to do with them. It’s a free country, you know.

Texas Monthly: You're closely following the Supreme Court's consideration of gay rights and same-sex marriage.

Willie Nelson: I am. And it's ridiculous to me that this is something we're having a conversation about this in this day and age. I thought it was something that was settled a long time ago.

TM: Clearly not.

WN: Clearly not. And obviously, even the Supreme Court doesn't know what to do about it. They say, 'Don't ask me. Ask somebody else.' They don't want to get in the middle of the states on it. And what are they going to do, come in and override states that have said it's okay? It's a mess.

TM: With same-sex marriage legal in some states and not in others, equality means different things different places.

WN: For same-sex couples, taxes are different, benefits are different, survivor benefits are different. It's crazy.

TM: You've been a supporter of LBGT issues over the years. Outspoken even.

WN: I never had a problem with any of it. I've known straight and gay people all my life. I can't tell the difference. People are people where I came from.

TM: But where you came from was small town Texas in the thirties and forties. Was Abbott more forward-thinking than we give it credit for?

WN: We were a lot like New York City. [laughs] With shorter buildings.

TM: But especially for a Texan, and more so, a Texan playing country music, you came around to this idea relatively early on.

WN: It never came up. Gay or straight? Married, not married? It was never a question. And now there's fussin', fightin', and arguin' over it? Let's get off that and talk about guns.

TM: For better or worse, you've also grown into a reputation as something of an authority on marriage itself.

WN: I've been there and back a few times. It's not perfect, so why should we expect it to be perfect for everybody?

TM: But to be clear, you think everybody should be able to get married?

WN: Absolutely. I never thought of marriage as something only for men and women. But I'd never marry a guy I didn't like.

TM: A lot of people think this battle echoes the fight for civil rights in the sixties.

WN: It does. It's about human rights. As humanity, we've come through so many problems from the beginning to here. I guess it finally had to come around to this. This is just another situation, another problem. We'll work it out and move on.

TM: And what do you think they'll say when they look back on this?

WN: We'll look back and say it was crazy that we ever even argued about this.

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howlin_wolf_66 29th-Mar-2013 03:18 pm (UTC)
Good for him! :-)
klutzy_girl 29th-Mar-2013 03:19 pm (UTC)
Aw, that's awesome.
phallus 29th-Mar-2013 03:23 pm (UTC)
Yeah, any hippie who is against gay marriage is a hypocrite.
ascot_gavotte 29th-Mar-2013 05:47 pm (UTC)
idk how it would be possible for a hippie to be against gay marriage
hobnailedboots 29th-Mar-2013 03:23 pm (UTC)
just for info, when he says "let's talk about guns instead", he is also in favour of gun control:

ugh sorry for linking to piersmorgan.
tadashee 29th-Mar-2013 04:55 pm (UTC)
Lol only time I have watched his show is for the gun control interviews.
duckyduck92 29th-Mar-2013 03:25 pm (UTC)
I like most of the variations on the original symbol, except for the anti gay marriage ones of course.

I hope more people out themselves as assholes on fb so I can keep deleting them.
stussytribe 29th-Mar-2013 03:25 pm (UTC)
ima need some bolding
nabuch 29th-Mar-2013 03:26 pm (UTC)
Amazing person & great musician.
nick_halden 29th-Mar-2013 03:28 pm (UTC)
corroded_tears 29th-Mar-2013 03:56 pm (UTC)
You gotta chill on the quacking.
who_love 29th-Mar-2013 03:29 pm (UTC)
Flawless man
satellite__eyes 29th-Mar-2013 03:30 pm (UTC)
One of my favorite human beings <3
buttercup31 29th-Mar-2013 03:36 pm (UTC)
Haha, my thoughts exactly.
turi 29th-Mar-2013 03:41 pm (UTC)
the part is done when voting time comes around and your mind is made up, so I don't think this is slacktivism anymore.
hope_remains 29th-Mar-2013 03:45 pm (UTC)
loooooooooool ikr

I mean I'm glad it fostered this feeling of community spirit and I'm glad it gave a sense of solidarity to the LGBTQ & allies but so many people do feel that way. "I changed my profile picture, what else do you WANT?! D:"
untxi 29th-Mar-2013 03:51 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm not a fan of armchair activism either.
arielcharming 29th-Mar-2013 04:11 pm (UTC)
dear lord, this accuracy rn
corroded_tears 29th-Mar-2013 04:12 pm (UTC)
That's too much work for me. Got anything easier?
nightfury 29th-Mar-2013 04:30 pm (UTC)
God I want to send this picture to a few specific individuals right now.
elvenqueen86 29th-Mar-2013 05:14 pm (UTC)
I don't think it's really slacktivism, it's just showing where you stand on the issue. You can change your profile picture and still write to your congressman/vote/do other stuff.
boxesofbullets 29th-Mar-2013 05:47 pm (UTC)
Lawd. Remember ~the movement~ where it said to change your default picture to your favorite cartoon to show you were against child abuse. I mean really ... I'm pretty sure no abuse was prevented because a bunch of people changed their default pictures to Spongebob Squarepants.
minervention 29th-Mar-2013 07:54 pm (UTC)
It's just my straight facebook friends who are doing this actually. Most of my queer friends are hesitant to use the HRC logo, because of their checkered past with the trans community, their questionable use of donations, the fact that they often seem like giant slactivists themselves... Unfortunately, lots of these groups who "make it big" seem to grow more concerned with image than they do with helping those in need in the community.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate where their hearts are, but it just seems like people don't use their heads when they do stuff like this.
makenoapology 29th-Mar-2013 03:33 pm (UTC)
willie nelson is at the very top of my list of celebrities i wanna hang out with for a day

also "cowboys are frequently secretly fond of each other" is so great (even tho he didn't write it)
shortliljackers 29th-Mar-2013 03:33 pm (UTC)
i love willie....his music reminds me of my childhood and rainy summer nights on my screened porch.
wauwy 29th-Mar-2013 03:39 pm (UTC)
Proof that pot keeps you cool.

Further proof: Carl Sagan.
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