Take a moment and ponder the last century of human history. It will be remarkable if you can get five minutes into it without being utterly overwhelmed by the achievements of our humble species. Seriously, just think of how far we have come in the last one hundred years. Automobiles, aviation, relativity theory, wireless transmission, vacuum tubes, antibiotics, vaccines, space flight, microchips, computers, the internet, cell phones, bone marrow harvesting, respirators, microwaves, satellites, digital cameras, birth control, ipods, films, GPS devices, etc. In the last one hundred years we have doubled the life expectancy of a human being, significantly increased the infant morality rate, set a historical precedent for free enterprise, and fundamentally eroded equality barriers for women and black people. This is truly remarkable and I am proud to be alive and thriving in such a wonderful age of technological and social advancement.
Lest we congratulate ourselves too much it’s also important to thoughtfully consider and criticize the ways that we are not only stunted, but also morally retarded. It is amazing to me that in the age of reason we still haven’t made up our minds in our social discourse about whether or not homosexuals should have equal rights. Let’s consider some facts and some opinions.
Although the American Psychological Association makes it clear that the longstanding consensus of the behavioral and social sciences and the health and mental professions is that homosexuality is a normal and positive variation of human sexual orientation, some people still seem to think that it is a mental disorder. Although homosexuality can be observed in nature (lions, pigeons, giraffes, bison, elephants, gulls, bonobos, dragonflies, sheep, dolphin, just to name a few) some people still consider it a dysfunctional CHOICE. Although study after study continues to show that there is an equal level of commitment and relationship satisfaction amongst both gay and straight couples, some people still think that homosexuals are incapable of having healthy and lasting relationships. Although studies show that children raised by same-sex couples are just as mentally healthy as other children, some people still think that homosexuals are not fit parents. Although studies show no correlation between homosexuality and child molestation, some people still consider homosexuals a threat and a danger to children.
Are we seeing a pattern of bigotry here, folks? Two years ago in the California state elections Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment seeking to restrict the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples, actually PASSED effectively retarding the social progress of basic human rights to everyone that was ALREADY IN PLACE. In re Marriage Cases (passed in May 2008) held that “California legislative and initiative measures limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples violate the state constitutional rights of same-sex couples and may not be used to preclude same-sex couples from marrying.” This is a travesty and a huge setback for moral progress.
Update (8/11/10) Proposition 8 has been over turned. Moral progress FOR THE WIN.
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is a non profit organization that seeks to prevent the legal recognition and acceptance of same-sex marriage. Their stated mission is to, "protect marriage and the faith communities that sustain it." Maggie Gallagher, the group's founder and original president, has stated that the LGBT community, and specifically gay men, are not capable of commiting to the "heteronormative" constraints of a monogamous relationship. Her bigotry is exposed when the above survey data indicates that between 40% - 60% of gay men are in romantic relationships and 18% - 28% of gay couples have lived together for over ten years.
NOM recently posted this video on youtube. It's from a marriage rally in Albany, NY on July 17, 2010. This video claims that gay marriage protestors "bullied and intimidated" the mother and her kids at a peaceful marriage rally. Watch the video and then let's talk for a minute about reality and false victimization.
1. So, let me get this straight. Protesters simply stood silently in front of this woman and her family with rainbow colored flags and signs "about their agenda." They participated in non-violent, perfectly constitutional protest. This is bullying and intimidation? Of course the cops were called. But after speaking briefly with the organizer of the pro-gay marriage protest they let them stay. Why? Because they have every fucking right to. You cannot call someone a bully for disagreeing with your bigotry. Got it?
2. Using her children in a ploy for false victimization is disgusting. Her kids have no idea why they are there and will, unfortunately, have to be TAUGHT to dehumanize homosexuals by their mother and her ilk.
3. She then asked the protesters to turn around so she could publicly expose her breasts. When some of them refused she actually believed that this made her a victim. She goes into the public square and demands that everyone else give her privacy so she can expose herself? Stellar logic.
4. She claims that their goal was to intimidate her children. This is false. The goal was to constitutionally protest a meeting that propagates bigotry and the subversion of basic human rights. It's funny because when I think about intimidation and bullying I tend to think about, oh I don't know, the bible saying that homosexuals should be stoned to death. Maybe we just have subjective differences in our definition of bullying. I wonder if Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, the eleven year old boy who hung himself last year because of anti-gay harassment, would agree that standing quietly with rainbow umbrellas rises to the same level of intimidation as what led him to his death.
5. Here is the most frustrating thing for me. This woman is at a NOM rally which is all about protecting what? Oh, that's right. Traditional marriage and family values. I'm no expert on nationality but it seems pretty clear to me that this woman has Latino heritage. Two of her children look black and her husband is literally as white as they come. This is hardly a traditional family, wouldn't you say? I mean. Go back just FIFTY YEARS and consider the implication of interracial marriage and interracial children. Just think about that for a second. By dehumanizing homosexuals this woman is putting herself at odds with the very progress of human rights and dignity that allow her the freedom to have her obviously nontraditional family.
This is not progress. We are moving backwards on this issue. We cannot allow people like this to create a culture of false victimization. This is not an isolated issue. Perry vs. Schwarzenegger, the federal court challenge to Proposition 8, implemented a block broadcast of the trial. Why? Because the publicity could potentially lead to the harassment of proponents of Proposition 8 by those who don't agree with them. Michael Hefflinger sarcastically notes:
Because, let’s face it: the straight folks who worked so hard and gave so much money to see Prop. 8 passed — and not gay and lesbian Californians — were the real victims during the campaign. It’s the straights who have suffered greatly since Prop. 8’s passage, and they are the ones who should be spared any further grief.
We can stop this madness. Bigotry will not survive in the marketplace of ideas, friends. Here's to standing together for human dignity and the freedom and pursuit of happiness for all human beings.