I recently posted about congressman John Shimkus’ using the story of Noah to deny the danger of global warming. In comments to that post, I approved a comment which was a diatribe against religion (Christianity in particular) because of church-sanctioned discrimination against homosexuals. Ordinarily I would have deleted such a comment because it’s definitely off topic. But I let this one through. Let me tell you why.
I don’t agree with everything in the comment. In particular, I object to the suggestion of book-burning, even books that are demonstrably wrong shouldn’t be burned — that’s a slippery slope. But I agree with much that’s in the comment, and I especially agree that discrimination against homosexuals is evil.
When I was young, I struggled against racism and sexism, and the fact that in many parts of society it was acceptable to hold such views. That’s no longer true — such bigotry is not socially acceptable any more. If you’re racist or sexist, you’ll only find your views accepted in fringe elements of society. But there’s one form of bigotry which is still socially acceptable, perhaps even the majority viewpoint in America: bigotry against homosexuals.
I believe that homosexuality is not evil, it’s not in any way wrong. It’s the way some people are, and I see nothing wrong with it. Nothing at all. Gay men and lesbian women should be judged based on character, not on sexual orientation, and the gays and lesbians I’ve know (and I’ve known quite a few) are no better or worse than the straights I’ve known. When it comes to judging character, sexual orientation is irrelevant. In my opinion, it should also be irrelevant in society and law. Those who are homosexual should have all the rights and priviledges, all the respect or scorn, that anyone deserves.
That includes the right to marry the partner of your own choice, of any gender. Suggestions that gays should have a right to “civil union” rather that marriage, and that this is an acceptable substitute for the right to marry, I find repulsive. It’s like saying “We’ll tolerate you, and pretend to give you equal rights, but we’ll deny you the dignity that straight people deserve.” It’s like saying that homosexuals aren’t as good as us “normal” people.
In my book that’s not right. Society’s refusal to grant full equality and full dignity to homosexuals is a stain on the honor of our civilization.
I’m straight. So you might wonder, why do I care — it’s not my fight? I care because discrimination is wrong. Bigotry is wrong. Proposing that we should grant certain legal rights but deny full dignity to gay marriage, is wrong.
Far more wrong is the treatment of homosexuals by far too many people. Insults, assaults, constant harrassment, especially of young men and women who are struggling to find their identity and their value as human beings, is despicable. That such behavior is so common, and so severe, as to drive many young gays and lesbians to suicide, is a shame.
And the shame is on us — the straight people of the world. It’s not gays and lesbians who have a problem, it’s us. The sin is ours, not theirs. Until we stand united with our gay brothers and lesbian sisters and declare that we won’t tolerate discrimination, that we won’t accept insulting solutions like “civil union,” that we will hurl our scorn at the bigots who abuse our brothers and sisters, we can’t call ourselves honorable.
The shame is also on the church. Most Christian churches still consider homosexuality a sin, some even preach active discrimination or hatred of gays. How anyone can preach hatred in the name of Jesus — I don’t understand. Homosexuality is not a sin, but preaching hatred from the pulpit is. But it happens, and the church has a great deal to answer for.
That’s why it’s my fight too.
If you choose to hate me because I’m a “homo-lover” or “fag,” go right ahead. I grew up in the south during the height of the civil rights movement, and when people spouted racism I told ’em they were wrong and that attitude was evil. To their faces. I got used to being called a “nigger-lover.”
The gay rights movement is the civil rights movement of today. It’s not popular, it’s not easy for a lot of people, but it’s the right thing to do. I won’t compromise. So if you choose to brand me evil, sinner, stupid asshole, that’s your choice. It only reinforces my belief that sin is rooted in hatred and greed, not in sexual orientation.
I may never post on this topic again (at least not here), that’s not what this blog is about. But the subject came up, and this issue is so important that I’m standing up to declare that my gay brothers and lesbian sisters are my brothers and sisters. No better, no worse, than the straight ones.
We’re here. Some of us are queer. Get used to it.