Monday, October 29, 2012

Revealing Their True Colors

I’ve been fighting for LGBT rights for over 30 years.  Over this timeframe, I have listened to an ever-shrinking pool of arguments against us—none of them convincing.  Most of these have been used in the struggle to obtain full marriage equality under the law.  While I do not doubt the sincerity of some of those who truly base their opposition on strong religious convictions, even their arguments have become weak.  For others, I suspect homophobia, plain and simple, as the reason for denying gays and lesbians the rights and protections afforded to heterosexual married couples. 
Many people are repulsed by gay folks: we’re dirty, sinful, promiscuous, predatory, child-molesting, and according to Reverend Robert Anderson of Colonial Baptist Church in Randallstown, “deserving of death.”   I wish there was a way to prove it, but I’m willing to bet that the vast majority of people who have voted throughout the U.S. over the years and will do so in Maryland and three other states this election vote against same-sex marriage because of homophobia.

Few will admit it, of course.  Yet even their biblical references from which they hide their true beliefs are suspect.  “Marriage has always been a union between one man and one woman.”  Not true.  King David had what, several hundred wives?  And concubines were common.  When it comes to traditional marriage, which tradition are you talking about?
Leviticus’ oft-quoted verse whereby man lying with another man is an abomination is a point that should be expanded.  Here is where people cherry-pick Scripture to justify their bigotry.  If homosexuality is a sin, so is eating pork and shellfish.  Right near where I live there are posters advertising a local church’s ham and oyster dinner.

The way I like to respond to those who love to talk about “sin” is that murder is a sin.  But murderers can get married.  I’ve never heard a legitimate response to that rhetorical jab.
Then there is the notion that marriage is intended to produce babies.  The problem is, other people have babies who aren’t married, and there are numerous couples who no longer have the ability to procreate or want to.  There is no push, however, to have their marriage licenses revoked.

We hear all the time that “same-sex marriage will destroy the institution.”  News flash: heterosexual couples are doing a fine job of that already with their 50 percent failure rate.  And in Massachusetts where same-sex marriage has existed longer than anywhere in the U.S., that state maintains the lowest divorce rate in the country. 
Furthermore, no one could come up with a single instance whereby a heterosexual couple split up because a gay or lesbian couple had their nuptials.  Thus, when they say that same-sex marriage threatens the institution or in the case of Ravens’ player Matt Birk’s weird assertion that same-sex marriage would “dilute” it, ask how?  I’m sure you won’t get a good answer, if at all.

“Marriage has never been redefined before,” we’re told.  Many cultures had defined marriage in alternative ways.  Until rather recently, marriage had been a business and property arrangement between the wife’s father and the husband.  And even more recently, Loving v. Virginia redefined marriage to allow people of different races to marry.
“Children need both a mother and a father.”  That has received more play now that the other arguments appear unpersuasive.  Most studies from reputable sources point out that children do better with two parents as opposed to one.  The findings do not reflect the gender of the parents. 

“Gays and lesbians can’t procreate so they try to recruit children.”  That B.S. isn’t worth the space to dignify such nonsense, but it was advanced recently and may have an effect.
The money shot: “If same-sex marriage is approved, children will be taught about it in schools.”  This is a favorite of the National Organization for Marriage, and the ad is already running here.  It is the opposition’s ace-in-the-hole when polls show growing support for marriage equality.  It worked in California the last weeks of the campaign over Prop 8 as well as in other states.  The message is designed to scare otherwise non-religious parents who have children in school.

Though I don’t personally object that children learn there is a diverse world out there, changing school curricula cannot be accomplished without input from parents and local school boards.  It is not done by laws that are enacted.
There are so many more but this is a sample of the rationale used against us past and present. 

The “love the sinner, hate the sin” mantra has been exposed.  Though the marriage debate has been framed by Derek McCoy and his Maryland Marriage Alliance as one in which gay people would be respected but should not be allowed to “redefine” marriage, he showed his true colors.
During a recent town hall at the Manna Bible Baptist Church in Baltimore, the aforementioned Rev. Anderson talked of how the Bible states that gays and their supporters are deserving of death. “If we don’t vote against it, than we are approving these things that are worthy of death,” said Anderson.  Seated next to the reverend was none other than Derek McCoy, nodding and muttering in agreement. 

It’s all recorded, and as much as McCoy dismisses it, the video doesn’t lie.  To no one’s surprise, Manna took it down.  McCoy, in defending Anderson’s comments said, “Supporting traditional marriage does not make anyone anti-gay.”
Yup, we’ve heard that line before.

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