Let Freedom Ring… a very special salute to bans on gay marriage

On November 4, 2008, my home state, California, passed Prop 8. As if that weren’t bad enough, my adopted state, Arizona, passed a similar measure.

In case you’ve lived in a hole and are totally unaware of the issue – it’s about gay marriage. And I was honestly, believe it or not, going to keep my mouth shut for once in my life.

Then I paid my regular visit to Heather… and she pointed me at this guy… (whose site I am going to have to spend some time on – the food, oh the food!!) and suddenly I had a little epiphany.

Keeping my mouth shut is the wrong thing to do! In fact, keeping my mouth shut is pretty much tacit approval of those stupid measures.

The bottom line is this – no matter what the proponents of these measures want to claim, they do more than “protect” marriage (let’s not even discuss protecting it against stupid heterosexuals, huh?) This kind of ruling essentially justifies condemnation… which leads to hatred.

When did hatred become acceptable? When did teaching our children to hate someone based on some difference – real or perceived –  become “family values” and our “moral responsibility”?

For the most part, we don’t accept racial hatred; we condemn as racist those who make slurs of any sort. We don’t accept discrimination, favoritism, or any form of bigotry. We teach a message of love and peace and acceptance.

That is, until the subject of sexuality comes up. Suddenly, it’s an abomination. It’s terrible. These people are sick. These people are corrupting our youth. These people are disgusting. These people shouldn’t be allowed to marry, or have children, or adopt, or have rights as domestic partners, or…

And so, children learn to hate. Not because Mommy and Daddy use the word “hate” directly in relation to “those” people, but because children are smarter than we think, and they pick up the subtleties that adults think go over their little heads.

And so, our children learn it’s “OK” to call someone a “fag”, or to say, “that’s so gay” or to call someone “queer” or “homo” and to mean it all as an insult. And we ignore that. We blow it off. We make light of it.

Would we do the same if our children were saying things like: “that’s so black” or calling someone a racial epithet (sorry, I can’t even bring myself to type them)? No, we would teach them it’s wrong, it’s hateful, it’s not acceptable – we don’t use those words, we don’t say those things.

But it’s OK when it’s about homosexuality. Because… Well… Because those people are sick. Those people are corrupting our youth. Those people are an abomination. Those people are sinning against our God (and our God is right – theirs is not.) So it’s OK to insult them. It’s OK to use derogatory terms referring to their sexuality. It’s OK.

And how large of a step is it from name calling to pushing and shoving? Anyone who has ever been in junior or senior high school knows, it’s not a big leap at all.

How large of a step is it from pushing and shoving to fists?

A while back, my daughter discovered the song “People Are People” by Depeche Mode. She liked the message in it. Her Dad banned it from his home because it’s “about accepting homosexuality”. I asked her what she thought it was about, and she said, “It’s about not being stupid, not hating people because they are different from you.” I congratulated my kid on being a smart cookie, told her it was likely written about the struggles of being hated because of homosexuality, and that I saw no problem with the song, in fact, I like it. Her final decision? “It’s a song about being accepting, and not being stupid. What difference does it make what inspired it?” Sometimes – I really think kids have it right and we adults need to listen up.

So, to those who ask: How many people have died because of teaching that homosexuality is wrong?

Well, I don’t have those numbers – but I personally know a few who have died because of some idiot who had been taught that being gay was a sin. Violence is wrong, assault and murder are crimes and at least one of them is also a sin. And the hatred necessary to fuel the violence starts somewhere. It starts with dehumanizing the person, with allowing hatred to creep in.

Now what the hell does that have to do with gay marriage? Everything. Until we recognize that a person is a person – with all the same feelings, experiences, and rights as any other person, regardless of their sexual preference, hatred will continue to reign.

And so on that note… count me in… Sorry, I’m not married, so I can’t take my wedding band off and put it on the wrong finger… So, I’ll just have to make do with a very special ring Mom gave me… Because I know she’d join right in!

A one-finger salute...
A one-finger salute...

And if you’re gonna post one of your own – head over to Diary of a Modern Matriarch and leave a little note…