Yes, we are all tired of the Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty “controversy.” My own posts on Facebook on the topic drew fever-pitched debates and even resulted in one person un-friending me because I insisted that it has nothing to do with “Freedom of speech.” Once I stopped reading and rolling my eyes at the ridiculous comments on the whole ducking issue, I realized that if this was the front line of today’s culture war, then it was nothing more than a distraction of where the real battles were being fought.
You see, while the American right wing media juggernaut went after A&E and “gays and liberals” for attempting to silence Robertson, two more states were added to the Marriage Equality list, while India and Uganda added their own countries to the human rights catastrophe list. And our big boggle — is a yuppie who transformed his entire family into a backwoods clan to sell duck calls on the teevee machine. We Americans sure know how to pick the big stories, don’t we?
The (real) big story in America was the fact that New Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled to allow marriage equality, and Utah — yes, that Utah — was told by a federal District court that its ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. While the Utah decision will likely be stayed in the next few days while it works its way through the courts, New Mexico is very much a done deal. For the moment, though, we have full marriage equality in 18 states.
We can expect there to be a big push for a federal constitutional amendment in the next few months. The right wing will do everything they can to try to convince their donors that they have a snowball’s chance that they’ll get one to be ratified. They won’t mention the fact that it’s a statistical impossibility, though. In order to ratify a constitutional amendment, the amendment has to pass BOTH houses by a two-thirds majority, then ratified by three-fourths of all of the states. Put simply, 37 states have to ratify it within seven years. If even 14 states fail to ratify the amendment, it would fail.
Remember, we already have marriage equality in 18 states. And they’re doing just fine with it, thank you very much. So even if ALL of the 32 other states were to ratify such an imaginary amendment, it still wouldn’t be enshrined into the US Constitution. But enough about that.
With marriage equality now in one-third of all of the states, and with more than a third of the US population, such an attempt would be nothing more than political pandering to a rapidly dwindling base. In short, the anti-gay right wing has completely lost the battle on marriage equality. The fact that they continue to raise money for this “war” speaks to their utter contempt for not only their own donors, but for reality itself.
While they have truly lost the national battle to prevent LGBT equality in the US, they have only just begun their fight to dehumanize the gays in other countries.
Even the National Organization for Marriage has stepped out of their mission to become a truly anti-gay group as they push to support damning legislation in Russia and celebrate Uganda’s passage of their anti-gay law. Brian Brown, that group’s president, spent a significant time in Russia to help them strategize on their quest to pass their anti-gay adoption laws.
Peter LaBarbera of the hate group Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (as if!) denounced President Obama’s push to call for decriminalizing gay sex. JoeMyGod blogger Joe Jervis tweeted back, “Do you want me to be sentenced to life in prison, as I would be in Uganda? Or just for ten years, as you support in Jamaica?”
Bryan Fischer, the firebrand blowhard spokesman of the American Family Association regularly pontificates against the gays, and also celebrated the India debacle as “entirely right and entirely appropriate.” Right Wing Watch reports:
“This is entirely right and entirely appropriate,” Fischer said of the law. “Same-sex behavior is unnatural, it is against the order of nature: you just look at the plumbing and you can tell that, what body parts are designed for what use and you can see right away that this is contrary to nature.”
“So that shows,” he continued, speaking of the court ruling,”ladies and gentlemen that it can be done. It shows that this cultural trend that we’re dealing with can be reversed, because for four years it was open season for homosexuals in India and now that drift away from cultural norms and moral norms, that’s been reversed in the country of India … Good law in India upheld by the Supreme Court”.
That’s right. He’s encouraging his listeners with the myth that such laws can be passed once again here in the US. Laws can be passed, he says, based on “the plumbing.”
This is precisely the point. When the anti-gay right wing loses in our country, they go to even more homophobic countries to pass easy legislation to show us how it can be done. Their goal — and demonstrably so — is to criminalize homosexuality. To keep it criminalized in other countries, and to re-criminalize it here.
If you’re gay, they want you in jail.
They want you in prison.
They want me in prison.
They want Joe Jervis in prison.
They want Dan Savage in prison.
Just. Because. We. Are. Fucking. Gay. (Literally.)
The reason they’re scared isn’t because they’ve lost in this country. They’re scared because they are frightened to the core that we will treat them the way we’ve been treated. That we gays and we liberals will work to criminalize and outlaw Christianity.
There are two problems with that myth. First, they’re not Christian. Jesus Himself said that if you say you love God and hate your brethren, then you’re a liar. Second, we actually do believe in the First Amendment. After all, people like Fred Phelps, Peter LaBarbera, and Bryan Fischer do much more good for the cause of LGBT rights than they realize. Their vitriol and bile provide a mirror for the casually anti-gay — and a touchstone for the rest of us, as an example of what true evil really looks like.
These very same people who shout “Freedom of Speech!” are doing all they can to not only deny the right to free speech for LGBT people worldwide, but their right to freedom, period. They don’t want freedom. We know this. It’s not a theory. It’s not a mere “possibility.” They are using their FULL resources to keep gay people in jail — or worse — all over the globe. I’m sorry, but I don’t care how big the cross you carry is. You can’t say that you support the freedom of speech while driving nails into the wrists and feet of basic human equality around the world.
And these are the same people who are leading the charge to “Stand with Phil.” They’ve got all their people marching like ducks in a row — waddling quack-first into the oblivion of total irrelevance.
DAVID W. SHELTON is a graphic designer, blogger, writer, activist, and author of The Rainbow Kingdom: Christianity & The Homosexual Reconciled. He lives in Clarksville, TN with his better half and their many, many pets.