The last two years have been simply incredible for the LGBT equality movement, especially with the advance of marriage equality for same-sex couples. As of today, 19 states have full marriage equality with other states working their way through the courts. More people than ever support their gay and lesbian neighbors’ rights. But not everyone is celebrating.
The last remaining sodomy laws were struck down in 2003. Massachusetts became the first state to allow same-sex couples to marry in 2004. The Matthew Shepard Act was passed in 2009. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed in late 2010.
Every year in May, Gallup conducts a poll to see the percentage of those who support marriage equality. That percentage has been a majority for four years running. This year’s poll was the highest yet – 54%. Last year’s landmark Supreme Court decisions in the Perry v. Brown and Windsor v. United States decisions paved the way for more than a dozen lower court decisions that rejected marriage bans in states throughout the country.
LGBT rights advocates have a lot of reason to rejoice, and we all know that the race to full equality is far from over. More importantly, those who have worked hard to fight equality every step of the way are not letting up. In fact, they’re only strengthening their resolve.
No, not everyone is celebrating this trend toward equality. Unfortunately, those who are the most opposed to the idea that gay people should be given the same dignity and respect that every other human being has — well, they’re pulling out all the stops. And it’s not pretty.
Understanding their tactics and their methods are absolutely essential for even the casual LGBT person or straight ally, because if we don’t know what’s going on, we can’t address it. Worse yet, we won’t be able to point out the truth to our friends and family members who still believe that anti-gay groups are just doing what they think is right.
A couple of paragraphs back, I used the phrase, “dignity and respect,” which is exactly what LGBT people and couples are looking for. A friend of mine chastised me because I pointed out something really bigoted that some pundit said, and they asked why I didn’t treat them with the same “dignity and respect” that I demand for LGBT couples.
At first glance, this person might have a point. But when we consider the basic facts, it becomes clear that they were creating a false equivalence in the matter. In this case, they have equated a person’s sexual orientation or their relationship/marriage with an opinion.
“Shouldn’t you have the same dignity and respect for those that disagree with homosexuality?”
No. And here’s why.
As I’ve said in the past, “disagreeing” with “homosexuality” doesn’t mean squat. Really. It doesn’t. If a straight person has no desire to have any form of sexual or intimate contact with someone of the same sex, they — gasp! — disagree with homosexuality. It’s not for them. In fact, nearly everyone on this planet “disagrees with homosexuality.”
Surely, then, I can respect people who “disagree with homosexuality.”
I do. I respect them fully. I celebrate their relationships. I mourn for them when they lose someone they love. I comfort them when they break up or have a divorce. Why? Because they’re friends. They’re people. I absolutely give straight people in heterosexual relationships dignity and respect, and I give them the same dignity and respect that I ask heterosexual folks to give me and my relationships. Why? Because relationships are hard.
What? No? That’s not what you mean by “disagree?” Oh, how well I know this. You see, what my anti-gay acquaintance was really asking me to do was to give their opinion that gay people choose their orientation, their opinion that gay people do not deserve equal protection under the law, and their opinion that same-sex couples should be treated with the same dignity and respect as everyone else.
Let me be clear. An opinion is not the same thing as a person’s sexual orientation.
Asking me (or any LGBT advocate) to treat opinions and orientation equally is the same as asking a climatologist to treat the blowhard ramblings of some right-wing politician that “humans do not impact climate change” with the same respect as 97% of all published scientific reports on climate change.
Oh. Wait. I think I lost some of you there. Let’s try something else.
Asking me to treat opinions and orientation equally is the same as asking me to treat the right to private prayer and church worship with the same dignity and respect as boycotting a major national corporation because they advertise on a popular TV show that happens to have a gay character. One is a deeply personal, private matter that is no one’s damn business. The other is making an ass of yourself and forcing your opinion to become policy.
No. I won’t treat them with the same respect.
Ah-hah, you say! That’s when the “gay-stapo” gets really going! After all, they tried to keep Phil Robertson from ducking his way around the teevee machine. They got Mozilla CEO to resign when he “disagreed” with homosexuality when he donated $1000 to a campaign that worked to strip Californian same-sex couples from the right to marry.
Those mean old homosexuals!
Let’s see what’s really going on. If there’s ever been a call to boycott anyone by “Big Gay” as blowhard bigot Bryan Fischer calls us or by the “Gay-stapo” or the “Gay-KK” as totally-not-gay-but-obsessed-with-gay-sex Peter Labarbera says, what were the reasons?
- ExxonMobil: When Exxon swallowed Mobil back in 1999, they removed any benefits for LGBT employees that were available at the time. They are one of the very, very few fortune 500 companies (and the largest) that refuses to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- The Beverly Hills Hotel: Recently, the owner of that hotel, the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, laid out barbaric sharia-based laws in his country which include the death penalty for “sodomy.” The hotel has been a veritable ghost town lately. Apparently, those mean old gay people apparently don’t like the idea of lining someone’s pockets that think they should be executed.
The point is simple: Gay people get upset when companies or organizations want to strip them of their rights to love, equal employment, marriage, or the very right to freedom — or even the right to live.
Now, let’s look over on the other side of this “culture war” where those “Gay-KK” folks are the enemy, and the “heroes” of that war — the right wing religious-impersonating activist community.
One Million Moms, an offshoot of the virulently anti-gay American Family Association (itself listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of their penchant for lying about the gays), regularly sends out letters to boycott TV shows or corporations because… well, they like gays.
- Oreo Cookie supports gay people and pride festivals. BOYCOTT!
- Disney allows gays to have a “Gay Day.” BOYCOTT!
- Disney Channel TV show has a two-mom family. BOYCOTT!
- Honey Maid shows a family with gay dads as being wholesome. OUTRAGE! BOYCOTT!
The SPLC identified Hate Group, Family Research Council, is also on the boycott-a-thon bandwagon.
- Girl Scouts welcome lesbian and transgender girls. BOYCOTT THEIR COOKIES!
- Betty Crocker bakes wedding cakes for gay couples. BOYCOTT!
Then there’s the National Organization for Marriage.
- Starbucks supports marriage equality. BOYCOTT!
Okay, let’s review. Whenever gay people get mad and boycott, it’s because a company or its executives have actively worked to strip us of our constitutional rights, or they publicly state that we do not deserve equality under the law.
When anti-gay groups boycotts or denounces someone, it’s almost always because — well — that company or its executives supports LGBT equality or shows LGBT people in a positive light.
Just by reviewing the various boycotts over the last few years, we can see just what the culture war is all about.
Those mean-old homosexuals are fighting for justice, fairness, dignity, respect, and equality under the law.
Anti-gay activists are fighting to prevent any of those things from happening and punishing those who support LGBT equality.
Guess which group is on the right side of history, and which group is screaming into the night with their continued spiral into complete irrelevance.
Read David’s original post on Skipping to the Piccolo.
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.