Conservatives And Gays
One thing that always strikes me when discussing gay rights with conservatives, is their underlying wish (sometimes expressed explicitly) that the whole issue will just "go away."
I understand that impulse to some degree. We humans like ordered systems, and we tire of dealing with issues which defy clear classification. It would be easier if everything were black and white, if women were women and men were men, etc. Nevertheless, gay (and intersexed, and bisexual, and transgendered) people do exist, as a small but consistent subpopulation. To have any kind of adult conversation addressing that reality, we must force conservatives to start with that reality.
It seems to me that conservatives, and straights in general, have only four options from which to choose in dealing with "the gays" (if you can think of others please let me know).
1) Try to round us up and kill us off (this has been tried before, never very successfully)
2) Try to force us, by various coercive means, to pretend that we are straight (has also been tried, quite successfully)
3) Ignore us/leave us alone (the current state of things, with some remnant of No. 2)
4) Acknowledge that we’re here to stay, grant us equality (never been tried)
It seems clear that, in practice, continuing with Option No. 2 is the preferred path for social conservatives. That is why they’ve taken up the ex-gay movement as a pet cause in recent years (it wasn’t always so: in the early days of the ex-gay movement, the far right groups wanted nothing to do with them).
The conservative response to the fact that American culture has quickly moved past Option 3 and is well on its way to Option 4 seems to be to stick their collective fingers in their ears, "This isn’t happening…la la La LA LA!"
But it is happening. As a culture, we have come too far in our understanding of the human condition to believe that the deliberately imposed suffering of a minority is justified, especially when the only purpose for that imposed suffering is to preserve an illusion for the majority of "the way the world is" or "the way the world ought to be."
When conservatives launch into an irrelevant non-argument ("God made Adam and Eve!" "Male and Female bodies are complementary!") we should not take the bait. Look them calmly in the eye and point out that while they are describing the way they think the world ought to be, we’re more concerned with the how the world actually is.
**crossposted at the Purple America blog
I submit option 3.5 as the doctrine of seperate but inherently unequal. This is essentially what civil unions are and exists in states like CA and Vermont which fully protect their residents from “discrimination” but offer civil unions.
Many fundies / evangelicals seem to believe in another reality: namely, that we are actually straight (indeed, that all people are created str8 by God) but we are acting against God’s will.
In many ways, this would be fairly horrifying if actually true. It sure would explain why they see the world as they do (such as explain why they think that merely discussing homosexuality is “promoting” it and might cause some people to fall into it).
One thing that always strikes me when discussing gay rights with conservatives, is their underlying wish (sometimes expressed explicitly) that the whole issue will just “go away.”
Whenever I’ve encountered a conservative who has wished that the whole thing would just “go away” (and I have encountered many) I point out to them that the whole thing would just “go away” by granting gay people equal rights. The issue would then “go away.”
I point out to them that there is no such thing as “gay rights.” There is such a thing as equal rights for gay people. I point out to them that, under current law in most jurisdictions, it would perfectly legal for a conservative christian to fire (or refuse to hire) an gay person because he is gay, but it would be illegal for a gay person to fire (or refuse to hire) a conservative christian because he is conservative christian. Equal rights? Certainly not.
I also point out to them that, under current law in most jurisdictions, a crime committed against a conservative christian because he his a conservative christian would be considered a hate crime, but a crime committed by a gay person against a conservative christian because he is a conservative christian would not be a hate crime.
I also point out to them the fact that anti-discrimination legislation and hate crimes legislation doesn’t become much of an issue until it is suggested that “sexual orientation” is proposed to be added to existing legislation. The hypocrisy of the conservative christians should be evident. They want to preserve what they have, but they don’t want to extend it to others.
Why should I, as a gay man, not be able to fire a conservative christian, merely because he is a conservative christian? A conservative christian could fire me merely because I’m gay. Why should I not be permitted to fire a conservative christian merely because he is a conservative christian?
Similarly with regards to “hate crime” legislation.
And similarly with regards to marriage.
“but a crime committed by a gay person against a conservative christian because he is a conservative christian would not be a hate crime”
Did you mean to say that a crime committed by a conservative christian against a gay person is not considered a hate crime? That would make more sense since I’d consider it an advantage if a gay person can kick a conservative christian’s a*s and not get branded with a hate crime.
Unless I’m misunderstanding something.
Did you mean to say that a crime committed by a conservative christian against a gay person is not considered a hate crime?
Yes. Sorry for the typo.
It should be evident to anyone paying attention that, over the last few years, anti-discrimination laws and hate crimes laws have not caused a major problem, except when it has become suggested that they be amended to include “sexual orientation.” Then the conservative christians get all exercised against it.
But they don’t want to repeal the laws that favor them.
So gay people can’t fire conservative christians because they’re conservative christians, although conservative christians can fire gay people because they’re gay.
“So gay people can’t fire conservative christians because they’re conservative christians, although conservative christians can fire gay people because they’re gay.”
And, there’s infinitely more choice involved in which religion one follows than there is in one’s sexual orientation. Hypocritical indeed.
Even though I’m in the middle on all these issues, I’d have to whole-heartedly agree with you on this one. It’s a “hate crime” itself not to include sexual orientation under the hate crime laws. What do conservatives have to gain from all this? A few cents saved (in terms of taxes) while some poor homosexual boy gets murdered for talking with a lisp?
“ONLY assaults against gays and lesbians have made law enforcers and the system WITHOLD justice or motivation to pursue it for that gay victim.”
Er, and women. Think of all the rape/incest victims who have been told they must have done something to cause the attack?
Also, you said:
“And true, one DOES choose to be religious, where gay people do not choose their orientation.”
I think that some people are nonReligious and choose to become religious, and there are some people who do choose to be gay. Both of these statements you’ve made are not hard and fast truths in life. For most people, being religious is something they are born into. As they become adults they often can choose to take a nonReligious path, but I don’t know even then that one can become totally nonReligious; not when it’s a part of everything you’ve known all around you.
I guess my point is – you (Regan) often make a lot of simplistic statements that don’t seem to take into account a lot of the variety of life in this world or the worlds of those beyond the gay realm. I do appreciate your support of gay rights, make no mistake, and I really am not trying to pick on you, but sometimes I wish you chose your words and sentiments (which are obviously deep-felt) a bit more carefully.
I’m somewhat familiar with the case Regan mentioned. The fact appears to be that the gay guy killed the woman, not because she was christian, but because she was hectoring him about him being gay.
A hate crime refers to a crime committed against another because he is of a different race, the wrong religion, the wrong sex, gay, or whatever. A crime is not a hate crime unless that is the (or a) motivation for the crime. Just because someone commits a crime against a christian, doesn’t make it a hate crime.
BTW, I used the examples that I did (refusal to include “sexual orientation” in anti-discrimination and hate crimes legislation) for a reason. The fact is that there isn’t much opposition to anti-discrimination or hate crimes legislation, until it is suggested to add “sexual orientation” to already existing legislation. Then conservatives–mostly conservative christians–start railing against it, calling them “special rights.” Conservative christians love their special rights–they’re already covered by the legislation.
One idea that your four options do not take into account:
The reality of things at the moment is somewhere between 3 and 4 overall, but many followers of socially conservative viewpoints are VERY uncomfortable with that fact. So use that discomfort as a means of stirring up rhetorical and monetary support for the leaders of the anti-gay organizations.
The Dobsons and Santorums of the world surely know that there is little research supporting their case, but they do know that as long as there exists such misunderstanding of gays they will have supporters, politically and financially.
This right here is a fact of the christian right. They living in a platonist world where the only thing that matters is how the world should be. They care not one whit that abstinence only education or “homosexual therapy” doesn’t work. That isn’t the point. The point is that it should and that is all that matters.
So correct. And thus you can be “ex-gay” by simply stating that you are.
Ironically, the religious right’s definition of “Truth” is that which you “claim by faith”. It therefore becomes irrelevant what the facts are. They simply proclaim “the Truth” and that it will set you free.
And now you wouldn’t want to argue with the Truth, now would you?
I have a questions, its not entirely related,but it was something i was thinking of..
Is the institution of marriage an act of law or an act of religious faith
if the first is true, why havent their been any challenges to the establishment of marriage as by showing special treatment under the law to married couples that violates the premise of equal protection under the law as well as due process. (if we live in a country where “under god” can be challenged why hasnt this idea been explored)
If the second is true, why havent there been attempts by the gay community to establish a religion of their own and orthodox unions through its right of expression under the 1st amendment.
And If i have wasted your time with this inquiry i appologize. It was just a curiousity that i was trying to explore.
Scooter, I’ll try to answer this.
The answer to the first question is both; the institution of marriage an act of law and an act of religious faith.
The cases for same-sex marriage in the US is based on both the premise of equal protection under law with due process and freedom of/from religion of same-sex couples.