Several professional ex-gays made their political leanings very public post-election day. Specifically, Randy Thomas and Alan Chambers, who head Exodus International, the “ex-gay” organization that has “exited politics.” On Nov. 4th’s historic election night, he was jumping for joy over anti-gay amendments, as evidenced by multiple posts on his live blog session. Jay Holloman, a celibate same-sex attracted young man who frequently comments and occasionally writes for XGW, also participated in the live blog session. He had a centrist and often very tolerant tone, but found himself at odds with Thomas. Below are some examples of the messages that were posted. To give you a preview of what’s to come, here is this quip:
9:09 Randy Thomas: Democrats need to stop picking up Senate seats.
On anti-equality amendments:
9:00 Randy Thomas: Amendment 2 at 62% with 39% percent of precincts reporting!!! We have to have 60% to win….
9:01 Randy Thomas: In FL… you have to have 60%
10:49 Randy Thomas: Amendment 2 just dipped under 60%
11:36 Ellie: So we now have one state with legal gay marriage, one state with explicitly illegal. Hopefully we can add two more.
11:37 Randy Thomas: YAY! I think AZ’s 102 got less attention because it was doing so well.
11:37 Randy Thomas: CNN says that Amendment two is still at 62% with 87% of the precincts reporting in.
11:38 Randy Thomas: I JUST GOT AN EMAIL FROM THE AMENDMENT 2 CAMPAIGN SAYING THAT IT PASSED!
11:39 Randy Thomas: That’s a big wow. I will be honest… this is the second time I have gotten emotional tonight.
11:40 Randy Thomas:
How Christian of him to rejoice at the rejection of an entire community’s civil equality.
Several commenters seemed to agree that the rights of LGBTQ persons should be acknowledged legally, and that nomenclature gets in the way:
9:26 Jay Holloman: Even if Amendment 2 or Proposition 8 passes, it’s not something I can be excited about. At most, it’s more of a necessity thing, but you can’t deny these kinds of things will hurt people. Certainly not a “yay” kind of victory.
9:27 Jay Holloman: And yeah, I wish Christians would actually [throw] definite support behind civil unions, instead of just saying, “Well, we don’t mind.”
9:27 Randy Thomas: Jay, I almost had a meltdown yesterday looking at all the horrible things going on at the grassroots (on both sides.)
9:28 Randy Thomas: Jay, you won’t ever see me cheer for any public policy that binds same sex couples together. [emphasis added] 9:29 Jay Holloman: The policy doesn’t bind anyone together. It just gives people the option to live their lives as they see fit.
9:29 Jay Holloman: You won’t see me cheering when someone enters a mosque, but I’ll cheer for their right to enter one.
9:30 Randy Thomas: [in response to commenter “Lyle”] – Marriage is the whole kit and kaboodle. Civil Unions are the legal benefits. Jay – i am not arguing with you. It is policy that facilitates people binding themselves to another legally.
In other words, Randy will never extend an olive branch to the LGBTQ community if we’re given even the tiniest sliver of recognition by the law as legitimate, loving human beings who form loving, committed, enriching relationships just like heterosexuals. Jay calls for Christians to say more than “we don’t mind” – Randy is saying he indeed minds, in any situation.
Commenter “Ellie” seemed to agree with Jay on treating LGBTQ citizens like human beings:
9:34 Ellie: the reason I think we need to throw support behind something [of a different name from gay marriage] is that it can function to deflect charges of hate-mongering religious fundamentalism, it does address a real problem (eg the traditionally cited hospital visits), and it gives us a more legitimate platform to oppose marriage from.
9:34 Jay Holloman: Exactly, Ellie. I’m a little annoyed at Christians who support Proposition 8 and kind of see that as the be-all-end-all of their dealings with the gay community. It should feel a little more complicated than that.
A discussion of Hospital visitation ensued, with commenter “DM” also aligning with Jay:
9:44 Jay Holloman: I think whether or not people are able to make decisions is the key here. If the person is unconscious and their parents don’t want his/her partner there, there’s little to stop them in some places.
9:45 DM: Jay – that would lead me to think that making one’s wishes clear up front is important regarding whom you would want around you in a hospital setting should you not be able to have a say-so later on.
9:46 Jay Holloman: True, but not everyone can afford the lawyers to make that happen. Nor do they necessarily carry proof of their power of attorney with them everywhere they go.
9:46 Jay Holloman: Which is why I think domestic partnerships/civil unions/etc. are a good thing.
Randy largely ignored this discussion throughout, posting incidental off-topic comments instead. Towards the end though, he asked the participants to change the subject to something other than “partner benefits.” He did, however, make it clear that he was not prohibiting such talk but rather wanted to branch out the discussion.
It amazes me that a conversion from gay to “ex-gay” (or “post-gay,” whichever) never seems to stop at sexuality. Oftentimes there is a conversion to not only fundamentalist religious beliefs, but to hard-line right-wing politics as well. Since many people choose the “ex-gay” path because of their religion, the former should not be surprising. But the latter, which is often expressed with a need to quash the rights of others who don’t align with their own personal beliefs, is more alarming. The cry from ex-gays who want their personal choices to be “respected;” that they are not granted tolerance from those in the LGBTQ community who call for tolerance – is ironic, to put it mildly, as many of those individuals will simultaneously support amendments that curtail the freedoms of that same community.
…in three key states, one of which is arguably one of the most, if not the most, liberal in our nation, the people voted in favor of keeping marriage the union between one man and one woman. That, to me, further underscores my belief that we aren’t a liberal nation moving quickly towards liberalism more than we are one trying to do the right thing. I think there is some misguidedness in there, but the fundamentals of the American hearts are good.
Alan claims he knows what makes a heart “good.” But then he turns around, displaying a nagging conflict in his own heart:
Related to the wins for marriage as we know it, though, must come the realization that 18,000 marriage licenses are this morning deemed invalid in the state of California. Translated: 36,000 hearts that have to be absolutely broken. And, while I am thrilled with the vote in support of keeping marriage the way God intends it, I am truly heavy in heart for the men and women who saw same-sex marriage as an answer to their struggle for acceptance. I do not take any joy in seeing people’s dreams or hearts crushed even if I disagree with them. I pray this morning that the proponents of Arizona’s Prop 102, California’s Prop 8 and Florida’s Amendment 2 celebrate with these broken hearts in mind and with a desire to comfort those who need comfort in the wake of what has to be bitter disappointment. Truly this is what Jesus would do!
Alan calls for the proponents of this legislation, of which he is one, to “celebrate with [our] broken hearts in mind.” To me this sounds like a cruel sentiment. Legislation that attacks the rights of my community, a community that is weary of being treated as second class citizenry, may be seen by Chambers as necessary for “good” to be furthered. I ask, how can something truly be seen as “good” when 36,000 hearts are breaking? How can something be a cause for celebration when those 36,000 broken hearts need to be “considered?” These “broken hearts” are couples who committed no crime. They did nothing to anybody except themselves, by committing, joyously and as one, to a bond many consider sacred.
Randy expressed most of the same sentiments Alan did, adding, “I wish they had never been put in that position to begin with.” Apparantly, the “pro-family” political machine was only doing their “Christian” duty to “protect” marriage, and if gays had not have gained that right to begin with, there woudn’t be all of this heartbreak. It’s not our fault we’re so sad; gays wouldn’t get sad about losing rights at all if they weren’t given to us in the first place.
Jay Holloman’s post was the most excellent of the three. He addressed it to “all of the Christians who supported the initiatives in California, Florida, and Arizona to ban same-sex marriage” and at “the Christians in Arkansas who supported the initiative to ban adoption or foster-parenting by unmarried couples (which, of course, includes same-sex couples).” I reccommend XGW visitors read it in its entirity at his blog:
Heaven forbid you consider this the end of your dealings with the gay community. If you think, for even an instant, that your ballots consisted of a “victory” and you can rest easy now, you are an utter disgrace. Because all you did was pass laws; you did not change hearts.
You may disagree with their views or choices, but remember that you are both still human, and thus you both contain shadows of the other within you. Their pain is just like your pain, and right now, trust me, they’re in pain.
He pleads with Christians to make a true effort:
It’s not that these initiatives passed that really bugs me. It’s that they passed with seeming glee and joy from Christians … [b]ecause like it or not, hurt has been caused to the gay community. You might think it was necessary, but that does not take away your duty as a Christian to try to connect to others. And I mean really connect, people. See where they’re coming from; try to understand their pain, anger, and frustration. Don’t let your Christian witness end at the ballot box (though I am very discouraged right now, and I fear that it will).
Talk to gay friends and neighbors. Try to listen and engage and understand their pain. Show that you care. And if you actually find that you can’t do these things, because you don’t want to understand or because you don’t care, then pray, search your heart, and ask God to give you a heart for them.
As I was perusing the news online for the amendment results, a headline from an ABC affiliate struck me. It read: “Gay couples disappointed by Calif. marriage ban.” I couldn’t help but be shocked at how muted this statement was. I’m not even married, and my feelings can only be described as “devastated” and “heartbroken.”
The commenter called “DM” posted a remark in Randy’s Live Blog that I think can speak to all sides of an issue, although I’m not sure if they meant it to:
10:50 DM: Fortunately, social issues aren’t all determined by laws – God, the Holy Spirit, & Jesus work behind the scenes all the time in the hearts & souls of men, women, & children.
I am confident that there will be a time coming when I will be accepted as a full human being, without question. With each passing generation, the souls of children become more understanding.