Thursday, November 05, 2009

Bigotry: theirs and not ours

You all know about the deeply upsetting loss on Maine's Question 1. It hurt and I mean that literally: I had had a knot in my stomach from early on and there was a genuine pain when I heard the final result. The pain has subsided by the upset remains and the same question keeps running through my head:

What is wrong with these people?

The ads run by the anti-justice people in Maine were the same, literally word-for-word the same, as the ads they ran in California on Question 8. How many times are people going to get fooled by the same fucking lies, the same fucking fear-mongering, the same fucking distortions, deceptions, deviousness, the same ... the same ... the same fucking lies before they realize they are being played for rubes by a bunch of crackpot reactionaries whose sanctimonious invocation of the "sanctity" of marriage is merely a smokescreen for their bigotry?

But, oh, didn't we hear that oil being poured on thick? "This isn't about hating anyone," they crooned, "it's about protecting our families!" Protecting them? From what? From the possibility that two men or two women could actually love each other and want to declare that bond in the way society has chosen to recognize it for others?

Protect them from what? From the knowledge that gays and lesbians are pretty much just like them, with the same sorts of hopes and fears and the same desire to have a stable household with someone they love, with the same desire to be treated with dignity and respect and not be singled out as somehow alien or "other?"

Protect them from what? From discovering by the experience of day-to-day observation that same-sex marriage does not damage, degrade, or devalue their own marriages?

I suppose you can call it progress that the bigots had to plaster smarmy smiles on their faces in order to hide their fangs, that they couldn't just come out and say "kill the queers," that, in fact, the fight against same-sex marriage is a rear-guard action by a retreating enemy, but it is bigotry nonetheless. Wrapping it up in the rubric of "protecting families" and hiding it behind phantasmagorical terrifying images of 3rd graders being forced to watch gay sex instruction videos does not reduce the bigotry, it amplifies it.

Oh, but wait! I can't say that! No, no, no! Because, according to some, saying things like that makes me a bigot! I am "intolerant of their views!" In the eyes of some, consisting mostly, I have found, of those particularly desperate to avoid facing their own biases, bigotry is not the only bigotry - objecting to bigotry is bigotry!

Well, I call bullshit. Compete and thorough bullshit. In fact, not even firm, formed, bullshit but floppy, wet, mucusy, particularly-stinky bullshit.

We are not the bigots. They are. Not just the open homophobes, not just the lunatic paranoids like Fred Phelps with his positively creepy obsession with the word "fag," but those who would deny their fellow citizens full equality under the law - and I mean full, not this "separate but equal" crap that not only ices same-sex couples out of the federal benefits of marriage but persists in labeling them as "other" - because they feel icky about how those fellow citizens like to have sex.

So no, don't bother trying to hand me any of that "You're the real bigot!" nonsense. Get this straight, you whiny-ass chowderheads:

Bigotry is bigotry. Objecting to it is not.

Intolerance is intolerance. Objecting to it is not.

Homophobia is bigotry and intolerance. Just as racism is bigotry and intolerance and sexism is bigotry and intolerance and anti-Semitism is bigotry and intolerance and the myriad other forms of religious, ethnic, and personal discrimination to which we are too often heir are bigotry and intolerance. Objecting to them is not.

Yes, I know you're scared. I know you're confused. I know it's disorienting to be told that things you were brought up to believe about "right" and "wrong," about "natural" and "unnatural," won't hold. I know it can be overwhelming to feel the world changing in ways you don't fully understand. But that doesn't alter the fact that denying your neighbors and fellow citizens equal rights because they are not like you, judging people on fears rather than facts, is bigotry.

So yes, if you oppose same-sex marriage, which now is the only way for same-sex couples to have equal rights, you are a bigot.

And those who call you on it - at least in this case - are not.

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