I recently saw this on a friend’s status on Facebook. OK, she’s more of an acquaintance. OK, she’s a classmate of my wife’s and I felt obligated to “friend” her. I barely know her. Anyway, she was quoting another friend of hers, but clearly she agrees with the statement or why would she post it?
"I have gay friends that I love, and I’m not really taking a stand for either side. It’s chicken…eat it where you want to eat it. But I do agree with this statement from a recent article: ‘It’s a shame that the gay community that asks for tolerance is so intolerant of others opinions.’ "
OK, that’s perfectly reas… wait, what? Hold on. TO.
Now you want to be tolerated for your ignorant, fearful, unenlightened beliefs? I’m sorry. You don’t get to do that. You don’t get to oppress a significant percentage of the population, deny them their basic human rights, and then ask for tolerance. You don’t get to bully them mercilessly, call them “pansy” and “dyke” and “faggot”, and then ask for tolerance. You don’t get to drag them behind a car until they’re dead, plead “gay panic”, and then ask for tolerance. You don’t get to picket soldiers’ funerals, loudly proclaiming that “God hates fags” and “Fags caused 9/11”, and then ask for tolerance.
As has been said before by numerous people much smarter and more articulate than me, this is not about chicken, or even about free speech. It’s about a very rich man taking the profits from his company and funneling them into hate groups and legislation that oppress gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and other “t’aint normal” people. Sure, he has the right to hate queers all he wants. But when he starts using his company’s money to further his queer-hating agenda in a very public and official way, that’s when I have a problem. And I don’t really feel like I have to “tolerate” him for that.
Let’s look at the main arguments against giving gays the same rights as everyone else, shall we? Sure, I’m probably preaching to the choir, but just for the hell of it.
1. It’s an abomination against God.
The easiest argument against this one is simply: AMERICA IS NOT A THEOCRACY. How long will it take you to learn this? It never has been, and it never will be. The founding fathers may have been devout Christians (and even that’s probably doubtful depending on who you ask), but they knew about religious oppression and they feared it. It’s why the Constitution specifically mentions the separation of church and state.
But you know what else is an abomination against God? Eating shellfish. Wearing clothes made with two different kinds of cloth. Tattoos. Lots of stuff. And even if you’re not talking about the book of Leviticus, there are plenty of things in the Bible that have been changed, ignored, and misinterpreted over the last two millennia. This kind of cherry-picking just makes you look hateful. If you’re going to insist on this argument, you damn well better be living your life exactly like Jesus said, or you know what you are? That’s right. An evangelist preacher.
2. Changing the definition of traditional marriage would destroy marriage as we know it!
Bullshit. Do you know how many times “traditional” marriage has been redefined? The Bible is rife with polygamy; outside of the deeper reaches of Utah, you don’t see that much in this country any more. What about wives being part of the husband’s possessions? I doubt very much that my wife would like to be called chattel. I’d be lucky if I ended up sleeping on the couch for a couple of months. Or how about dowries? Not many men asking their betrotheds’ families for 10 cows and a goat before they’ll marry the poor girl.
And of course, the big one: miscegeny. A few short decades ago, it was illegal in many states for a black person to marry a white person. Hell, black men in the South were routinely intimidated, beaten, falsely charged and imprisoned, and even lynched just for looking at white women. Now, Seal and Heidi Klum can get it on and no one even bats an eye. Hell, they’re not even from the same country! That’s multi-mixing!
3. If we allow men to marry men, or women to marry women, what’s next? Will we have to allow men to marry dogs, or women to marry toasters? Aagh fear ignorance blargh!
Just stop. Right now. Stop using this argument. Do you realize how stupid you sound? Men and women are adults, capable of making intelligent decisions and giving consent. Dogs and toasters are not. End of discussion.
Tolerance is about allowing the other side to exist, in harmony, without oppression or unnecessary limitations. Gay people have been oppressed and had limitations put upon them for so long, and they, along with their friends and loved ones, have tolerated it for so long because frankly, what other choice did we have? But we will not tolerate it any more. Have your opinions. Speak your offensive, hateful speeches. You have the right to do that. But when you take actions that hurt, oppress, and otherwise make our friends less than full citizens, that is when we stop being tolerant.