Thursday, February 24, 2011

Anti-Gay Initiatives Across U.S. State Legislatures: Gays Not to Take Them "Personally"

When I look at the pictures of the two young Republicans sponsoring the "Don't Say Gay" bill now before the Tennessee legislature, I think of something Timothy Beauchamp said at AmericaBlog Gay yesterday.  Beauchamp is reporting on a statement that the Republican minority leader in the Maryland Senate, Nancy Jacobs, made recently as the Maryland legislature gears up for a big debate about same-sex marriage.  Jacobs says she hopes her gay and lesbian fellow citizens won't take "personally" what her fellow Republicans say about them in the legislative debate.

We don't have to work hard to imagine the kind of things gay and lesbian human beings will be asked not to take "personally" as the homophobic Republican mud flies around in the Maryland legislature.  After listening to the anti-gay side recently, one Maryland senator, Democrat James Brochin, who had previously been opposed to same-sex marriage, changed his mind.  Brochin said that he found the "hate and venom" of those testifying against gay people and gay lives "appalling."  He concluded,

For me, the transition to supporting marriage has not been an easy one, but the uncertainty, fear, and second-class status that gays and lesbians have to put up with is far worse and clearly must come to an end. ... What I witnessed from the opponents of the bill was appalling. Witness after witness demonized homosexuals, vilified the gay community, and described gays and lesbians as pedophiles.

Those doing the demonizing in these Maryland hearings include Maggie Gallagher of National Organization for Marriage, who played a key role in arguing against the gay-marriage legislation and in changing Brochin's mind.  As I say, we don't have to stretch our imaginations to figure out what Republicans who have been pumped full of Maggie's Catholic-inspired and Catholic-funded hate and venom will be saying as they try to block same-sex marriage in Maryland--will be saying about gay and lesbian human beings, gay and lesbian lives, gay and lesbian loving relationships.

And so I agree absolutely with Timothy Beauchamp's rejoinder to Nancy Jacobs:

Now why would the gays elected to serve in the House and Senate take it personally to have their colleagues claiming they shouldn't be able to share in the same rights? How typical and sickening for a Republican to smugly argue they want to continue to discriminate but hope "the gays" don't take it personally. Another thing I'd like my Republican "friends" to know. If they don't want me to have equal rights, they can "love me" all they want but I won't be "loving them" back. I just don't believe in that form of "love" that is strangely synonymous with what would otherwise be known as hate. In fact, that is a very funny definition of love for them to deny us our basic human rights. Actions speak louder than words, Ms. Jacobs. 

I must be built different than other human beings, and maybe this is one of the effects of my disordered condition, but:  I do rather take it personally--very personally--when some people, including many of my Catholic brothers and sisters, characterize my life of committed, monogamous love with a longtime partner as bestial, as no different than a man's rape of a dog.  Or when they imply that I might molest children.  Or when they speak of me as diseased and a threat to the health of society.  Or when they state that my relationship and my life are narcissistic and non-generative.  Or when they say that my human rights are "alleged rights" trumped by their real right to discriminate. Or when they say that providing my committed, monogamous relationship with the same legal protections, tax advantages, and networks of support provided to heterosexual marriages will somehow magically dissolve everyone else's "traditional" marriage.

And I'll go a step further and say I also take it personally when people I know and love tell me--as some friends do--that they are fiscal conservatives but social liberals, and that they vote Republican only for the former reason and deplore the attacks on me and my kind by the "fiscal conservatives" these friends help elect.  You can't have it both ways.  You can't put these rabidly anti-gay folks into office and then disclaim responsibility for what you've done when they go on the attack.

And you can't claim to love me and cherish my friendship and then turn these haters loose on me and my kind.  Love is not what this demonization of gay human beings and gay lives to score political points is all about.  Never has been, never will be.  It's about prejudice and discrimination, pure and simple.  And the need of some people to build their sense of self and of their righteousness on the exclusion and destruction of other human beings to whom they feel superior.

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