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If "Stop the Hate" is the Message, Try Setting the Example

Let me start by saying that the goal of this column is clarity, not agreement. I don't seek to change your mind or have you finish reading this and end up in either support or opposition to Proposition 8, or gay marriage as a whole. I simply wish to clarify the issue, and point out what I see as the real "intolerance."

Bash Back, a "tolerant" homosexual rights group.

California recently voted for the second time (after the first decision was overturned by the state supreme court in a 5-4 vote) to amend the state's constitution via Proposition 8, which will define traditional marriage as being one man and one woman. It was not a vote on civil unions, income tax or health insurance privileges, or to take away any "rights" from homosexuals. It was a simple ballot initiative to allow the citizens of California (arguably the most liberal voting state in the nation) to decide how the state should define the word "marriage." Nearly every county (including Los Angeles and San Francisco) voted for the traditional definition, with only 15 of California's 58 counties opposing the proposition.

It should be noted that this is in fact the second time Californians have voted as a state in favor of this traditional definition. Many opponents say Proposition 8 is a "step backward," since gay marriage is currently legal in California. But it's only a "step backward" because after the voters of California spoke for the first time, the issue was shopped to the state supreme court, who overturned the voice of the majority by a 5-4 vote, resulting in a few months of state-sanctioned same-sex "marriage." Now that the people of California have voted yet again in favor of the traditional definition of marriage, governor Schwarzenegger took a break from squat thrusts long enough to say,
"It's unfortunate, obviously, but it's not the end...I think that we will again maybe undo that, if the court is willing to do that."

Democracy in action. If the state instead voted overwhelmingly in
favor of redefining marriage to include same-sex couples, and one conservative judge tipped the 5-4 vote and overturned the voice of the people by re-banning "gay marriage," don't you think homosexuals and their advocates would rise up and say "Democracy has been subverted; the people have spoken and their voice has been silenced?" You'd think so, and you'd be right. But apparently the subversion of one of the last true democratic constructs in America (the ballot initiative) is completely fine if the results turn out in your favor.

Before going on, let me say this. I am a 100% sexual libertarian. I don't care what someone's orientation is, what they do, who they do it with, how many people are involved; whatever blows their skirt up in the privacy of their own home doesn't and will never affect me, nor should it. I'll never have a problem with (much less care about) what anyone does sexually, as long as it's consensual and no children are involved. I think this is pretty basic stuff.

After understanding that, understand that I am in favor of granting every "right" a married heterosexual couple has to homosexual couples as well. I use the term "right" loosely here, but you should know what I'm talking about: Hospital visitation, the ability to cover your partner with an employer's health insurance plan, the ability to file a tax return as a couple...the list goes on and on. I don't know a single supporter of proposition 8 who has a problem with two homosexuals taking advantage of the aforementioned benefits that society bestows to heterosexual couples. In fact, if you ask me, it's a travesty they aren't universally granted already. Homosexuality is not a choice, or a "preferred behavior." As such, society can not expect to dilute its influence by punishing it as a "choice," or creating economic incentives to "choose" its opposite.

Proposition 8 supporters and indeed the vast majority of those who defend so-called "traditional marriage" do not hate gays. Many of them have gay friends, coworkers, family members - all of whom they fully accept and understand. They do not seek to destroy a homosexual's way of life, or punish them for their sexuality - something they have no control over. They see no problem in granting to homosexual couples a legal standing equivalent to traditional marriage in the eyes of the government (which is - like it or not - what these "rights" are all about; your church doesn't decide how you can file your tax return) - they simply want the term and the institution to continue to be defined by the society as male/female.

I hear and understand the complaints and grievances of Prop 8 opponents, whatever their sexuality. I simply ask that they use democratic and peaceful means to convince their opposition and achieve their goals. Naturally, opponents of Proposition 8 are incensed, and I sympathize with them, but there have been overwhelmingly un-American tactics used in the wake of the decision, which I can't support or defend in any way.

A 69-year old woman was swarmed by angry protesters, as the cross she was carrying was yanked from her hands and trampled upon. Jose Nunez, a 37 year-old Mexican immigrant who became an American citizen only two months ago, was "brutally assaulted" while waiting to distribute signs in support of Prop 8. He was punched in the left eye and his signs were stolen, after being asked by his assailant, "What do you have against gays?!" It might just be me, but it seems like now he's got a lot more to "have against gays" than he did before one punched him in the face. Well done.

Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, a church which served as a collection point for a petition to get the proposition on the state ballot, was spray painted by vandals. I mean uh...people who want to "stop the hate." Mt. Hope, a church outside of Lansing, Michigan, was stormed by an anti-Prop 8 group called "Bash Back," whose demonstrators marched outside the church and then invaded the sanctuary in the middle of a Sunday service, shouting slogans, throwing leaflets and condoms (yes...condoms), pulling a fire alarm, and having two lesbian members kiss at the pulpit in front of the congregation. If church-goers didn't like gay people before, they're sure to love them now!

Letters containing "white powder" meant to resemble anthrax were sent to the Mormon church's Salt Lake City headquarters, and to a temple in Los Angeles. A 25-year old director for the California Musical Theatre was pressured into resigning because of his $1,000 donation in support of the proposition.

You can even find online "anti-gay black lists" which publicly identify and call for boycotts against citizens, small businesses, and organizations that financially backed the proposition, even with amounts as little as $46. One website states, "The following individuals or organizations have donated money to the California Proposition 8 campaign which seeks to ban same sex marriages. Please do not patronize them." And no, patronize doesn't mean "chastise."

This is what is fundamentally un-American, and I don't care what your sexuality is. And this is coming from liberals, straight and gay alike, who are supposed to be the "tolerant" ones? It is not and has never been the American way for citizens to seek to destroy the property and livelihood of others who disagree with them. That isn't democracy, tolerance, compromise, or reform - that's terrorism. You don't turn someone who disagrees with you into a "hater" or a "bigot" in an attempt to tear them down or crush their businesses. You seek understanding, compromise, and unity. You don't claim to have an affinity for democracy when the vote goes your way, and then use the "inadequacy" of democracy as an excuse for violence when it doesn't.

Oh, and since it seems to be Mormons taking most of the heat for supporting this ballot initiative, I'll remind you that not only is the Messiah himself in opposition to gay marriage (as is Mr. Biden), over 70% of blacks in California voted in favor of traditional marriage, as most of them pulled the lever (or impregnated the chad, as it were) for Barack Obama. Hear any calls for the black community, whose members voted overwhelmingly against gay marriage, to be labeled as haters and homophobes? Any black churches stormed or invaded? Nah, better stick with the Mormons. They get this kind of stuff all the time.

Again, the point of this column is not to change your mind about anything. The point (which should be especially heeded by homosexuals) is that militant and indeed intolerant homosexual "advocacy" groups are doing for mainstream acceptance of homosexuality and gay couples what Sharpton, Wright, and Jackson have done for the progress of blacks in America. That is to say, setting it back decades. Denounce the violent acts of these groups (and any abhorrent actions of the opposition as well), encourage others to actually practice this philosophy of "tolerance," and in addition to trying to tear down walls, try to build some bridges as well.

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  • Anonymous Keith said:
    Thursday, December 04, 2008  

    Maybe their goal with the violence is just to shake their (queer male's) feminine image in society. "I'm here, I'm queer and I'm also going to punch you in the face." top

  • Anonymous Alexa said:
    Saturday, December 06, 2008  

    You bring up a good point, sir. A really good point actually. One I'd never considered. Though it wasn't your goal to change my opinion, you've definitely challenged me to take a look at the situation in a different light. top

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