Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Gay Lobby Intolerance: Another View

From a former student of ours, a response to our post on instances of intolerance on the part of gays in Massachusetts.
As someone who has publicly opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment, I must take issue with your characterization of Gay Rights Activists as more bigoted than their counterparts in the Religious Right.

One of the things I expected when I went to work on Gay Rights issues was that people would conflate my support of Gay Rights with my own sexuality. What I didn’t expect was just how far people would take that assumption. Based on nothing more than my opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment, I have been told many, many times that I am going to hell, I had someone wish AIDS upon me and had someone try to put me in contact with a Pentecostal exorcist (I’ll admit that one is more funny than offensive). If such actions aren’t a sure sign of bigotry, I don’t know what is. While I honestly believe that the vast majority of people who are against Gay Rights aren’t bigoted or even motivated by bigotry, there are enough bigots out there to warp one’s view of the opposition.

Yes, there are many on the pro-Gay Rights side of things that take things too far (I’ve always thought that gaining popular support is a much better way to go than trying to win court battles), but a lot of that stems from the fact that they have had to deal with actual bigots their entire life. I don’t know if anyone’s ever condemned you to hell, but it genuinely hurts, especially over a matter as trivial to one’s character as opposing an amendment before Congress. It tends to make one defensive and it tends to upset people. And I speak of this as a straight man who only has to deal with this when I choose to do so, as opposed to gay people who have to deal with this their entire lives. I’m not saying this excuses taking things too far (such as wishing people didn’t have the ability to even propose such amendments or treating all Jamaicans as militant Rastas), but it does at least explain where such hostility can come from.

Most of the time, gay rights activists’ hostility towards opposition is a mere reaction to the open bigotry that an outspoken minority on the other side displays towards them. Whereas the hostility by the worst on the other side seems to be motivated by ignorance at best (condemning a straight man to hell because they assume he’s gay) or flat out hatred at worst.

Alright, I’ve had my peace.
Our conclusion that people on the “gay rights” side of the issue are more bigoted than people on the “anti-gay-rights” side was based on what we have observed of the elite political discourse: blogs, speeches on college campuses, opinion pieces in newspapers and magazines, speeches in the House and Senate. We continue to maintain that, in these venues, liberal bigotry is much more often expressed than conservative bigotry.

But we won’t deny that the above message reflects a very important reality. There are anti-gay bigots out there, and (like bigots of any kind) they make the situation worse.

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