Gay Lobby Intolerance in Massachusetts
PROVINCETOWN — Town leaders here are holding a public meeting today to air concerns about slurs and bigoted behavior. And this time, they say, it’s gay people who are displaying intolerance.It’s difficult to see publishing the names of people who signed an anti-gay-marriage petition as anything but an invitation to harassment.
Police say they logged numerous complaints of straight people being called “breeders” by gays over the July Fourth holiday weekend. Jamaican workers reported being the target of racial slurs. And a woman was verbally accosted after signing a petition that opposed same-sex marriage, they said.
The town, which prizes its reputation for openness and tolerance, is taking the concerns seriously, though police say they do not consider the incidents hate crimes.
“Hate language is usually the early-warning signal that could lead to hate-motivated violence,” Town Manager Keith Bergman said. “And before that happens, we try to nip it in the bud.”
Gays have coexisted fairly peacefully alongside other residents in this community on Cape Cod’s tip, home to a long-established Portuguese fishing colony.
Along the main shopping street and the wharf, residents of this 3,400-person town — which swells to some 30,000 over the summer — say tensions are rising in part because of strong feelings about same-sex marriage.
Meanwhile, Jamaicans say the intensifying debate over immigration is making racial issues worse.
Winsome Karr, 45, originally from Jamaica, has worked in town since 2002. Lately, she said, the off-color comments stem from gay visitors who mistakenly believe that all Jamaicans share the views of an island religious sect that disagrees with homosexuality.
Karr’s strong accent reveals her Jamaican roots.
“After a while people from here get used to you, and it changes,” said Karr, who works at a Tedeschi Food Shop not far from Commercial Street. “It’s just because of the image that gay people have of Jamaicans. People — no matter who they are — get defensive of their lifestyle.”
On same-sex marriage, the clashes have occurred as the state Legislature grapples with whether the electorate should vote on a measure to limit marriage to heterosexuals. A group that supports gay marriage, knowthyneighbor, has created a website displaying the names of more than 100,000 signers of a petition that calls for the state Constitution to be amended to prohibit same-sex marriage.
Knowthyneighbor’s tactics are controversial, with critics alleging that knowthyneighbor is making the names of same-sex marriage opponents public in an effort to expose or intimidate them. The group’s founders say they are simply promoting civic discourse.
The names of 43 Provincetown residents are listed on the website. Most of the petition signers attend St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church, which serves the Portuguese community and others in town. The Catholic Church has helped lead the fight against same-sex marriage.
One St. Peter’s parishioner, Yvonne Cabral, was verbally accosted last Friday by Provincetown Magazine publisher Rick Hines after Hines learned that Cabral signed the petition, according to police.
Police Chief Ted Meyer plans to seek charges of disorderly conduct against Hines, who saw Cabral shopping and loudly called her a “bigot,” according to both Hines and Meyer. Other people who signed the petition — and subsequently had their names posted on the same website — said manure has been spread on their properties in recent months, Meyer added.
All parties involved agree that Cabral was shopping and Hines was buying a hotdog when Hines told Cabral that she was a bigot.
Police said the matter was under investigation and declined to provide the Globe a copy of the police report.
The Rev. Henry J. Dahl, pastor at St. Peter’s, heard about what happened to Cabral, and about another parishioner who said she felt intimidated after a flier was stuck on her car in the middle of the night with a list of the names of petition signers — including her own. Dahl decided to call the police chief.
“People who signed the petition, I think they knew what they were getting into,” said Dahl. “There was a certain expectation of knowing that when you make a statement like that, there could be certain consequences that follow.”
“But this was a dramatic experience,” he said, referring to Cabral’s encounter with Hines.
Hines said the matter was being blown out of proportion.
“I knew she signed the petition and I ran into her, and I gave her a piece of my mind,” said Hines.
Hines added: “After being pushed and prodded your whole life for being gay, you run into someone you know sees you as a second-class citizen and it’s human to respond. . . . I regret that it happened that way.”
In all fairness, it’s worth pointing out that anti-abortion groups have used the same tactic against doctors who work at abortion clinics. And of course, liberals have roundly condemned the tactic when used against abortion doctors.
But while it’s tempting to say there is intolerance on both the right and left, that would be a bogus even-handedness in this case.
Activist gays, and their liberal allies, have abandoned the notion that dissent from their views is acceptable. They don’t believe that even mere discussion of their agenda is legitimate.
In fact, some of the gay activists in Provincetown admit that this is their view. According to The Cape Codder:
The Cabral/Hines incident sparked debate because, while many see Hines’ actions as inappropriate, they, along with Hines, say Cabral committed a hate incident by signing the petition. The Anti-Defamation League considers the distribution and circulation of hate propaganda and information a hate incident when the action seeks to make a group of people feel uncomfortable. But many Catholics in the area say that is exactly what is happening to them, as their disapproval of homosexuality is based on their faith.It’s chilling to see gay activists say that people who oppose gay marriage have no right to use the political process to express their views. But that’s exactly what this activist is saying.
But Hines and others don’t buy that argument.
“I’d call it a hate initiative,” said Hines. “I don’t think the majority should vote on the rights of the minority. It’s just flat wrong.”
Gay activists demean and vilify anybody who disagrees with them.
They are the true bigots in this debate, and conservatives ought to loudly insist on saying so.