Dear 69% of the Country Who Believes Marriage Should Be Only Between a Man and a Woman:
What the hell is wrong with you? No, really, I want to know. What is it exactly about gays getting married that actually hurts you? Are you so filled with hate, or xenophobia, or disgust at anal sex, or the mindless blatherings of moron kids at summer camp in 1980 that you can't fucking see straight? Sure, women can vote, you can deal with having a black boss, and you respect the Japanese for making pretty great motorcycles - but you just hate fags, don't you, 69%?
Oh sure, you'll speak of "civil unions" and "giving them some benefits of 'normal' couples" and all, but when it comes down to it, denying same-sex partners the right to call themselves Married is just plain old homophobia. Someone has to define it for what it is, and since I'm not running for a Senate seat, I'll help move this debate along. It's just a simple, boring belief that gays are beneath you and don't deserve it. 69%, I wonder how you sleep at night.
Back in March 2002, we were in Washington D.C. for the evening, and Colin Soloway gave us the gossip running around Newsweek: Bush wanted to invade Iraq. The idea seemed preposterous to us, and we refused to believe it. Surely he was posturing, surely he was just shoring up some conservative base. But no, ten months later, Bush bombed the jehosephat out of Baghdad, and the unthinkable became commonplace.
The same happened this morning. I never believed he'd actually go through with it. I couldn't fathom that he'd actually rewrite the Constitution of the United States to include a clause that specifically discriminates against a certain kind of people. Maybe he knows he can't win, and this is a desperate, cloying move to get the Feverish Right back in his camp. But this comes at the expense of MILLIONS of schoolchildren who look up to the President, a man who is willing to go in front of the country and tell them that homosexuals aren't equal to the rest of us. This kind of damage takes DECADES to undo. All these children will have to be reprogrammed into tolerant creatures.
69%, I would like to show you some pictures. These images were snapped at the exact same moment last weekend when our dear friends Lee and Suzanne got married in San Francisco. The top is Lee and Suzanne, the middle is Chip and me listening at Southpoint Mall in North Carolina, and the bottom is Jason Lyon listening in Los Angeles (note the cell phones in each shot).
This was a moment of joy I wish you could understand. Here's another picture, an outpouring of love for the gals when they got back to Durham:
And these are not freaks, these aren't deviant Sapphic orgiastic child molesters; these are teachers and bike shop owners and students and folks who run ice cream parlors. They are a mix of straights and queers. They are smiling at you - and you, 69%, are telling them to fuck off.
I have no agenda here. I am a straight white male who grew up in a middle-class house in Iowa. I am married to a fairly straight blonde chick from Texas. Granting gay marriages provides nothing for us personally.
I was once like you, maybe. My household was fairly tolerant, but there were the odd comments about fags being bandied about. My high school experience was so sexually shut-down that I could barely fathom heterosexuality. In college, I called Christian Laettner a "fucking homo" just like everyone else. It wasn't until all of my friends in high school came out, and I immersed myself in the artistic scene in New York in the mid-90s, that I understood these things for what they were.
So there may be hope for you, 69%. You might be able to claw your way out of the wet paper sack that holds you hostage. I have no such hope for our President, who has shown himself to be a total asshole. But you might have a second act in you after all. Don't be on the losing side of this. Every 40 years, America changes for the better: 1884 brought the child labor laws; 1924 gave us the first presidential election where women could vote; 1964 had the Civil Rights Act, and now 2004 brings this.
History will brand Bush as a loser, a James Buchanan trying to keep slavery the status quo, a latter-day Dred Scott decision. History views a human rights violation as a virus, and works around it. Keep the big picture in mind, and you'll be surprised at what seems second-nature even a few months later.
Posted by irw at February 24, 2004 11:43 PM
today's Herald Sun piece—click on image for story (thanks, Steve)