Sunday, June 19, 2005

Halloween Early for Antis

A scary and insightful cover story in today's New York Times Magazine deserves wide reading by all concerned with same-sex marriage. The piece What's Their Real Problem with Gay Marriage? (It's the Gay Part) by Russell Shorto.

Note: This is free and in HTML, but you need to register to see it. If you don't grab it in the next week, you'll have to pay to read it online.

It's not about fairness or compassion or equality or civil rights or reasoning or freedom. It's about the queers.

The anti-same-sex-marriage folk Shorto follows and interviews slice it this way and that. In the end, they will do whatever they can to prevent any semblance of equal rights for gay couples -- no medical visitation, no marriage, no tax breaks, no civil union, no, no, no. They delude themselves and accept glaring lies based on dishonest articles from their leaders. There are a lot of them (a loose affiliation of 60 million from 61 organizations) and they deal in self-righteousness not righteousness.

This piece is not a hatchet job and I suspect the subjects will read it feeling pretty smug. They may momentarily cringe when he calls them on the baseless studies they use, but they can pretend he's either ignorant or damned or both.

Shorto features the Arlington Group and how widely it separates itself from an America of tolerance and freedom. He notes how one of its leaders (Gary Bauer, American Values) revels in same-sex marriage as the new abortion. That is:
(C)onservatives see gay marriage as a culture-altering change being implemented by judicial fiat. But gay marriage is also the new abortion in that it is for groups like Bauer's a base-energizing and fund-raising issue of tremendous power.
While that's not news, the power of the article is how these folk reason away their hate.
Rather, their passion comes from their conviction that homosexuality is a sin, is immoral, harms children and spreads disease. Not only that, but they see homosexuality itself as a kind of disease, one that afflicts not only individuals but also society at large and that shares one of the prominent features of a disease: it seeks to spread itself.
It is scary stuff indeed, as he profiles Maryland hausfrau Laura Clark. Her current guerilla tasks involve locating Internet stories to back up the anti-gay campaign and email to the eager minions.

There are also some powerful statements from the "men of God." One is Laura's pastor, Brian Racer. Part of his reasoning is what appears in various forms from the antis.
''The Hebrew words for male and female are actually the words for the male and female genital parts,'' he told me. ''The male is the piercer; the female is the pierced. That is the way God designed it. It's unfortunate that homosexuals have taken the moniker 'gay,' because their lifestyle and its consequences are anything but. Look what has happened in the decades since the sexual revolution and acceptance of the gay lifestyle as normal. Viruses have mutated. S.T.D.'s have spread. It shows that when we try to change the natural course of things, what comes out of that is not joy or gayness.''
In that compact quote, you see this world in all of its slimy glory.

Shorto identifies major sources from the twisted or outright lying truths as these groups pass around to each other. The worst may by Hoover Institute research fellow Stanley Kurtz. For example, he takes Danish studies of young, gay, single men and says their behavior is that of same-sex married couples.

Worst perhaps is how the anti folk justify their efforts to prevent homosexuals from getting fair treatment and take away any gains so far. The core of the argument is that gay is a lifestyle only.
But, of course, the Christian activists aren't vague in their opposition. For them, the issue isn't one of civil rights, because the term implies something inherent in the individual -- being black, say, or a woman -- and they deny that homosexuality is inherent. It can't be, because that would mean God had created some people who are damned from birth, morally blackened. This really is the inescapable root of the whole issue, the key to understanding those working against gay marriage as well as the engine driving their vehicle in the larger culture war: the commitment, on the part of a growing number of people, to a variety of religious belief that is so thoroughgoing it permeates every facet of life and thought, that rejects the secular, pluralistic grounding of society and that answers all questions internally.
For those Baby Boomers among us who grew up with the idea of a free America that shares rights with all in an ever expanding embrace of liberty, these folk are aliens and monsters. We also heard and believed that we were supposed to be stronger and better as a nation than the bigoted and narrow nations who restricted their people. Democracy was supposed to be sharing freedom and rights.

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