As a gay man and someone who has been involved in community activism for a number of years I am concerned and even somewhat scared of what I've seen over the past few weeks. From the fight in California to the fight in Florida and the defeats in both places as well as Arizona and Arkansas, from the perplexing and needless so-called "outrage" over Rick Warren to the gibberish from Pat Boone.
It seems, as if we, The Gay Community, have lost our focus to a great extent. I can only attribute much of it to having realized that we, in part, dropped the ball on the election day initiatives and now we're trying to start a fight every where we can to show that we're still strong.
Then again maybe it's none of that and I'm just flat out wrong. But here's what I've witnessed. In Florida, as in California, we went from a strong offense to a weak, tepid even, defense. Once the religious fanatics latched on to the "they're going to teach your children to be gay" in California, the community lost ground on the equality issue, the TRUE issue and never got it back. Instead the community tried to combat with star power and ads that never really got people's attention.
Here in Florida it was even worse. Our defense here was to try and speak to heterosexuals, seniors in particular, and say "you won't be able to live together with your partner either! They're taking away your rights too!" This of course based on the premise that seniors especially live together without the benefit of marriage because of financial reasons.The problem with that was many of them didn't care or didn't get it.
That was mainly because most of them got what we didn't, marriage is not a right, it is a benefit to be sure, but show me in the bill of rights where marriage is stated, please.
That said, it is, without a doubt a blatant display of discrimination to be denied a benefit that the majority of our society enjoys because of gender and sexual orientation. And that's what the argument needs to be. When it isn't, the protestations simply goes off the rails and you can't get it back.
Taking the high ground, while nice and good and all those other things we aspire to be, isn't always the way to go. And for an example of that, all we have to do is look at the religious fanatics, that bastion of society, that holier than thou group of individuals that have mastered the art of obfuscation better than anyone else. I mean really, "they're going to teach homosexuality in schools to our children!"??
Stop and ask yourself why they went that route and why it was so effective. The answers are simple, because many voters opt for ignorance and vote based on their fears.
I just read an op-ed piece in the Dallas Morning News where the writer acknowledges that there are childless marriages and there are alternate, or artificial, methods of having children but that the main reason for marriage is procreation and that's the nature of it no matter what. So in other words she was saying, while you can care for a child and love a child and raise that child to be the best human being in the world and maybe that child came out of a test tube, if you can't naturally procreate you shouldn't be married.
Does this sound reasonable to you? Does this sound like an argument against gay marriage that a rational person would grasp? Or does this sound like someone who's virtually breaking her arm trying to reach for some shred of sanity in order to support a near indefensible position, and losing badly?
Gay adoption is another glorious mess they try to lay at our feet. Here in Florida many courts and judges have said there's no reason why same sex couples can't adopt. Studies have shown that children are well loved and cared for but the law here would allow a homosexual to be a foster parent but not a full time legal one.
So again we have a portion of society, in this case the government, crying and shouting that they need to cut costs and that funding for many programs, such as child services, will be getting slashed. But rather than re-examine the law and maybe even amend it in order to relieve an overburdened system, it's better to continue discriminating against law abiding, tax paying homosexuals.
These are the things we need to speak out against and educate the people on. We don't need to thump our chests in pseudo-righteous indignation crying about some gay hating pastor giving a prayer. We're not going to change him and we're not going to be able to stop him. In that situation all we're going to do is piss off people who up to now, may not have joined or supported us, but they haven't shut us down either.
This is what I love about Join The Impact. They're a grassroots organization that is marshalling whatever resources they can and getting people motivated. They organized the rallies across the country after election day and they did it again this Saturday, January 10th in a protest against the so called "Defense Of Marriage Act". They're speaking to what needs to be done. DOMA had no business being passed. Government has no business defining marriage nor telling tax paying citizens they can't get married. So let's remove it and have a real debate and focus on the issue.
Go to Jointheimpact.com and see what you can do and how you can help, please. We don't have a lot of political currency and the recent losses have reduced what we did have. So let's focus on the things we can truly change, people's perceptions.
Get out there and be a part of your community and let them see who we are. No, I'm not saying we should strive for assimilation to the point that we not only lose who we are but then become what we hate and look down on others living their lives out and proud.