Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Punchy thoughts about how religious nuttery effects the gay rights movement

With yet another Republican gay sex scandal I thought this would be an appropriate time to address something that irks me. Specifically, the lack of same sex benefits and legal discrimination against gays and lesbians.

One way or another, we live in a time in which it is completely legal to fire someone from their job solely because of their sexual orientation. We have laws preventing similar actions based on age, gender, race, and religion, but when it comes to sexual orientation, we give a blank check to all the discriminating f*cks in the world to do whatever they want.

Let’s think about this.

It’s ok to discriminate against someone for an immutable characteristic that they are born with but we can’t discriminate against someone who chooses to be a Baptist? I’m playing the devil’s advocate here since I don’t believe in discrimination in any capacity, but doesn’t that twisted sense of logic just seem flat out wrong?

The anti-gay, religious zealot community of America staunchly believes that being gay is a choice. They have obviously never read a scientific study that they couldn’t indict with “word of God” (i.e. Old Testament) nor have they ever encountered or spoken with a gay man. If they had ever interacted with a gay man they would understand that it’s clearly not a choice because no one would choose to put up with the discrimination and disgust that the Falwell and Dobson led zealotry invokes (something for which both of those self-serving f*cks will be spending a good bit of time chatting in a very warm place with a very unfriendly fellow in the near future – oops, Falwell is already there).

At any rate, let’s just assume for a moment that being gay is a choice. How then can one explain how another choice, religion, is protected under the law but this “choice” is not? Simply, religious nutwings have never needed consistency because they simply do not care about earthly nuances or nuisances like the equal protection under the law or the rule of law in general (see: bombings, abortion clinics).

So, the question we have to ask ourselves as a nation is, are we going to be held hostage by the Old Testament? Are we going to allow religious zealotry, bigotry even to control our politics, to legalize and formalize discrimination against unfavorable groups? And, after the gays, what will be next? The adulterers? The alcoholics? The gamblers?

I really think anyone with a conscience would agree that making employment discrimination against gays and lesbians illegal reach a minimal standard of decency.

The issue of same-sex benefits is a bit more complex but ultimately just as much of a disgrace, especially when you consider that a non-married straight couple that live together for a period of time (2 years give or take) essentially receive partner benefits under the eyes of the law.

Imagine this scenario: The person you love, that you have lived with for 5 years, but have never married comes down with cancer. They have to have surgery. You accompany them through every step of the process – the initial consult, the chemo, etc. You are there with them prior to the surgery giving your support and love. Then, after the surgery, after you’ve been waiting for hours, the doctor informs you that legally he can’t tell you what happened because “you’re not family”. Say what? If that happened to a straight couple, the doctor would not even blink an eye. He would just share the news. But when it’s a gay couple…

This is only one example. But the truth is gay couples need legal same sex benefits just as much as straight couples. These benefits are privileges that society has bestowed on the legally, socially, and religiously accepted mores of our age. The denial of those privileges to gay couples is just another form of discrimination.

Look, I don’t think I’m being particularly eloquent or groundbreaking here. It’s not only not my fight; it’s not something I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about. But, I do think that “moral” (or ethical) decisions require that we treat people as equals, even if their lives are radically distinct for what we consider “normal”. I, for one, find the life of an Evangelical zealot or a Catholic priest to be particularly abnormal but that doesn’t mean I want to discriminate against them. Nor do I want to smite adulterers or gamblers or other sinners.

Ultimately, society has to overthrow the evangelicalism and nuttery that has corroded our country. The gay rights issue is just one battlefront on that war. But, I’m pleased to see more of these outrageous f*cksticks getting outed as hypocrites – either as adulterers, drug abusers, or closeted gays. They made this the issue of the day. They deserve to be publicly flogged for it.

American history is littered with the filth of discrimination, racism, sexism. Struggles to correct these wrongs were long and arduous. But eventually, right prevailed and equality was legally established if not fully embraced in society. Along the way there was violence (specifically against blacks), separate but equal, and a denial of basic dignity along with equal rights. The anti-gay movement is no different from previous despicable movements. It will be conquered eventually. Inch by inch, we can propel true equality with our words and deeds. Let’s “fix the glitch” and evict this particular breed of insanity from American politics. Religion belongs in the church – not in the law. But don’t take my word for it. Go ask that guy Jefferson.



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