Monday, June 16, 2008

I now pronounce you as fucked up as all the rest of us

According to NPR, the rights of gays are clashing with “religious liberties.” This is a different story than the rights of women clashing with “religious liberties,” but seeing as how California is only about an hour away from taking a significant leap forward in the history of civilization, let’s talk about how the gays are repressing the god folk today, shall we?

Many businesses, organizations, and churches have discriminated against gay people by taking actions ranging from refusing to perform in-vitro fertilization, to denying them the services of a wedding photographer. Many groups who discriminate against gays are fighting back in court, and if NPR is to be believed, they are not doing so well.

As I heard this story, however, I kept wondering when they were going to get to the part where the god folks were actually being oppressed and stuff. I mean, what is it, exactly, that they are being denied? The right to fuck with people they don’t like? Hell, I don’t get to do that to the extent that I would like either, but you don’t hear me bitching about it.

Unless you know me, in which case you get to hear me bitch about that quite a bit.

In one instance a group called the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Organization, of Ocean Grove, N.J., denied use of an oceanfront pavilion they own, and which is regularly rented out for weddings, to a gay couple wishing to be joined in a civil union. Not even a marriage, people, but one of those goddamn smacking-of-second-class-citizen civil thingamajiggies that no one really knows what they mean. Speaking for the organization, Rev. Scott Hoffman said that "The principle was a strongly held religious belief that a marriage is between a man and a woman. We're not casting any aspersions or making any judgments. It's just, that's where we stand, and we've always stood that way, and that's why we said no."

Hm, well, okay. Except the gay couple that wished to use the pavilion were not trying to silence them about that belief. And they weren’t trying to prevent them from practicing that belief. They were just, you know, not practicing that belief themselves. Because they, you know, don’t subscribe to it.

So it’s interesting to me that this struggle would be defined as one of civil rights vs. religious liberties. Because what’s really being restricted is not their beliefs, but their ability to impose their beliefs upon others.

Remembered I mentioned the wedding photographers that refused to photograph a commitment ceremony, in New Mexico? Here’s the justification offered by one of the owners who was taken to court by the offended couple:

"We wanted to make sure that everything we photographed — everything we used our artistic ability for, everything we told a story for or conveyed a message of — would be in line with our values and our beliefs.”


They’re wedding photographers. Someone lays down a few hundred bucks, they come and take some badly staged pictures, the end. They don’t investigate the couple to make sure they’re not sinners, or that their union is one that would be met with approval by whatever vision of a deity they believe in. Look, I can show you exactly how their client transactions go:

Future Groom: Excuse me, do you take wedding pictures?

Photographers: You got $800?

Future Groom: Yes.

Photographers: Then we take wedding pictures.

Future Groom: Great.

Photographers: Wait, you are getting married to a woman, right?

Future Groom: Oh, yes.

Photographers: Okay then. See you there.

So can we please stop pretending that these kinds of refusals to accommodate gay couples are based on anything other than simple revulsion?

Particularly Christians, who have tossed aside silly Biblical passages forbidding the touching of pigs, planting different crops in adjoining fields, endorsing slavery (although that one took some doing), and forbidding the wearing of one garment made of two kinds of cloth. But for some reason, some of them keep insisting, all evidence to the contrary, that God was serious about the gay thing.

It’s bullshit, pure and simple. It’s fear of sexual inadequacies and/or proclivities masquerading as piety. Those kind of laughably pathetic justifications for discrimination have, over the years, been exposed for what they are when they have been wielded against the Irish, the Italians, African-Americans, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and Arabs, to name just a few. When are we going to admit that refusing to let gay people marry is the same as refusing to let blacks marry whites?

When are we going to grow the fuck up? When are going to, finally, live, and let live?


Anonymous said...

Well said. This time around, instead of "White" and "Colored," people like the wedding photographers in that article are trying to hang up signs saying "Straight" and "Gay." The issue isn't special rights for some, it's equal rights for all.

Dad E said...

I grew up when the words "straight" and "gay" had different meanings that they do today. "Straight" meant you were a true arrow, no nonsense, hard working, and a clear picture of what was the right thing to do. A straight person may also be considered unsophisicated in the worldly ways of city folk. "Gay" was not an especially popular word and was usually used as "having a gay old time", but admitted was not a word a "straight" person, especially a man would want to use much because it had a slightly effeminate sound to it.

The words got redefined. Now how we see the people defined by the words differently. And gradual acceptance of the people gains in the eyes of Americans who believe in the idea, "equal justice for all".

Religious people who believe they are the guardians of moral behaviour excuse all kinds of dubious morality, but when it comes to something they fear they tend to boldly go against "equal justice for all". In so doing, they minimize the American spirit within themselves and refuse to acknowledge their fears. And they become loss souls and less likely to express love and tolerance. In their ignorance they undermine the core of their own religion.

Nice job on this blog!

Some Guy said...

It's fucking maddening. There is no basis - NONE - for their argument other than plain ol' bigotry. Great post, as usual.

Larry Jones said...

>When are we going to grow the fuck up?

Let me think. Hmmmm. Never?

SkylersDad said...

I saw a story about it on the news with the obligatory redneck hick being interviewed about it. He kept stammering on and on about what a "slippery slope" it was "if we start allowin that then who knows what else is gonna happen!"

Yeah, like people starting to get along better and not hating so much?

GETkristiLOVE said...

All my gay friends run off to Canada to get married. They have gay weddings there AND hockey on every station.

Mnmom said...

I'm with you all the way - I just don't get it. With a 51% divorce rate I'd say we heteros are making a mess of marriage quicker than any gay couple can.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Kirby: What's especially heartbreaking for me is that, if news stories are accurate, various minority communities will overwhelmingly vote for the November ballot initiative to amend the CA constitution to ban gay marriage. I keep hoping that people who experience unfair discrimination will recognize it when it happens to other groups, and I keep being disappointed.

DadE: Well said, man! I should be so concise.

Chris: Well, thanks. It just makes me insane when I hear their bigotry being described as "religious liberty." And we let them get away with it. Shame on us, and the media. We should call them on it.

Larry: Someday it won't be a rhetorical question, maybe.

SkyDad: Cats and Dogs, living together! Mass hysteria!

GKL: I dunno, maybe it's too cold there for people to work up too much interest in interfering in other people's lives.

MNMom: I can't believe you are questioning the sanctity of Brittany and K-Fed.

dguzman said...

I love the "We're not casting any aspersions or making any judgments"--NO! of COURSE not! You're just effing telling me you don't want me and my partner anywhere near your pavilion or your camera or your kids or your whole freakin' country. I don't have a problem with religious people--just with hypocrites. And these people, who are merely masquerading as christians yet not truly embodying Christ's values, are hypocrites, pure and simple.

Oh, and assholes--they're assholes too.

Nice post, Vik!

Matt said...

This is something that I have written about too. We keep asking the wrong questions. Everybody keeps asking if we should allow same sex marriages.

The question should be, "What gives us (you, me, the government, etc.) the right to tell someone they can't get married." I can't figure out how we have a right to tell people that.

However, I break with you on the photographer thing. While I find it deplorable, a private business has the right to refuse service if they choose. We don't have the right to tell them that they have to perform there service if they don't want too. We can call the bigots and assholes but we can't make them work.

Peace, love and good happiness stuff.


deadspot said...

I'm in a firm believer in the principle that if I don't believe in your god, you don't get to tell me what to do.

If it's that fucking important, he can get off his ass and tell me himself.