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Thursday, May 28, 2009

27. What's In A Name?

Tuesday, the California Supreme Court actually lived up to their role in government, well, at least six of the seven justices did. Instead of legislating from the bench, they ruled in favor of the majority of Californians who passed Proposition 8, the proposition which bans gay marriage. In their summary, they sent the measure back to the people. If gay marriage is to become law, they said, it must be the residents of California who approve the measure.

Bravo. It’s about time.

But this puts the gay community in a very awkward situation. For their future proposition to pass, they must now somehow convince the same people they have been demonizing in the past to vote for their measure in the future. Since the passage of Prop 8, here is a sampling of what I have seen on television from the pro-gay marriage crowd:

1. Near-rioting in front of the Mormon Temple in Los Angeles. The Mormon church has been a frequent target of anti-Prop 8 activists. But demographically, the churches most responsible for the passage of Prop 8 are the black churches and Latino Catholic churches.

2. During an anti-Prop 8 demonstration in Palm Springs, a small, elderly woman entered the crowd carrying a cross. A demonstrator wrestled the cross out of her hands, threw it on the ground and stomped on it.

3. Tom Hanks calling those who supported Prop 8 “un-American.” Although he later apologized, it’s pretty difficult putting that comment back in a can where it should have remained.

4. In San Francisco, during a Catholic mass, several drag queens dressed as nuns, entered the church and approached the altar to take communion. Again, this was a protest against the churches position on gay marriage, but it desecrated the altar and the sacrament and certainly won no converts to their cause.

5. Anti-Prop 8 groups calling anyone who disagrees with their position as “homophobes” and “hate-mongers.”

It is fascinating to me that anyone in the gay community would think that these actions would rally support for their cause. In fact, it has the opposite effect by polarizing and empowering those who oppose gay marriage. I would think that even Mormons who might have been sympathetic or even voted against Prop 8 now may change their mind after the near rioting outside of their temple.

Fred Phelps, a minister in Topeka, Kansas campaigns heavily against the gay community with his “God Hates Fags” website and organized protests. He is a vile, repulsive man. The gay community, understandably, denounces Fred and his disgusting demonstrations, yet they take his same approach by attacking those with whom they disagree. Is Fred winning over converts with his disgusting antics? If not, why does the gay community feel that it will work for them?

The gay community and its supporters claim this issue is about “rights.” It isn’t though, it’s merely about a word and that word is “marriage.” They could easily have the same rights as long as they use a word or phrase other than “marriage.” Calling it “domestic partnership” or “life partnership” would make all the difference. Polls within California have repeatedly shown that the vast majority of voters are sympathetic and would vote for such a measure. But once the proposition invokes “marriage” the attitudes of voters change. Their position is understandable since marriage has strong religious meanings, especially for Catholics and Mormons.

But this really isn’t about rights or even fairness, it is about money and political power. By keeping your group victimized and agitated you also keep them organized. As long as this remains a hot political issue, money will continue to flow into the Human Rights Campaign and other pro-gay marriage organizations. Take away the hot-button topic and you lose your financial support.

Respecting the beliefs of others and working toward a reasonable compromise is clearly not part of this movement. It is all or nothing. It has been decided that nothing short of “marriage” will suffice. So, more money, more anger, more protests, more victimization, more demonization and more finger pointing are ahead for California and the rest of the country.

What a waste.

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