Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Sad Irony of Election Day

It’s ironic that on the same day one civil rights group realized victory another was defeated by bigotry, fear, and intolerance.

It’s ironic that on the same day America finally laid to rest its deeply-rooted fears and prejudices as they relate to the color of their neighbor’s skin, millions of Americans in California, Arizona, Florida, and Arkansas voted to legislate discrimination. Disheartening that on the day we elevated an African-American man to the highest office in the country, we allowed the same majority to shit on the civil rights of another minority.

It’s demoralizing that a majority of voters – at least those in California, Arizona, Florida, and Arkansas – still feel that tax-paying GLBT citizens are somehow “less than.”

It’s business as usual in the US of A — same righteous bullies, different minority target. Same bus, just a different group being told to sit in the back.

This “victory” was spearheaded by the National Organization for Marriage, a well-oiled propaganda machine that preyed upon people’s fears and insecurities in the month’s leading up to Tuesday’s election. And while the national eye was on a different ball – the economy, the war in Iraq – this group took full advantage to organize and pass what amounts to legal discrimination based on their thinly-veiled faith-based philosophies and ideologies. The religious definition of marriage is now civil law in California, Arizona, and Florida.

So much for separation of church and state.

Their cause seems predicated on the faith-based idea that inclusion of gay civil marriages somehow erodes the foundation of families and poses harm to children. And while the “The Threat to Marriage” tab on their national website doesn’t say what the actual threat is, their “Why Marriage Matters” tab presents a list of talking points via downloadable PDF documents arranged by religious denomination. Clue #1. The gist of these talking points are unsustainable “facts” that speak to the favorability of children being raised by one mother and one father, yet do not address any specific studies that show children in GLBT households at any kind of disadvantage.

Finally, under the organization’s “Marriage Talking Points” tab, we find out what all the brouhaha is about.

What’s the harm from same-sex marriage? [or] “How can Adam and Steve hurt your marriage?”

A: “Who gets harmed? The people of this state who lose our right to define marriage as the union of husband and wife, that’s who. That is just not right.”

A: “If courts rule that same-sex marriage is a civil right, then, people like you and me who believe children need moms and dads will be treated like bigots and racists.”

A: “Religious groups like Catholic Charities or the Salvation Army may lose their tax exemptions, or be denied the use of parks and other public facilities, unless they endorse gay marriage."

A: “Public schools will teach young children that two men being intimate are just the same as a husband and wife, even when it comes to raising kids.”

A: “When the idea that children need moms and dads get legally stigmatized as bigotry, the job of parents and faith communities trying to transmit a marriage culture to their kids is going to get a lot harder.”

A: “One thing is for sure: The people of this state will lose our right to keep marriage as the union of a husband and wife. That’s not right.”

You’re shaking your heads right now. I’m kidding, right? Not only am I not kidding, millions of Californians, Floridians, and Arizonians bought into this rhetoric. And voted. Love and commitment between two people lost in the name of fear and ignorance.

I can’t even begin to ponder the inanity of the Arkansas vote that bans GLBT couples from adopting or caring for foster children — a vote that clearly says children are better off getting tossed around foster care systems than in a loving home with a committed gay or lesbian couple. One can only hope that there’s some foster kid who was in the middle of being adopted by a gay couple when this piece of legislative garbage got passed who will someday sue the Arkansas government for denying him or her a loving family.

Congratulations, America. You let fear win out even in the midst of your great courage.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow. There are so many logical fallacies in that question and answer section it is ridiculous. I'm a married woman and if "adam and steve" want to get married, that does not harm or affect my marriage at all. Everyone should have the right to marry the person they love.