Gay Rights Are Human Rights

My favorite newspaper is The Onion because their satire typically nails truth's core in a manner the "respectable" media simply can't. My favorite article from them was a couple years ago about a husband and wife in Montana that divorced because they felt "threatened" by gay marriage. In their inimitable manner, The Onion illustrated just how asinine the debate over gay marriage truly is. The notion that one can feel "threatened" by gay marriage or equal protection under the law for an entire community is utterly moronic.

Whenever I read or hear about some Christian reactionary protesting the gay community's quest for a basic right such as visitation access to their partner in a hospital, I immediately recall Shakespeare's classic line, "me thinks you doth protest too much." As David Brock exposed in his tell all book several years ago, "Blinded by the Right: The Conscious of An Ex-Conservative," the Republican Party is compromised of many closet homosexuals, who profit from a cottage industry of hate spewing homophobic rhetoric. Much of the Republican Party is financed by efforts to deny homosexuals health benefits, equal protection under the law as workers, and promote a culture of violence against them in the name of God. In the Republican mindset, God only loves members of their constituency and gays are on the outside. Unless of course they conceal their orientation and actively work to promote the conservative cause, as David Brock used to.


While interning at the corporate library of American Express in 2001, I came across one of their internal marketing intelligence reports that illustrate America's hypocrisy regarding gays. American Express noted that contrary to public perception, homosexuals are mainstream contributors of society. Typically well-credentialed and earning incomes commiserate of high skilled professionals. American Express therefore wanted to develop a marketing campaign that appealed to homosexuals to earn their business without offending "middle America." In other words, "we want your money but we don't want to be associated with you." Amex feared the sort of reaction that bedeviled Ford Motor Co. years later when Christian groups organized a boycott of the company for daring to promote themselves in a gay pride magazine.


A contributing factor for American Express's ambivalence is that Democrats have not aggressively and unapologetically advocated for human rights. The time has long past for the Democrats to stop hiding underneath their covers and tell it the way it is. This entire debate needs to be reframed as defending human rights instead of promoting "the gay agenda." Well, once and for all what the hell is the gay agenda? Too many Americans perceive it as an unruly mob riding down their suburban streets on floats, dressed in drag and chanting ,"we're queer, we're here, get used to it!" In reality the so-called "gay agenda" is about human rights and those who oppose human rights in the United States need to be put on the defensive forthwith.


That means the Democrats have to cease their hypocrisy about coveting the gay vote while simultaneously supporting "state's rights." Human rights are universal and too important to be left to the machinations of state and local governments. An example of this was recently reported by a Green activist Alaskan blog called, The Ester Republic. Alaska's state legislature is currently proposing an amendment to their constitution, that would not only ban gay marriage but also not recognize any benefits for heterosexual couples not legally married. So when Democrats declare they're personally for civil unions but willing to defer the issue to states, they're giving carte blanche to state legislatures such as Alaska's to tread upon human rights. How is that any better than states rights advocacy that supported segregationist policies decades ago?


Even worse, deferring the matter to state governments implies there is something inherently wrong with supporting equal protection under the law for millions of gays. The Democrats are conveying a mealy mouthed rationale that isn't fooling anyone: "if you the good people of Kansas or Wisconsin prefer to trample on your fellow citizens feel free. Understand we're going to throw some rhetorical crumbs to the gay community because we're pandering for their votes but you don't need to worry that we support their agenda." Has it worked? On a national level the Democrats continue to be pummeled on values even as there is no practical difference between them and the Republicans on the issue because both parties are deferring to the states.


Yes, the Republicans supported a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on the Federal level but that never had a chance to pass anyway. The real action is taking place on the local level and the trend is disturbing. Once upon a time this country had "slave" states and "free" states and it appears we're headed towards "tolerant" states and "homophobic" states under the law. That is not acceptable. It's wonderful some mayors are presiding over gay marriages while different states have codified civil unions. But suppose your roots are in a community that doesn't provide equal protection under the law? We're supposed to be one country.


My own attitude about this issue evolved over time. I grew up in a suburb that is best described as cookie cutter white bread land. I later attended a small liberal arts college containing a high percentage of homosexuals. Somehow, even at college I remained apathetic about homosexual politics. On an abstract level, I suppose I supported equal protection under the law for gays but on a personal level it had little impact on my life. Indeed, the only extent it mattered to me personally was that lesbians were not eligible for my pursuit! However, after college I became friends with someone I worked with at an employment agency. He described to me his traumatic journey to fit in with mainstream society when he simply wasn't wired that way. Whenever he dated a girl in high school he found the female body unappealing. He grew up in South Carolina and was afraid to reveal his true self. The one impression from him that always remained with me was how he and his partner resembled every other couple I had ever met. When I last saw them they were considering their future plans and very much hoped to adopt children. After meeting them the issue was no longer an abstraction for me.


On a political level, Democratic politicians treat gay issues as part of a grand political conundrum to be finessed. Some Democrats are hoping to replicate the success of politicians on a local level such as Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer and focus solely on meat and potato issues while adopting the cultural mores of a particular region. That only works for so long however. The Republicans will always engage the values debate on a national level and the Democrats will never outflank them on the right. Nor should they try. Straddling the center is transparent on a moral issue such as human rights and can't be finessed. It certainly didn't work for John Kerry in 2004 who boasted that his position on gay marriage matched that of Vice President Cheney's.


I'm pragmatic. I accept that Democrats have to move to the cultural center on issues such as guns and religion in public life. On human rights however the Democrats need to learn that strength stems from authenticity. The party will win more respect if it doesn't back down and unequivocally states that human rights are universal and not to be trampled upon in state capitals. Equal protection under the law on the Federal level for gays should be the unequivocal position of Democrats seeking higher office. Such a posture will demonstrate toughness and show that Democrats are a party one can count on in a foxhole. When attacked for supporting the "gay agenda," the response is easy: "I support human rights. Why don't you?" Anything less is immoral.


Intrepid Liberal Journal

Tags: Alaska, American Express, Brian Schweitzer, Gay Marriage, gay rights, Intrepid Liberal Journal, John Kerry, kansas, Montana, The Ester Republic, The Onion, Wisconsin (all tags)

Comments

15 Comments

Tip Jar ...

This is important and whether you're gay or straight we can't be silent any longer.

by Intrepid Liberal Journal 2006-03-09 02:48PM | 0 recs
Largely correct/ My thoughts

A man and his wife were having an argument about who should brew the coffee each morning.

 The wife said, "You should do it, because you get up first, and then we don't have to wait as long to get our coffee."

 The husband said, " You are in charge of cooking around here and you should do it, because that is your job, and I can just wait for my coffee."

 Wife replied, "No, you should do it, and besides, it is in the Bible that the man should do the coffee."

 Husband replied, "I can't believe that, show me."

 So she fetched the Bible, and opened the New Testament and showed him at the top of several pages, that it indeed says...

"HEBREWS"

--

You're digging into the onion's back page. What happened to the cover:

Gays Seek the Right to have Marital Squabbles

--

Here's my thought. In the early days of America, marriage was much more informal.  A cleric might be walking down the road, and knowning that Elisabeth and John, are still walking hand in hand, the cleric would say - "John, do you persist in calling this woman, Elisabeth, to be your  bride?" .. to which, he might smile and say "I do."  - this would be the marriage ceremony, he would smile and record the license for the happy couple.

That said, it was the power of the community and the church at play. And that is why Gay marriage is a non-starter issue for National Politics.

Suppose Ben Franklin, ever the devil's advocate, decided to discuss such forms of marriage  - as a constitutional amendment - what absurdity - he would be laughed out of freedom hall.

The activist who would equate so serious a thought as civil rights, such as not being beaten horribly because you're black, or being able to ride the same bus as white people --- with an obvious form of social activism such as two , gathered in matrimony to become a childless, barren couple -
does not find difficulty in expressing his or her views about war, either. They are opposed vehemently. Because the image of themselves, is such that they so worship it - in not only their mate, but in so many things - that they cannot sever their connection with the body long enough to let it loose its grip upon the world in defense of liberty upon stopping a bullet from Al Qaeda.
They are vocal.  Almost to the point of deafening.

San Francisco is the most beautiful city I can imagine right now, built by such people. But in the end, everything we do will fall to ruin.. all the governmental institutions, and politics, will be laid to waste... the church will stand. And the living memory of the people will survive, perhaps as another bible...

And in that record as well, a huge stigma will be attached to the type of behavior that kills off our own race.

by turnerbroadcasting 2006-03-09 04:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Largely correct/ My thoughts

I love your coffee anecdote.

by Intrepid Liberal Journal 2006-03-09 04:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Gay Rights Are Human Rights
I be gay, I have what I call a partner, we're not legally married.....
and we have the equivalant of marital squabbles including about making coffee
by paxpax 2006-03-09 04:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Gay Rights Are Human Rights

That says it all. Gay or straight, we all fight about the coffee. Thanks for the recommend. So far, you're the only one.

by Intrepid Liberal Journal 2006-03-09 04:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Gay Rights Are Human Rights

Its funny you know, to see what kind of reception I've gotten in the gay community. This is a community that to my mind has done a lot of good.

And still, there's this stigma here in Atlanta that I'm somehow opposed to them. I was accused of one of the offices of Ga. for Dean of being paranoid of gay people.

Whenever I see a cool, clear sunny day I think of San Francisco. There are so many beautiful people there, its a wonderful thought to believe that I'm opposed but in reality I'm only just calling a spade, a spade.

And if we really want to look at the parallels for behavior that kills off the species, lets look at AIDS. Most of aids cases come from straight people. I hate all forms of disease.

I don't so much pin my hopes for the planet on the human race as a species, as I do, whether or not we will all be killed off by some germ or virus somewhere.

Go and read "Guns, Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond.  He did a good job summing it up.

I'm more or less focussed on the other stuff right now, and gay marriage was just a dog issue for me, and still is. I don't think the author of this post is wrong in taking an evangelical stance to it, but for me, if you really want to get married - get married by God.

The whole idea that we live here on this planet in control of our own fate is a carefully manufactured farce by those who would have us forget history. Gays have been around for thousands of years, probably ever since the beginning of human history.  My own ancestor even impregnated a princess who by death of her king, became the start of a bloodline usurped because her prince was gay.

What could you possibly have against gay people? You're better off, in my view - asking what you might have against the common cold, because that thing might just one day turn into a deadly strain and the entire world - there would be no government, no church - no one there to tell you , you weren't married - how would you marry, then?

Would you really need society to pat you on the back and say .. "Its ok".. ?

A big MAZELTOV! to everyone!!

by turnerbroadcasting 2006-03-10 08:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Gay Rights Are Human Rights

i recommended too--unfortunately, you may not get too many--people don't want it brought up at all, even though the GOP is already using it in their campaigns--see this hateful thing

We're supposed to just be quiet and support those who don't speak for us at all--it's sad.

by amberglow 2006-03-09 09:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Gay Rights Are Human Rights

Wow! That is a hateful link. People, Democrats especially need to put aside their timidity and stand up for human rights once and for all.

by Intrepid Liberal Journal 2006-03-10 01:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Gay Rights Are Human Rights

Hurrah for this diary. As you said, what the Dems don't seem to get is that they are getting pilloried on this issue regardless of what they say. I think it's because people know that most Dems aren't homophobes and have always been among the strongest defenders of human rights. The "finesse" clearly isn't working, so why not be on the right side of an issue of justice?

As a lesbian, I'm very tired of being told that I am a big reason why Democrats aren't winning. Democrats aren't winning because people have absorbed the fact that Dems aren't being honest about what they believe. It's so damn obvious. Instead of attempting to reflect the biases strengthened by the Repub noise machine, it's time for Dems to lead and persuade on this issue and others that have always been the core of Party values.

Dems can run, but they can't hide from this issue.

by barbwire 2006-03-10 06:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Gay Rights Are Human Rights

Well said. I especially liked,

"It's so damn obvious. Instead of attempting to reflect the biases strengthened by the Repub noise machine, it's time for Dems to lead and persuade on this issue and others that have always been the core of Party values."

by Intrepid Liberal Journal 2006-03-10 06:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Gay Rights Are Human Rights

All of this is based on supporting the GOP fantasy that gays are automatically liberals, and democrats endlessly parroting that talking point.

So how about outing all the well-known gays in the White House ? Jeff Gannon wasn't there to be the pool boy, he was seeing his gay friends.

Time to let the air out of the GOP fantasies rather than fruitlessly try to change the minds of millions of voters, especially the senior citizens. Trying to micromanage peoples opinions and emotions is just so flaming codependent. Instead give them some facts that force them to adjust thier world view

by bernardpliers 2006-03-10 08:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Gay Rights Are Human Rights

technically all they are doing , is phonotactic substition. The quickly replace the word, just as the people who coined the term 'gay' to be 'homosexual'. Its a TV approach. Repeat it over and over again.

Too bad the GOP has all their money bound up in paying people to tell them to think otherwise, hmm.?

by turnerbroadcasting 2006-03-10 08:57AM | 0 recs
by amberglow 2006-03-10 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Gay Rights Are Human Rights

basically, we're the canaries in the coalmine, and from their success with anti-gay shit, they're broadening out to women's rights. Next comes birth control (already starting, with pharmacist laws, and the plan B stuff) and then divorce (just starting now), and schools (also already starting in some states).

Every little success they have emboldens them to go further.

by amberglow 2006-03-10 11:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Gay Rights Are Human Rights

by amberglow 2006-03-10 11:56AM | 0 recs

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