Saturday, October 21, 2006

I have had the question come up many times in my arguments on gay equality issues as to whether those opposed to something like gay-marriage are bigots. It's a good question. Really I think it depends, in some cases I'd definitely say yes, but in many cases I'd say probably not.

I think the ban on gay-marriage — marriage being defined only as heterosexual unions — is discriminatory, unreasonable, and bigoted. I think some of those who support such legislation truly are bigots, they are full of intolerance, they believe in and promote unfair stereotypes, they hold gays in contempt. Then there are some who are not bigoted, they are just misinformed. They have been frightened by anti-gay propaganda into believing there is this menacing gay agenda that seeks to force immorality on society, on children. Perhaps they haven't known gay people themselves so they don't really know what to expect. They know gays only through the caricatures that society has made of them, and those caricatures are scary, weird — definitely not 'normal'.

Again, these people are not necessarily bigots, just uninformed to certain truths about how gays live and what the majority of them hope to achieve in their lives. I think the disconnect comes in when people who believe marriage is under assault and needs to be protected don't realize that this sort of thinking would have to establish homosexuals as tainted, perverted, immoral, dangerous in some way. Those who believe such things are bigots but those who don't aren't so much. The problem is, even though they may not believe that homosexuals are all dysfunctional & perverse, the ideology they support — marriage must be heterosexually exclusive — does promote that very intolerant & hateful notion.

I don't think a person can support tolerance of gays, or notions of gay equality and also support a ban on gay-marriage. The two are completely incompatible. Those who claim to be supportive of gays but also support anti-gay marriage legislation are giving a hollow support to homosexuals and gay-equality in general.

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