I’m Guilty as Hell

I could not be more embarrassed, disappointed, and angry that my home-state of North Carolina decided to ADD discrimination and bigotry to our State Constitution.  I’ll ignore the politics of putting a state constitutional amendment on a primary ballot, in effect guarantying a low voter turnout and making such a significant change easier to affect.  I’ll ignore it because I suspect that the outcome would’ve been the same during the November election.  But wouldn’t it be nice if the seekers of such significant changes would seek out a higher level of participation, not lower?  Cowards.

What I am wondering is why we don’t just ban marriage to any and all non-Christians?  Why are we beating around the burning bush on this issue? I am not implying that homosexuals cannot be Christians or denying that many in fact are Christians.  But there is no secular reason for this restriction and if the restriction is based on religion, then it violates the separation of church and state.  People cannot force their religious beliefs on others.  They shouldn’t even want to.  Is “forced faith” even possible?

Marriage is a legal contract between two adult citizens that has absolutely nothing to do with any organized religion. People of differing religious beliefs can legally marry.    Atheists can marry.  Pagans can get married.  In some states, with parental consent and a judicial waiver, even children as young as 13 are allowed to marry.  Read that last one again.  Wow.

So how are we possibly justifying limiting consenting adult homosexuals’ access to this legal institution?

Easy.  Because some Christians call homosexuality an abomination and some non-Christian intolerants just think it’s gross.  Therefore they have decided that because of their own personal beliefs, homosexuals are not allowed the freedoms allowed to all other citizens, both believers and non-believers.  It is indefensible. 

I know, that the bible says “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” (Lev 18:22).  But it also says “And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.”  (Lev 20:10).  No one is trying to put adulterers to death, so we clearly accept that our government laws are not required to align with the bible’s instruction.  I’m glad we got that cleared up.

No one’s superstition or prejudices should be allowed to limit the freedoms of another person.  Homosexuality poses absolutely no threat to anyone in this country.  It really is that simple. 

People can talk about the sanctity of marriage, but we all know that heterosexuals, including some good god-fearing politicians that support this discrimination, ruined whatever sanctity there was in marriage a long time ago.  And if allowing homosexuals to marry somehow sullies your own marriage, then there was a serious weakness in that union to begin with.  In reality (whether people choose to live in it or not), allowing gay marriage will have absolutely no affect on heterosexual marriage.

People will talk about the negative effects on the children of gay parents, but it could be argued that society’s open discrimination is more the cause of trauma than the loving union at home.  Not to mention that the lack of conclusive evidence of these negative effects.  Some recent studies have indicated that children with lesbian and gay parents show more empathy for social diversity.  And we all know how negatively viewed empathy is these day. 

Stop being assholes to my friends.  They have asked for nothing but the exact same rights and freedoms that every other citizen takes for granted.  They should’ve never had to ask for it.  We should be ashamed that they have to fight so hard for it now.  I know I am.

This ban will not stand the test of time.  Even the N.C. State Speaker of the House, Thom Tillis said “I think it will be repealed in 20 years.”  But at some point the federal government will legalize gay marriage for all citizens.  And when it finally does, all of the “liberty defenders” out there that sat silent during this and the other twenty-nine states’ attack on the freedoms of homosexual will all start to cry about state’s rights.  Bullshit!  So far, thirty states have gotten this one dead wrong.  There is no way to defend such clear discrimination towards innocent and nonthreatening American citizens.  It is bigotry.

Bigotry is the state of mind of a “bigot” a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one who exhibits intolerance or animosity toward members of a group.  (wikipedia)          

Bigotry:  noun, 1. Stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own.  2.  The actions, beliefs, prejudices, etc., of a bigot. (dictionary.com)

And I’m guilty as hell.  I am completely intolerant of bigots.

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11 responses to “I’m Guilty as Hell

  1. I don’t like the amendment. I like the intolerance coming from both sides even less. I read Senator Lugers concession speech today and I think it sums it all up pretty well. People aren’t talking and listening, they are transmitting at a level “11” and then turning off the receiver. I’m against career politicians, but I think there is something very troubling about his speech and I’ve heard it repeated by other, older, and more influential leaders in this country. Nobody is listening to the other side anymore, and this country didn’t get to where we are without compromise. Politics is the art of the possible precisely because neither side gets exactly what they want, but at least they get something.

    To call the majority that turned out and voted for the Amendment “ignorant”, “bigots”, or any other derogatory term is a gross mischaracterization. They are well educated….your neighbors, teachers, doctors, lawyers, stay at home moms, military….you name it. They are us, we are they….and “we” don’t always think alike. Your vote doesn’t count any more than theirs and trying to be the one that shouts the loudest doesn’t make you the most important or well informed person in the room. Respect the oppositions belief and then figure out what the issue really was and turn your opposition into your base. America writ large, especially the south, is not as ready for Gay Marriage as those with megaphones want to believe. I’m sorry you don’t see it, but it’s been in our face for years. I find it very interesting that Democrats could possibly be surprised by this when we saw something like this in California in 2008 and the political pundants pointed out that (in this example) the same voters that carried President Obama to office defeated the idea of Gay Marriage (realize there are some differences here).

    My personal belief is that the proponents of Gay Rights keep packaging this deal the wrong way. Take Marriage out of the conversation for now. You gotta walk before you can crawl. You have to get at the Legal red tape associated with Partners in some other way that isn’t as polarizing. But, until the National Government weighs in on this (and I’m sorry, for me this is not more important than Wall Street reform…the President already had to push this one off in favor of health care reform in his first term) you have to respect the States rights to decide this.

    In the meantime you should be dissapointed, but belittling the other side doesn’t move anyone forward…it’s just more shouting past your opponent. In my humble opinion (and I don’t think you are a resident either so forgive my implying that above…just sounds better for an argument).

    One more point on political process that always amazes me…the 5 protected classes that we have today we’re originally supposed to be 4. The 5th, sex, was actually an 11th hour addition in the hopes that protecting women would kill the bill. Makes you wonder how long it would have taken…think it was 1967….before the nation would have come back and mustered up the political will to get that 5th class. But it passed and at least it was a start.

    • What can I say? I can’t respect discrimination. And I can’t feel guilty for calling people that support discrimination bigots either. Tell me how they’re not, and I’ll try to think about it differently. My receiver is not off. But I cannot for the life of me find a reason to discriminate against homosexuals. I will listen to any that you can provide. I already respect the opposition on this issue more than they disserve because I’m not campaigning to limit their freedoms in any way. No one is. And I refuse to pity the aggressor as if they are the victim.

      I think that the biggest mischaracterization might be saying that the majority turned out at all. If I’m not mistaken only about 2 million people voted. That means that roughly 20 percent of the state participated in this decision. With no democratic primary to decide, it’s fairly safe to say that the democratic participation was low. With the republican primary essentially decided, even that turnout was certainly lower. And at least one of my “well educated neighbors” at the polls didn’t even know whether she was registered as a republican, democrat, independent, or libertarian. That’s just excellent. I’m glad her voice was heard. I just wish more had been. But I’m sure that’s why it was put on a primary ballot instead of the November ballot when the likelihood of a higher participation would have made the outcome less certain.
      I was disappointed in Luger being beaten by another Tea Party candidate guaranteed not to cooperate. I have mentioned before that I think that the aversion to compromise is easily the most dangerous trend in current government. But how do you compromise with clear discrimination? It’s 2012. In what year should I be allowed to expect this country to be walking? We’re too old to still be crawling on civil rights issues. And it appears some people want us crawling backwards.

      I agree that Wall Street reform is a more important national issue right now, and the President was correct to push homosexual equality aside in favor of health care reform and economic policy. He probably wouldn’t have had to weigh in on it now if North Carolina hadn’t have made national news as the most recent state passing an unnecessary amendment reinforcing something already illegal in that state. I believe that is part of the motivation of the states doing these things. The state governments are becoming more and more radicalized on social issues in an attempt to force them into the national debate. States pass more and more aggressive (often intentionally unconstitutional) laws complicating a women’s access to legal abortions, in an attempt to get those laws appealed to the Supreme Court while it’s still considered a conservative court. They’re passing more and more discriminatory legislation against homosexuals in a similar motivation to get an Amendment to the U.S. constitution. We’re too old to still be seeking out ways to hate each other. As you said, we are they, and they are we. And Tuesday 20% of the constituents of North Carolina adopted a constitutional amendment to discriminate against some of our neighbors, teachers, doctors, lawyers, stay at home moms, and military personnel. It offends me. I don’t know how it doesn’t offend everyone, if we really are they, and they really are we.

      I can tell that my opinions in this post disappointed you, and I’m sorry about that. But you didn’t share any reasoning for this discrimination. You simply said that the people outraged by it are just too loud and angrily impatient in waiting for change on his issue. As a country are we really so slow to learn that we can’t figure out that hating homosexuals is wrong? Gay marriage is already illegal in the state. The legislators in the state know these things won’t last. They know they’re on the wrong side. They know that as more and more young people reach voting age that the irrational fear of homosexuals will lose voter support. They just won’t accept it. They’re the people with the receivers turned off.

      My gay friends and neighbors have waited long enough to be treated like equal citizens. And now waiting isn’t enough. Aggressors want to codify and document the continued refusal of those equal rights. I’m ashamed. And I see no benefit to being quiet about it.

      Thanks as always for your thoughts. I really appreciate them. Next time you’re in this neck of the woods, we should grab a beer and talk about less important things.

  2. Maybe I’m missing something on the voter turnout, but looking at the NC Board of Elections statistics for the last 4 years, it looked like voter turnout wasn’t greatly different than in other elections. Again, I didn’t dig too deep, just a quick review. The timing certainly seems off considering there is a general election this year. Not knowing the process as well as I should I can only speculate. Makes me wonder if the opposition had any part to play…if it was held in the general election the result would have been the same only this time my guess is by a wider margin because the African American vote would have been larger and they traditionally vote against the issue.

    Maybe there is a subtlety that I think should be obvious that I think nationwide keeps getting lost. It’s easy to say that it’s discrimination and bigotry because it makes those that were against the amendment seem evil, bad, or misguided. Its easier to say that the Gay Rights movement wants to turn the institution of marriage into a mockery…that the American family will be torn apart and our kids will all now be Gay too because it paints a comfortable target and makes us feel better about not liking them. For me, the truth is none of the above. I think that Amendments like North Carolina get proposed precisely because the voters aren’t being listened to and when enough courts and legislatiors pass laws that sour the minds of the citizens, the results are usually radical. We see examples of it worldwide and throughout history. The media outlets love extreme debates, it’s easier to pick sides.

    The amendment is discriminatory and reactionary. Some of the voters are undoubtedly against any form of gay rights. I don’t think that one necessarily means the other. The word that is losing these battles for the Gay Community is marriage. Drop that word and this is a different issue. If they want to win, scale back the goals. You know what I do for a living, I see it as a tactical loss to win a strategic victory since I do not believe Gay Marriage will pass. Civil Unions on a National stage…yes, I think that can pass.

    The part about disappointment is a little off. Your blog. Your rules. If you disagree with my thoughts you can delete the post and it wouldn’t hurt my feelings. I can’t convince you that the people who voted for this do not all fit into the category of discriminatory. I’m not going to really try because we have different experiences. I have worked with many people that would have run into the jaws of death to save an individual that was clearly gay…would stand up with an awful lot of the things that community ultimately wants (legal access to their partners in the same manner heterosexuals enjoy and the same benefits associated with marriage), but the second you say marriage it’s a bridge too far.

    Maybe you are listening, maybe you’re not. I think ultimately you will live to see a 6th quasi protected class but I’m not completely convinced we’ll see “marriage”. Maybe we will. As long it’s by the consent of the governed, I’ll be happy.

    • Whoops, forgot to say, respectful disagreements aside, it was well written and I still enjoyed it.

      • I will never delete a comment just because I don’t agree with its content. To me, that would defeat the purpose of having a conversation at all. And again, I don’t think that we totally disagree on that much. Written debates lack a significant level of nuance that is easier to convey in person. I don’t think I could personally justify deleting any comment unless it containged some serious level of hate-speech. And I’m not worried at all about you doing that.

        You’re correct (or we are, since I said it in the blog) that this amendment would have passed in a general election. And you’re exactly right in your reasoning. The African American vote would’ve have only increased the amendment’s support. The higher overall youth vote would’ve countered that some, but not enough.

        And you are probably correct in the idea that calling it “civil unions” instead of “marriage” may help. But honestly the truth of that bothers me on a whole different, but less intense, level. If we are really having such a heated debate in the country over the vocabulary of peoples’ civil rights, it’s even more embarrassing. I may never marry. I’ll just ask the women I love to “squigglydoo” me, and we’ll sign all of the legal papers associated with civil unions. I can still laugh about that, but it really does make the whole thing that much sillier on both sides. I think homosexuals should accept civil unions if they are 100% equal to marriage in every legal way. And I don’t know why giving something that is 100% equal to marriage a different name would make the people against gay marriage feel better. That’s just childish.
        (NOTE: The N.C. Amendment bans Civil Unions as well)

        I thank you for your participation in this blog. I truly appreciate the exchange. One day I might write one that you’ll totally agree with. But then, what fun would that be? Happy weekend to you Sir.

  3. I read a book almost 7 years ago called The Line of Fire by Admiral Crowe. He told a story about how the military was able to maintain a presence in The Kingdom of Bahrain. The people were rioting and they wanted us to leave our “base” for all the reasons you would expect. Obviously the King and local businesses did not want the US to go but were not about to side with anyone against the people. As the US was starting to run out of maneuver room, Admiral Crowe or his team came up with an idea. Tell the local press we are leaving…the mission is over and we are going home. Oh, and that base…it’s not a base, it’s an activity. The King put it in the local papers and the Kingdom relaxed. And we are still there at NSA Bahrain. There is nothing more to the story…we just didn’t leave and never intended to leave. Everywhere in the world and to many people…words matter. Sometimes more than what the words describe.

    And a good weekend to you as well!

    • Haha. That’s pretty awesome. It will always be an issue of perspective I guess. I think that story shows how giving the illusion of success to someone can quell their outrage, but it is undeniably dishonest. We had no intention of leaving. We lied to them and changed the name of the facility to satisfy them. I guess I’m glad it worked there but I’m not sure of those specific circumstances. But I do know that if we have to lie to each other as citizens for people to accept civil rights, then it is still embarrassing.

      We like to tell ourselves that we’re the greatest country in the world, and that we are a shining example of liberty in the world. For the most part, I believe that we are both, but it is hard to say those things and then turn and say that we should ask a discriminated group to accept a vocabulary change of their goals so that the discriminators can tell themselves that they did not actually give equal rights to that demographic that they dislike so much. Who is lying to whom? And how can we be so accepting of the lie? Time will tell, but I’m fairly certain that history is going to look as unfavorably on this as it has all earlier forms of discrimination, and I guess I’m just preemptively embarrassed by that. We look back at the open and culturally accepted racism of the fifties and sixties and just wonder how people could ever think that way. I’m looking at the discrimination of today and seeing the excuses and the expectation for the discriminated to be patient or adjust the wording of its goals, and I’m already wondering how we could think that way

  4. Asking homosexuals to accept something other than what they ultimately want would just mean they are another group in a long line of groups to not get exactly what they want. And that includes you and me as the white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestants (or Catholic, agnostic,whatever) males.

    You call it a lie and we are all winking and nodding, I call it human nature and politics. I’ve seen too many bad things around the world to feel anything but gracious for the country I live in, warts and all. She isn’t perfect…highly doubt we’ll look back at this period and not see the glaring failures, but considering where this country was on many civil rights issues and where it is now, we are heading in the right direction. These internal duels should happen at the ballot box and we’ll eventually get it right. In the meantime we should not be satisfied, only stay informed as much as we can on the process.

    • And I think you have truly made the finest point you can make on it…just felt there was something small left to say, but truthfully it’s the same thing I have said before. Looking forward to your next blog!

  5. Thought of this post yesterday, Greg, democracy moved slow, but we get there. I think we are witnessing the slow demise of the GOP as a legitimate national party. It’s not going to happen tomorrow, but I think it’s going to happen.

    • Does that potential demise bother you? I’ve distanced myself from politics and I’m glad I did. The conduct of the U.S. government and the nation’s news media were both so self-serving and negative that I couldn’t deal with it anymore. Sadly (from my admittedly more distant view) I don’t see either party going anywhere any time soon. I don’t know of any third party with near enough sway to be allowed into the tightly controlled and nonsensical political game that’s being played…or not being played. I’m not even sure if it’s a game being played or a play being performed. But it seems a total mess more often than I’m comfortable with. I’m not without hope. But my hope is in individual people more than any political movement I’m currently aware of. IF the GOP is going down, I’m having a hard time seeing that as a bad thing…except that the current system needs counterweight to maintain balance. But I wouldn’t be totally disgusted to see the Democratic Party go down too. I don’t have the answers for all of the country’s issues. But, in the current system, I don’t know if there is enough time left after fundraising for either of the illogically limited number of parties to even try to work on it. There are going to be A LOT bigger changes coming. People are becoming obsolete in the work force. As technology continues to advance at lightning speed, humans’ monetary value will continue to diminish. Society is going to have to change how it thinks about a lot of things and move away from its profit-based focus on everything. It’s going to be crazy to watch; and maybe a little scary.

      Sidenote: It’s amazing to me how reluctant I am to discuss politics anymore. I almost didn’t respond to this comment because I can’t muster the energy to discuss this stuff anymore. It’s exhausting to think about. But I respect your opinions so much; especially the depth of your thinking when building those opinions. Be well Friend. Whatever happens in DC, I hope that individual citizens never lose the ability and willingness to have a civil discussion.

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