A View of the C

Funny – Inappropriate – Edumacational

Joel Connelly: Thank You

CB065332If you care about gay rights, you need to read the following column by Joel Connelly of the Seattle PI. It’s painful to read the “Soundoff” section at the bottom of the article because people can be so hateful. But, that’s what free speech affords so I can’t complain. What I can do, however, is continue to champion people who write moving, insightful, and unbiased articles that help important causes that I care about. 

Homophobia is the malaria of societal diseases: It appears to be on the wane but then re-emerges in full fury.

At the polls 30 years ago, Seattle became the first major American city to reject a rollback of ordinances forbidding discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Juiced at turning back chanteuse Anita Bryant, foes of the measure marched past Mormon-owned KIRO-TV, whose president Lloyd Cooney editorialized in support of the rollback.

We’ve supposedly had three decades of social progress. On Tuesday of last week, however, several states voted to impose and re-impose discrimination against one group of Americans.

Arkansas voted a ban on gay couples adopting children. Arizona and Florida approved bans on gay marriage. In the most closely watched contest, California narrowly approved Prop. 8, overturning a California Supreme Court ruling legalizing marriage for same-sex couples.

Curiously, these discriminating decisions took place as voters handed the religious right its head elsewhere in the land.

Colorado refused to end affirmative action, and rejected a constitutional amendment that would have defined human life as beginning at the moment of conception. Arizona turned down penalties on hiring illegal immigrants. Michigan voted to allow stem cell research.

Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colorado, who sought to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, lost her re-election campaign in a landslide.

Still, there is demagoguery across the country.

Dr. James Dobson, of Focus on Family, has thundered that same-sex marriage threatens “a devastating and potentially fatal blow to the traditional family.” Hence, initiatives against gay marriage have been labeled “defense of marriage” laws.

All this is hooey. My favorite response is from former Republican Sen. John Danforth, an ordained Episcopal priest (and abortion opponent) in his book “Faith and Politics”:

“America’s divorce rate is now 50 percent, and marriage is under attack from a number of quarters: finances, promiscuity, alcohol and drugs, the pressures of work, cultural acceptance of divorce, et cetera.

“But it is incomprehensible that one of these threats is when someone else, whom we have never seen, in a place where we may never have been, has done something we don’t like.”

Same-sex marriage is legal across Canada. Not even initial critics have been able to cite a single negative consequence.

Foes of Prop. 8 mounted no “ground game” in the recent campaign.

Actor Brad Pitt seemed to be the driving force behind what effective opposition there was. Gay and lesbian groups groused when the Obama campaign sent volunteers next door to Nevada, a “battleground” state.

Of course, thousands of people have taken to the streets of Los Angeles and New York to protest passage of Prop. 8. But the Los Angeles Times is right to ask: “Where were these marchers before the election?”

Seattle will see a big anti-Prop. 8 march on Saturday. It will follow a familiar path: There’s a noon rally at Volunteer Park, followed by a march to Westlake Center. Congressman-for-life Jim McDermott and would-be heir State Sen. Ed Murray will speak.

Here’s to the march. Silence gives consent. Conscience gives voice.

But as they march, same-sex couples and supporters should start think of — to use my favorite Bushism — “strategery.”

A couple good places to begin: One is John F. Kennedy’s famous quote, “Don’t get mad. Get even.” A second is the long-ago campaign that defeated Seattle’s Prop. 13.

As John McCain and Sarah Palin taught us, anger is self-defeating. Sure, it gets attention, but reason trumps passion. The anti-13 campaign put a lid on gay crazies. It defined the issue in terms of fundamental decency, respect for privacy and the right to earn a living.

As in California, the bid to re-impose discrimination against gays and lesbians in Seattle had a built-in base of support in conservative churches.

But the anti-13 campaign — headed by Rosanne Royer, then-wife of Mayor Charley — went to the grass roots. It mobilized surprising business community backing, brought organized labor on board, won support from mainline churches and made inroads into the minority community. The anti-Prop. 8 campaign failed to reach African-American and Hispanic voters.

Outreach is always more effective than outrage. Alas, it is far less entertaining.

I am a regular reader of “The Stranger”, whose potty-mouthed, self-promoting editorial director Dan Savage mocks the Rev. Ken Hutcherson, diddling youth pastors, the Catholic Church and — post-Prop. 8 — the Mormon Church.

Hasn’t this publication noticed, in its own neighborhood, such inclusive churches as St. Mark’s Cathedral, a pioneer in blessing same-sex unions?

A lot of Christians — myself included — stand with the admonition of St. Paul that we should be ministers of reconciliation. We believe in a loving God who is bigger than political agendas.

Discrimination based on sexual preference is, eventually, doomed.

In California, young voters opposed Prop. 8 by a margin of just under two-to-one.

Equal treatment will come quicker if the campaign for gay and lesbian rights is itself inclusive, and — like Barack Obama — astutely picks its battles.


November 13, 2008 - Posted by | gay rights, Inspiration, Politics | , , , , , ,

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