As we recover from the holidays, The Inclusive will feature the best pieces from 2011. This gives you an opportunity to read some pieces you might not have otherwise seen, and it allows our staff to, y'know, hang out for a bit.
This piece was originally published December 8th. Staff writer Mike Anton takes Rick Perry's "hail mary" pass to the Christian right as a slap in the face, breaking down the marriage equality question to one simple question.
When I started this website, one of the things I stressed to our many talented, prospective writers is that this is to work like a magazine: no rants, no "blog posts." Everything would have to be measured and even-handed. It's an edict I believe in and would defend any day of the week.
But then this happened. And this:
I cannot sit here and casually let this go without a comment, one borne of disgust and furious anger.
I am sick and tired of hearing about "gay rights." I honestly, truly am, because this should not even be an issue. No one should have to waste their breath trying to yell down such bile and hatred. No one should have to be separated by panes of glass as their partner wilts away in a hospital room with no legal standing to simply be in the same room with someone they love as they pass. Most importantly, no one should have to convince another human being that they are the same species and deserve the same rights.
And that's the point that baffles, irritates, and blows me away. For the last one hundred and fifty years, the United States has been slowly coming around to living up to the promises that were guaranteed at and near this nation's founding. The first unfulfilled promise came to fruition with the freeing of the slaves, their right to vote and, much later on, their full equality in the eyes of the courts of America. Nearly coinciding with that reprehensible dirge is women's suffrage and, decades upon decades later, women are starting to get treated (more) equal to males. Each movement was made possible because they had to yell, scream, and shout to as many fat, old, white men as possible that they are human as well. Finally, those wonderful, gracious men dribbled an exasperated "fine, sure," and passed legislation that recognized these people as people. And these good-minded folk who championed these rights all along are hailed as heroes instead of what they truly are: ordinary people.
Today, the trampled upon section of our populace are those poor folks who just so happen to be sexually attracted to their own sex. They have the requisite number of chromosomes, the proper amount of blood cells, and -- the biggest shock of all -- manage to look look just like us. It's nearly uncanny. In fact, save for their personal feelings, they are exactly like the "rest" of us, that majority that can procreate, giving more mouths to feed on this world with shrinking jobs and food supplies. But, naturally, the queers are the ones who bring evil to this earth.
I fully understand that there are people who are simply ignorant. They were shocked to find out that Communists were humans, not money-hoarding, godless monsters. They were baffled to see that they could carry on a conversation with a black person. They were stupefied when they realized that their wives could balance a checkbook, work a job, and somehow still find a way to raise their children to be upstanding members of society. Over time, one absolutely too long to wait, they all came around. Bully for them, finding out that they had nothing to fear from the unknown.
Even now, one assumes that there are those people out there who, bless their hearts, think they have never met a gay person. It would be impossible, as they are The Other, a shadowy group of people who are different in a way that makes them completely irregular from the rest, as if being "regular" is some sort feather one should proudly display in their boring, grey cap. To those people, I hope they find some humanity within themselves and, like their ignorant forebearers, realize that they were just scared of something they didn't understand.
Then there are those who thump their Bibles and act like their book matters legally in a country that was colonized by religious zealots but founded on a principal to separate church and state. That should go to show how far the Bible can get you in a court. Well, outside its use as a prop to guilt people into being truthful. Luckily, it works the other way as well. There will never be a law that forces places of worship to hold marriages for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, or transgender people. No edict exists that forces all churches to marry interracial couples -- the last time that law, common decency, and dogma collided -- nor would one ever exist.
Interracial marriage, like slavery and the (dire) inequality of women, have all fallen. So too will this abolition of marriage equality. To think otherwise is not only foolhardy, it's just plain stupid. There's no other way to put it. All those pillars of ignorance and hate have fallen in the past; what makes this issue any different? Why are we wasting money, time, and energy attacking an issue that will naturally no longer be one? It's akin to tossing a ball in the air three times and, on the fourth, you do everything in your power to try and reverse the pull of gravity. Sorry, but you can't beat common sense.
With that sort of bitterness, that resentment, we live in a world where this happens, routinely: A boy who has always been attracted to other boys, who has to first get over the confusion that everything he's been told about how the world works does not actually fit his heart, then has to deal with the reaction of those around him.
His parents, the people who created him from nothing, who nurtured him through his youth, who protected him from as much pain as they possibly could, who drove him and his friends to the movies, who held him as grandparents and friends cruelly passed away, who beamed with pride as he excelled in sports, who were always there to listen to his problems and issues, whose love for their child has made their hearts weary, these are the people that he fears telling who he is.
His friends, the ones he played "soccer" with in kindergarten, who he learned multiplication with, who ate an incredible amount of pizza with, who he dared to drank pop rocks and soda with, who he would aimlessly drive around with just because they finally had a license to do so, who got drunk together in some absentee parents' basement, who danced together at the end of their senior prom, who he shared everything with. Everything but the one thing that, if uttered, would shatter all that they've shared and built because he would be labeled as "different."
And this is generally accepted.
No innocent man should feel such burden. No innocent woman should feel such scorn. This is not an issue about someone's sexual preference. This is an issue about recognizing people for what they truly are. They are human beings. They are human beings. They are human beings.
And anyone who thinks otherwise clearly isn't.