Sunday, November 2, 2008
Dire Straights' Agenda
by CLINTON FEIN
The agents of hate are gearing up for a last minute blitz to pass Prop 8 in California, an initiative to enshrine discrimination into California's constitution by specifically denying gays and lesbians the right to marry. If passed, Prop 8 would overturn the California Supreme Court's May decision which found denying gays and lesbians the right to marry unconstitutional. These last minute tactics include fliers containing an image of Barack Obama with his wife Michelle laughing in the background alongside the quote "I'm not in favor of gay marriage." This dirty trick has caused heated debate within the gay community, primarily because the quote is real. What's misleading is that Obama's opposition to same sex marriage, does not include enshrining it into the constitution.
Supporters of Prop 8 have also created television ads using children to perpetuate a lie that unless Prop 8 is passed, schools will be forced to teach children about gay marriage, (What would that lesson be? Make sure, if you're lesbians, to register at Home Depot?). These desperate measures expose the shrill lengths these people will go to in order to protect their precarious, failing institution. The irony is that the very fact they have been forced to lie in order to get people to support their position, is what has generated so much support and money for the No on 8 campaign. The effectiveness of the No on 8 media campaign, is another story entirely.
One of the organizations throwing money at the Prop 8 proponents, Concerned Women for America, position Prop 8 as a battle between "righteousness and ruin," claiming that "prayer is the key to getting this initiative passed on November 4." Prayer and bullshit it would seem.
Much of the drama over the definition relates to the very word "marriage" as opposed to civil unions or domestic partnerships. And as much as I personally view marriage as a flawed construct, and as much as I believe the government should not be managing any relationships -- gay or straight -- lest they go the way of the economy, there is no mistaking that there are fundamental tangible and intangible benefits of marriage -- the deprivation of which is not only unfair, but does not make any sense.
To give just one example. A gay couple that has been together for twenty years, and have children together, whether through surrogate, adoption or other numerous possibilities, are not automatically granted visitation in hospitals or able to make life and death decisions in an emergency. Their children are not protected when it comes to issues like insurance, intestate succession or other such issues that are critical to families (so much for supporting the children, Prop 8 proponents). They are not immune from having to testify against one another, which applies to all spousal relationships, in a court of law. And from an immigration standpoint, they may not confer citizenship on one another.
According to proponents of Prop 8, a man could walk into a strip club, walk out with the first woman he sees, marry her, commit adultery every night, and that relationship is regarded as more sacred and meaningful than, say, the man's gay sister's, who has been with her partner in a loving, monogamous relationship for twenty two years.
This is what this battle is all about. And the lies and hatred perpetuated by these organizations is the most disingenuous. As it gets uglier and uglier, a sampling of just the type of people backing this are, can be found by personal attacks on me by the heads of two national organizations based on an admittedly provocative satire I wrote back in 2003.
Matt Barber, an angry little fellow, is one of the like-minded men with an organization aptly named Concerned Women for America, who saw fit to quote me from a satire I wrote in 2003, The Gay Agenda.
One of the biggest contradictions presented by these morons is this: they claim that only 2% of the population is gay, and question why 2% should be given such disproportionate power to change the "definition" of marriage. What they are unable to answer is why such a tiny percentage threatens the institution of marriage. If they were doing such a wonderful job protecting it, why is there a failure rate over 50%, and what pathetic, delicate thread is supporting their current marriage that a same sex commitment of two people would destroy it?
The first three items in my Gay Agenda satire, pertained to marriage, and probably knotted the stomachs of Matt Barber and Peter LaBarbera as much as the ones they quoted out of context:
Finally, before anyone take offense, I did conclude the Gay Agenda with this warning:
Despite the tongue-in-cheek nature of this piece, it can, and likely will, be taken out of context, and used destructively by bigots and homophobes with ill intentions. From the other side, I'll be criticized for irresponsibly kindling the already raging fires by providing fresh fodder.
For better or worse,and despite it taking a few years longer than I thought, I was right on both accounts.
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