DISAGREEING BUT NOT DISAGREEABLE
As one who openly opposes same-sex marriage, I recognize there are many who disagree with me and I’m not surprised when they attack my views. I’m, also, not surprised when this involves my being attacked personally, including being called homophobe. I’m not surprised by that but I’ve never fully understood it.
A word ending in “phobe” might seem to imply fear, as in “phobia”. But, in common usage, a homophobe isn’t one who fears a homo(sexual), it is meant to indicate one who hates them. Thus my lack of understanding, being called homophobe, since I neither fear nor hate homosexuals, individually or as a group. On the contrary, I’m a follower of Jesus Christ and I, daily, do all I can to adhere to The Lord’s command, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:37-39. As a result, though I’ve openly stated my opposition to same-sex marriage and I’ve clearly stated my reasons for holding that position, I don’t believe there has been any hateful word or action on my part in doing so.
DISAPPOINTED BUT NOT DISHEARTENED
Not surprisingly, I was disappointed with the recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. However, I was heartened by some of President Obama’s related remarks following that ruling. This included him saying:
“I know that Americans of goodwill continue to hold a wide range of views on this issue. Opposition in some cases, has been based on sincere and deeply held beliefs. All of us who welcome today’s news should be mindful of that fact and recognize different viewpoints, revere our deep commitment to religious freedom.”
DISHEARTENED AND DISCOURAGED
Sadly, those heartening words were followed by extremely disheartening words and actions, on the part of President Obama and others. Although many of those who are looked to as our nation’s leaders contributed to this, looking for political gain, none was more obvious in this than the President himself. Immediately on the heels of his remarks, quoted above, he had the White House lit up in rainbow colors, saying that he thought “that was pretty cool.” At the same time, many among the population of those who oppose my related views were making similar contributions that were at least equally as disheartening. Chief among these were the 26 million who covered their Facebook profile picture in rainbow colors. Although I have to admit that none of this was really surprising to me, it’s yet another aspect of this matter that I don’t understand.
How can any of this “revere (the) deep commitment to religious freedom” of “Americans of goodwill (whose) … opposition … (is) … based on sincere and deeply held beliefs”? How can the President’s actions, in rainbow-lighting the White House and his related comments, be seen as anything but rubbing salt in the very fresh wound of those whose “deeply held beliefs” leave them seeing this outcome as anything but “pretty cool”. Likewise, how can those who rainbowed their Facebook profile picture not see that their self-serving attempts to join in being “pretty cool”, in fact, comes off only as intellectual and moral superiority condescension to their fellow “Americans of goodwill (who are in) opposition”?
DISCOURAGING AND DISINGENUOUS
The cynicism of these disheartening words and actions are addressed well in an article entitled “Why you should stop waving the rainbow flag on Facebook”, by Peter Moskowitz, a writer for the Washington Post, who is gay. In that article, Moskowitz says:
“Some of the rainbow-colored faces were people I would never talk to about being gay – a relative with conservative politics, high school buddies I didn’t come out to because I feared losing their friendships. They weren’t necessarily homophobic, but they weren’t great allies either. They didn’t march during pride celebrations; they didn’t participate in the “day of silence”; they didn’t even bother to inquire about my life. If they were true allies to me or the LGBT community, where were they before Friday?
Politicians were guilty, too. President Obama’s Facebook and Twitter pages displayed “Love Wins” messages on the day of the SCOTUS ruling, even though the president was against same-sex marriage until a few years ago (at least publicly). And Hillary Clinton’s Facebook page was awash in rainbow-themed regalia on Friday, her 2016 presidential campaign “H” logo overlain with the pride rainbow. Left unsaid on her Facebook page was the fact that she actively advocated against same-sex marriage until two years ago.”
The truly sad irony in all this is that those whose disheartening words and actions I mentioned seem to think that what they are doing is drawing us all closer together when, in fact, they are widening and deepening the gap between us. If their goal is, indeed, to draw us all closer together, they would do well to understand that their views are far from being universally held and that the body of “Americans of goodwill (who are in) opposition” remains very close to being a majority. Remember, the recent Supreme Court ruling was a result of a 5-4 vote. Likewise, many states where same-sex marriage had been recognized prior to the recent SCOTUS ruling did so with just enough votes for a majority. Washington State, where I live, is a good example. The statewide vote was 53.7% Yes, 46.3% No. And, the results in the county where I live, Clark County, was 47.4% Yes, 52.6% No. In other words, where I live, the vote was not in favor of recognizing same-sex marriage.
As I said, “those whose disheartening words and actions I mentioned seem to think that what they are doing is drawing us all closer together when, in fact, they are widening and deepening the gap between us.” I suspect they may, also, think they’re putting homophobia to death. In reality, those who do hate people who are in favor of same-sex marriage are going to continue in their hatred no matter what. The SCOTUS “victory” for proponents of same-sex marriage has done nothing to change that. Furthermore, the way those proponents are handling that “victory” is driving an even greater wedge between themselves and those, like me, who have shown them love, not hatred, while disagreeing with them.
With that in mind, my proposal is that the proponents and opponents on this matter join forces to finally and in actuality, put homophobia to death. I think one good way to begin on this is to take a look at Washington State’s “Everything but Marriage” law, enacted in 2007, creating State Registered Domestic Partnerships and making them the equivalent of marriage under state law. Considering all that’s transpired with this issue since 2007, apparently, the “Everything but Marriage” law didn’t go far enough to satisfy those in favor of same-sex marriage. However, that law would not have been possible without folks like me being willing to listen to those in favor of that legislation and working with them to find a solution that worked for both sides. Thus, my view that it serves as a good example for how to begin joining forces to really draw the opposing sides on this matter closer together. If, instead of what I see as the intellectual and moral superiority condescension of same-sex marriage proponents, they show their willingness to listen to and work with those, like me, who don’t share their views, perhaps more solutions can be found that work for both sides.
The first solution I’d like to see jointly tackled is the volatile issue pertaining to those with “sincere and deeply held beliefs” opposing same-sex marriage being forced to participate in the practice, now that it’s legal nationwide. There are plenty of legal and religious officials available to conduct same-sex marriages. Likewise,there are an abundance of wedding-related businesses willing to meet the needs of same-sex marriages. I see nothing to be gained by forcing those with “sincere and deeply held beliefs” to participate. In fact, I see great loss if we’re not willing to work together in this way. That includes losing the opportunity to finally and in actuality, put homophobia to death.