Should the gay marriage movement become more tolerant of other viewpoints?

For years, the gay rights movement was about “live-and-let-live” tolerance. But the Miss USA flap showed just how much ill-will has built up among activists, and how much the need for tolerance has shifted.

Even though the majority of Americans simply want to preserve the traditional definition of marriage and themselves have no ill will in the process, gay marriage activists have been successful at redefining disagreement as hateful bigotry. Ironically, this has given those crying “tolerance” the permission to treat others with thinly veiled (or outright) derision and loathing.

This bizarre reality is only possible because of how the mainstream entertainment and news media present the issue. Editors and producers jump on traditionalists, yet don’t even notice slanted pro-gay reporting. For example, in an April 23 Associated Press report about gay marriage in Connecticut: “A decade-long battle for marriage equality in Connecticut ended when the General Assembly voted to update the state’s marriage laws.” (Just imagine the furor if this equally biased opening had been used: “A decade long battle to preserve traditional marriage was lost today…”)

After the Miss USA pageant, this anti-traditional bigotry was shockingly on display. Following Miss California Carrie Prejean’s respectful answer that she believed marriage was between a man and a woman, gay activist judge Perez Hilton began such vile persecution that America gasped. On his Weblog, he posted her picture and drew a male phallus in her mouth. He apparently never saw the hypocrisy of telling the Today Show that he attacked her because she wasn’t “saying things that will make everyone feel welcome.”

Gay activists had a great opportunity at that moment. But instead of loudly condemning Hilton’s hatefulness, all too many defended him or stayed silent. The blogging-level criticism raised by a few never reached those appalled by Hilton’s actions.

Americans have always managed vehemently differing opinions via our belief in respect-based free speech: “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend your right to say it.” To that, I might add, “And your difference of opinion doesn’t mean you are evil.” I believe most Americans – gay or straight – much prefer that civil approach and urge activists on both sides to embrace it.

Should the gay marriage movement become more tolerant of other viewpoints?

I’m afraid that I join gay rights activists in being confused as to just what “great opportunity” they forgo in not publicly defending Miss California against Miss USA judge Perez Hilton.

Ah, what the heck—I’m feeling tolerant, so let me state this unequivocally: Carrie Prejean has every right to voice her views on both gay marriage and, in her words, “opposite marriage.” Let’s be clear that although this didn’t cost her the crown (Miss North Carolina was already ahead in two competitions) Prejean was subject to some awfully crass treatment by Perez Hilton in the days following this low-rent rip-off of the Miss America pageant.

Of course, anyone familiar with “The Queen of All Media” expected the ensuing drama.
Mario Lavandeira, a.k.a. Perez Hilton, is an outrageous blogger who uses photos, captions and drawings to savagely rip on celebrities of all persuasions on a daily basis.

Being mean, name calling? Honey, that’s his bread and butter, and the Miss USA folks were perfectly aware of that when they gave him the job. Once more, pageant co-owner Donald Trump pulled America’s strings and we did our little marionette dance. I got to hand it to that guy.

Most serious activists for any cause are not going to lose their hard-won credibility by commenting on a made-for-TV blowup generated by a publicity-seeking provocateur like Lavandeira. They’re also well aware that few Americans opposed to their viewpoint will be won over by any outlandish rant, agreeing that civil discourse does get you farther.

On the other hand, sometimes an issue can stir within you such a passionate response that passionate words are required. “AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals” the Reverend Jerry Falwell once declared, “It is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.”

Cruel, alienating language usually backfires; Falwell’s horrific bigotry is now seen as such by the majority of Americans, whether or not they approve of gay marriage. We’ve come a long way, and tolerance of each other’s viewpoints is a huge part of that. So I too encourage folks in the gay marriage movement to stay respectful and resist name-calling. Yet know this: they’ll never stop fighting for all citizens to have equal protection and status under the law. Tolerate that, America.

538 comments Add your comment

Mark

May 24th, 2009
11:03 am

It’s like this….when you have been discriminated against, beaten up, called horrible names, forced to be closeted to keep your job, disowned by your family….all because you happened to be born gay….you just get to a point where you become “mad as hell and are not going to take it anymore”.

Prop 8 was the best thing that ever happened to the gay rights movement. We were stripped by a few percentage points of the right to marry. A right that the Supreme Court agreed we deserved. With that we were stripped of 1,000 plus rights given to those that can legally marry. That was wrong and got millions of gay Americans off their sofas and into the the streets to demand, yes DEMAND this injustice stop. It created a national debate that has changed many opinions on this subject.

We will eventually win this battle as more and more Americans are starting to see the unfairness of current laws.

Miss Bee Net

May 12th, 2009
7:34 pm

How in the world did a behavior become a human rights issue. I’m not homophobic,(this would imply that I’m afraid to converse or live with homosexual) I just disagree with that life style. I have the same thought pattern when it come to drinking and driving, or robbing someone. I don’t hate the person, I dislike that type of behavior.>>>>>>

I’m not sure, but I always thought when people call you a “homophobe” they mean you are afraid of your own latent urges, that you “hate” homosexuals because deep down inside you are really attracted to your own sex but don’t want to admit it.

I actually disagree that to disapprove of a lifestyle means you envy it or fear your own attraction to it. I have to agree with you that in the history of civil rights, this is the first time that it has ever been about lifestyle that I can see. And I really disagree with a comparison of the gay movement to that of the African Americans. Gays have been discriminated against, but not to the extent of having to sit in the back of the bus or not being allowed to vote.

I also disagree with the notion that to want to retain the definition of marriage means that you hate gay people. Gay folks already know that they have a different relationship than hetero folks do. I don’t know why they actually wouldn’t want to have their own word, customized just for them, in the place of marriage. It doesn’t exactly make sense to me. But I’m not gay, so I can’t really understand.

LEON Archer

May 12th, 2009
10:04 am

How in the world did a behavior become a human rights issue. I’m not homophobic,(this would imply that I’m afraid to converse or live with homosexual) I just disagree with that life style. I have the same thought pattern when it come to drinking and driving, or robbing someone. I don’t hate the person, I dislike that type of behavior.

USinUK

May 8th, 2009
9:17 am

new topic!! woowoo!!

Gale

May 8th, 2009
9:01 am

I always wonder just who is being polled. Has anyone here ever been part of one of these polls that get published as “How America is Trending”?

USinUK

May 8th, 2009
8:50 am

“Their common response is:”At least he is doing something”. That “something” is the most radical takeover in our nation’s history.”

and again, I point you to the poll from yesterday – nearly 2/3rds of the population trust Obama more with the economy than the GOP.

the other major difference – there’s a HUGE swing in the %%% of people who think the country is headed in the right direction – in fact, for the first time since 2004, the %% of people who say that the country is heading in the right direction is greater than the %% of people who say it’s not. “According to a poll of 1,000 Americans released today by AP-Gfk, 48% think the country is headed in the right direction, compared to 44% who believe it is not. In October, the final days before the election, only 17% believed the country was going in the right direction, with 78% taking the opposite view” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/apr/23/poll-us-optimism-barack-obama)

from the same article “Americans panned the performance of the Republican congressional opposition’s handling of the economy, with only 29% approving and 65% disapproving. Congressional Democrats, the majority party, have a 50% approval rating, with 45% disapproving. Congress on the whole did not fare well: Only 38% of poll respondents approved of the way Congress is doing its job, with 57% disapproving.”

yes, people are hurting – no one would argue otherwise. however, I don’t think the dye is cast, yet, for the next Congressional election.

USinUK

May 8th, 2009
8:40 am

well, there’s some good news (not great news, but not bad) … there were only 539K added to unemployment last month (way less than the estimate of 600K and wayWAY less than the revised 699K from March)

unemp rate is 8.9%

The Other Jack

May 8th, 2009
8:22 am

JustAJew

The neighborhood WAS surrounded by Great Society Ghettos, but it was under control. Now, it is infested with crackheads. You can’t see the difference? We had crime. Lots of it. The kids from California knew that. They had more research on the area than most of us knew. But we didn’t have people fighting in the streets. We had a decent response time for our policemen. People werre not scared to go out at night.

I have said my peace on this. The quality of life in this country is dropping like a stone. That and other neighborhoods are examples of how people don’t have to lose their job to be affected by this. The most liberal people I know are uncomfortable with the actions that this administration has taken. Their common response is:”At least he is doing something”. That “something” is the most radical takeover in our nation’s history.

There’s a lot of Democrats that will never vote for a Republican. Democrats and Republicans don’t elect our leaders. Independent voters do. They change sides at the drop of a hat.

What would you say was the number one issue was that caused the flip to Democrats? Remember the Democrats took over Congress in 2006. The Iraq War? We are now in Afghanistan, full bore. That was the country that defeated the Soviet Union. And why are we there? Bin Laden has been gone for years. Wire taping? No legislation has been passed that changed the US policy even though Obama attacked Bush over and over about it.

The independents flipped over issues that they were told were important. Quality of life is very important and people feel that every single day. They don’t need Katy Couric to tell them their life is getting harder.

I’m no fortune teller. I have underestimated the power of propaganda before. Media bias right now is worse than I have ever seen, so the Democrats might be able to be installed yet again, but ratings for the majority of liberal TV is dropping faster than ever before. All this was nothing more than my opinion. But it is fairly obvious that people are much more concerned then they have ever been. After such a radical spending spree, Americans will not have the patience to wait for years while watching welfare roles get richer and working people suffer.