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

Serge Bacchus

May 6th, 2009
8:47 pm

Telemachus, Elton John and David Furnish registered for “civil partnership” in Windsor, England, in 2005. http://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/civilpartnerships/

Miss Bee Net, I have a marriage certificate, as do tens of thousands of American gay and lesbian couples, and I’m not giving it up.

Serge Bacchus

May 6th, 2009
8:37 pm

“Do you have a problem with people from Appalachia?”
—-

Of course not — My family hails from West Virginia.

Telemachus

May 6th, 2009
8:21 pm

“Elton John: “If gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership… The word ‘marriage,’ I think, puts a lot of people off. You get the same equal rights that we do when we have a civil partnership. Heterosexual people get married. We can have civil partnerships.””

So…Miss Bee Net…apparently you don’t realize that Elton John was…wait for it…LEGALLY MARRIED TO A MAN. Idiot.

Telemachus

May 6th, 2009
8:11 pm

“Society was fighting segregation. Democrats were embracing it.”

Really? During ALL those years that people were praying in schools, society was fighting segregation? Gosh, I had no idea.

And do you REALLY think that linking party names has anything to do with political philosophies? OMG, you mean SOUTHERN DEMOCRATS were RACIST in the 50s? OMG!

Duh. Political parties have changed their platform directions over and over and over. Political philosophy is what matters, not parties. If you think that the typical DixieCrat of the 50s has anythin in common with a progressive Democrat of today then you are a bigger idiot than I gave you credit for. Which, honestly, is saying something. It also suggests that you are unaware of Nixon’s Southern Strategy, which used Southern white racism to switch voters to the Republican party, because by that time the national Democratic party was aligning itself with the civil rights movement.

As for your typical dodge when confronted with the fact that you implied that “Prayer in Schools”, LOL. You obviously DON’T know what “Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc” means, or you would realize that there should be some causal link between your posited decline in the quality of American schools – though, frankly I’m not sure where your suggestion that American schools were once the best in the world comes from – and the lack of prayer.

However, like the ideologically driven idiot that you are, you simply demand that I DISPROVE your statement. Here’s the thing – I’m not interested in disproving it. I’m interested in YOU providing facts to back up your argument. Because…that’s what people who make claims have a responsibility to do…back up your arguments. It’s not my responsibility to disprove YOUR unsubstantiated claim, it’s YOUR responsibility to back up your argument first. Which you haven’t.

But then, you aren’t really capable of doing that, are you? You would rather rant and rave about Nazis and evil Democrats and socialists and how gays should be able to get married but maybe they should just shut up about it right now, and blah, blah, blah.

I tell you what – you provide evidence that shows a causal link between prayer in school and the decline of the American educational system and I’ll see about refuting them. Because by saying that there is a link, and NOT substantiating it, that’s EXACTLY what “Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc” means.

Uneducated moron.

The REAL GodHatesTrash, Superstar

May 6th, 2009
8:10 pm

The folks in Mount Airy, North Carolina – Andy Griffith’s REAL hometown – are more like the extras in Deliverance than the folks from make-believe Mayberry. Even Goober, Gomer, and Ernest T. Bass are city-slicking sophisticates compared to the real-life hillbillies of northern North Carolina.

Wee doggies!

Miss Bee Net

May 6th, 2009
6:02 pm

The Other Jack

May 6th, 2009
10:57 am
2d

–But, the culture until recently still held “Mayberry” and the “Clevers” as the ideal.–

I think you are right. It was something to work toward. But to be honest, growing up in a small town was a lot like living in Mayberry. If we didn’t like a cop,. we called him a Barney, not a Motherf*cking Pig. Society is MUCH more coarse. The simply acts of politeness, the words “please”, “thank you”, and “Let me get that for you” have all but disappeared from our culture, well at least urban culture.

The acceptance if not approval of bad behavior by a very biased media is getting worse and worse.

This is a well made point. TV shows promote “badness” as an ideal. We have “Bad Girls” and “Breaking Bad” and getting over is the way to be. Not much to promote respect anymore. When asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, my 11 year old niece’s friend said a bad girl.

Everyone laughs at the overly simplified shows like Mayberry, yet those shows promoted a desire to be good, to do the right thing. I think we are so far in the other direction now it’s just not funny.

The Other Jack

May 6th, 2009
5:03 pm

GREAT article from the San Fransisco Chronicle that talks about the problems the new superintendent of the DC schools has been having. The Unions fought her and the good old boy school board has held back money for building repairs.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2008/08/24/national/w100107D96.DTL&type=politics

If you are really interested in the problems that our schools are having, give this a read. And then consider who has the education of children in mind and who has the protection of incompetent teachers and incompetent administrators in mind.

The Other Jack

May 6th, 2009
4:54 pm

2D

I really like this:

–The Department of Education recently issued a three-year analysis of student achievement under the program that showed limited gains in reading and no significant progress in math.–

LOL! So who gets to determine what “limited” and “significant” means. Well that would be the organization that had been losing $15,000 a year from 17,000 different students. I’m sure that 25 million bucks didn’t have any influence at all.

The Other Jack

May 6th, 2009
4:36 pm

2D

–My kudos are drastically reduced, but at least he did something.–

Not really. They had already been promised that when the kids won the scholarships.

Also look at the last paragraph of the article.

–The president’s budget will include funding to allow students currently enrolled in the D.C. voucher program to continue in the program through graduation,” an administration official said in a statement.–

The man is one hell of a politician. The cost to the budget for funding these same kids to public schools, is about double what the voucher program requires. So by “including funding” for the voucher program, the budget actually requires less than sending them to public schools.

So it’s like he is really taking an extra step by “including the money in his budget”. Damn, democrats can be so slimy. LOL!

Miss Bee Net

May 6th, 2009
4:32 pm

I have been reading some of the posts. I am curious to know if the desire to keep “marriage” to mean the union of one man and woman, while at the same time supporting civil unions for same sex couples, providing that all the same privileges are included, necessarily makes you bigoted.

Here are two famous men and what they have to say about marriage. Are they bigoted?

President Obama: “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian, it’s also a sacred union. You know, God’s in the mix.”

Elton John: “If gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership… The word ‘marriage,’ I think, puts a lot of people off. You get the same equal rights that we do when we have a civil partnership. Heterosexual people get married. We can have civil partnerships.”