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Steve Likes to Curse
Writing, comics and random thoughts from really a rather vulgar man
Bigotry, Gay Marriage, and Bill O’Reilly 
Sunday, May 24th, 2009 | 10:39 am [commentary, gay equality, politics, religion]

In an op-ed published this morning in the Boston Herald, Bill O’Reilly actually gets it right. “[I]f you oppose gay marriage,” he writes, “your opinion makes you a bigot. Did you know that?”


Sure did, Bill. I also know that if I oppose interracial marriage, that opinion makes me a bigot, too. And if I believe a woman ought to be paid less than a man for equivalent work, or that the military ought to be segregated along racial lines, or that a same-sex couple ought not be allowed to adopt children, guess what that makes me. These opinions make one a bigot because there are no valid reasons for holding them.


But what if one is led to his opinion by his religious faith? Does that excuse one from being called a bigot? Bill thinks so:


I understand that most Americans believe heterosexual marriage deserves a special place in our society. Our Judeo-Christian traditions, which have made the United States the most prosperous and just society the world has ever known, speak to a family built around a responsible mother and father; certainly the optimum when it comes to raising children.


Two things occur to me immediately. For one, why is it relevant that most Americans believe heterosexual marriage deserves a special place, if giving it that special place denies the privilege to homosexuals? In a prior paragraph, O’Reilly cites a recent poll where 54% of those who responded claimed to oppose same-sex marriage. He also reminds us of the passage of Proposition 8 in California this past November. The United States is a constitutional republic, governed indirectly by the will of the people. That doesn’t mean anything goes as long as there’s a plurality of the popular vote to support it. The Constitution and the laws it empowers, enacted by the elected representatives of the people, are the final authority. If the people vote to disenfranchise a number of their fellow citizens who have broken no laws and committed no offense of any kind, that vote is meaningless. The majority doesn’t have the power to deny rights and privileges of citizenship to people it doesn’t like.


For another, why is it that O’Reilly and his fellow conservatives/”traditionalists” (as he insists on euphemistically identifying himself) always cite our Judeo-Christian heritage as the source of our prosperity and freedom, as though it’s a self-evident fact? The United States was not the first nation in history to be founded by Christians, not by far. It wasn’t the religion of our founders that made us unique; it was their wisdom to write their religion out of the government. It is our secularism that has made us a just society in the past, and which continues to push us kicking and screaming toward a greater justice today, not our religion. Apologists and defenders of the various faiths claim that religion calls us to be better people, but in my experience it most often just gives people divine permission to go right on being the assholes they already were.


Legalizing gay marriage isn’t the right thing to do because it’s popular, or because gay equality is the hip civil rights struggle at the moment. It’s the right thing to do because there is no reason not to do it, and because to do any less is unworthy of a truly free and just civilization. Legalizing gay marriage doesn’t make it illegal to oppose gay marriage. Christians, Jews, Muslims, whoever, will still have just as much right to hold and express the ugliest, most bigoted tenets of their dogmas as they do in non-gay-marriage states today. If you’re straight, your life won’t change in the slightest bit. Your marriage, if you have one, will still be valid and will still mean just as much to you and your spouse and the state as it ever has. The difference will be in the lives of same-sex couples, who will be able to have their unions legally recognized the same as straight couples, and in the life of the United States, which will finally be redeemed of one of its longest standing sins.

Monday, May 25th, 2009 | 03:38 am (UTC)
When it comes to bigotry, from exclusion of gays from legal protection to refusing to dispense certain medications even when employed as a pharmacist to any one of a hundred other behaviors that elevate their beliefs over the rights of others, what a lot of religious people want is for their bigotry to be legally protected if they state their bigotry is in the name of god.
Monday, May 25th, 2009 | 03:32 pm (UTC)
Yep. It's like Christopher Hitchens said after Jerry Falwell died: "You can get away with the most extraordinary offenses to morality and to truth in this country, if you will just get yourself called 'reverend.'"
Monday, May 25th, 2009 | 04:47 pm (UTC) - Legalizing Gay Marriage - Not
There are many reasons not to legalize homosexual marriage. While I could cite them, it appears from your writings that your mind is already made up (read closed) and therefore would be a waste of time. This country was founded on a belief (acceptance) in God and whether or not you believe it to be true or false, really doesn't matter. Truth is truth. Marriage is a special institution that is the germination of culture and society. Marriage cultivates an ideal environment to raise children. While some couples choose not to nor are able to physically have children, does not mitigate the obvious confirmed social science fact that children do best when raised by a mother and father. Homosexuality is about narcissism. Yes...a self-love that is obscured in societal window dressing and that which seeks approval, acceptance, and equality for a private bedroom behavior that should remain private. Please don't attempt to attack me personally...you will only confirm a baseless perspective founded on warped sense of self-importance. Homosexuality is your religion - whether you like it or not.
Tuesday, May 26th, 2009 | 01:49 am (UTC) - Re: Legalizing Gay Marriage - Not
Do I really strike you as close-minded just because we disagree? If you have a logical reason why homosexuals should remain a disenfranchised segment of the United States citizenry, I'm ready to hear it. I'm eager to hear it, actually, since I've never, ever heard one before.

Your dismissal of homosexuality as narcissistic (which I have heard before) ignores the thousands of gay couples who are willing to adopt children, to give them a loving home with two parents. Is that narcissistic? Is that selfish?

You're wrong about the need for approval for a private bedroom activity, too. You don't need to personally approve of what gay people do with each other sexually. As you point out, it's none of your business anyway. You don't need to approve of them getting married, either. Your disapproval is irrelevant. The fact that you, and many other people disapprove is not sufficient cause to deny same-sex couples the same state recognition of their marriages as heterosexual couples.

And one last thing you've gotten wrong. You seem to be assuming that I'm gay, calling homosexuality my religion. I'm not. The only reason you would have for assuming I am is that I am so ardently in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. I don't advocate gay equality because I have something personally to gain. I advocate it because it's the right thing to do, because to oppose it would be immoral, and because it is a necessity if we are to ever become in truth the free and just society we have always claimed to be. That you would assume I must be gay myself in order to want that says more about you than it does about me.
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