Monday, December 26, 2011

Twitter Watch: All I Want For Christmas

Yesterday, Christmas Day, I sent out this relatively innocuous tweet:

No big deal right? It doesn't really take a genius to figure out what I was talking about: marriage rights, anti-bullying laws to protect LGBT youth, employment discrimination protections, adoption equality, etc. Apparently, someone took exception and decided to reply with these tweets which just scream holiday cheer and good will towards men:

I'll address each one of these responses separately (and in reverse order).

#3: People who are against marriage equality tend to lump same-sex marriage in with (in this case) polygamy. Polygamy is an issue that should be debated on its own merits (or lack thereof, whichever the case may be) and has its own intricacies and problems that set it apart from an arrangement between 2 people. This is pretty much a straw-man situation this guy is setting up (if you don't know what a straw-man is, here is a description) to try to deflect from the actual issue that was raised: marriage rights for same-sex couples...emphasis here in the word COUPLES.

#2: There are several things wrong here. First, (false) words are being put in my mouth. For the record, my view on marriage is that if the government is going to recognize an arrangement between two consenting people of legal age and capacity, there is zero reason to keep same-sex couples out of this legal arrangement. Second, acceptance is something that can not be forced. It either comes from compassion and empathy, or it doesn't happen at all (apparently, the respondent is in the latter situation, which says much about him/her). No one is trying to force people to accept gays, we're just trying to get the law to accept gays (and America is, after all, a nation of laws, not a nation of men). Third, it assumes that when we're talking about rights, we're talking about a zero sum game. This is only true if one makes it so. There are many people on the other side of this issue who see it as all-or-nothing and gay people having any rights is seen by them as a loss of their own rights. They are categorically unwilling to see LGBT people as equals in any way. Only our abject subjugation will suit them. Relegating people to second class citizenship is not a right, nor is it an American value.

#1: To clarify it's actually 70+ nations that ban homosexuality (I forget where I heard that so I can't cite it offhand). Regardless, saying that the U.S. is better on this issue than other countries (or better than this country has been in the past) does not address the fact that there are still massive amounts of homophobia today in America. When kids are getting bullied by their peers to the point that they despair of life, when someone can be fired merely for being LGBT, when parents are throwing their kids out just for being gay, and so forth, we have lots of problems. The responder has set the bar extremely low to the point it may as well not even exist. While it's certainly a good thing that you can't be jailed solely because of being LGBT (unlike most of Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere), we should raise the bar higher than that. 

If America is going to live up to the promise of being the land of the free where there is liberty and justice for all, then equal rights (in this specific case for the LGBT community) are a must. Anything less, and everything that millions have fought and died for (whether in the streets in America or on battlefields abroad) is naught but hollow words. Personally, I would not have it so.

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