Opposing gay marriage does kinda make you a crypto-racist

Jonathan Rauch, who’s a smart guy, wrote something decidedly un-smart about gay marriage the other day. (My title is a play on his title.)

Rauch was writing about the (apparently ongoing for some people) brouhaha surrounding Mozilla’s then-new CEO, Brendan Eich, who had donated $1,000 to the Proposition 8 campaign in California in 2008.

Prop 8 was the successful state constitutional amendment that repealed the civil right to marriage for gay couples in California, and Prop 8 was intended to dissolve 18,000 already-performed legal marriages of gay couples.  Prop 8 was a uniquely vicious beast.

Gay conservatives joined other Republicans in expressing their outrage over the fact that Eich resigned after open rebellion from Mozilla’s own staff, and board of directors (half the board resigned in protest).  It was a violation of Eich’s “freedom of speech,” we were told to judge his workplace performance by his private speech or actions.

Mozilla has announced a new logo to coincide with the hire of Cliven Bundy.

Mozilla has announced a new logo to coincide with the hire of Cliven Bundy.

No such outrage spewed forth from conservatives, gay or otherwise, when rancher/squatter Cliven Bundy was attacked for his “free speech” about “the negro,” when Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling allegedly told his girlfriend he didn’t want her bringing African-American guests to his basketball games, or when RadiumOne CEO Gurbaksh Chahal was fired following a domestic violence conviction (and while domestic violence isn’t free speech, it is private action that has little to do with running a high-tech company).

Now don’t get me wrong, I think in all of the above cases, employees, potential customers, and the public at large should be concerned. By Brendan Eich’s defenders don’t.  They think that what you do in private has nothing to do with your job running a company.  Yet their ire was muted when the victims of the CEOs were other than gay.

But what’s really troubling about Rauch’s latest piece is how most of the arguments could have been written by a religious right bigot.  Rauch’s overriding tenet is that it’s wrong to compare the battle for marriage equality (gay marriage) to the fight to strike down miscegenation laws that banned blacks and whites from intermarrying. Here’s why you shouldn’t compare the two, according to Rauch:

1. Marriage has always been gendered.

Rauch argues that gays are pushing the envelope further than inter-racial marriage advocates ever did, because at least marriage was already opposite sex, whereas gays want to make it same-sex:

Assuredly, racist norms have been imposed upon marriage in many times and places, but as an extraneous limitation. Everyone understood that people of different races could intermarry, in principle. Indeed, that was exactly why racists wanted to stop it, much as they wanted to stop the mixing of races in schools. In both intent and application, the anti-miscegenation laws were about race, not marriage.

An extraneous limitation?  Everyone understood that people of different races “could intermarry”?  Where did he grow up?  When I grew up in Chicago in the 1960s, society at large made it pretty clear to me that I absolutely should not grow up to marry someone black (or Jewish for that matter), and the admonition wasn’t a simple cultural asterisk.  For many, racism was (is) based on the notion that black people are genetically inferior, they are sub- human beings. In the same way Jews have historically been slurred as long-nosed, horned, and blood-sucking. And gays were slammed as diseased pedophiles.

So, no, you couldn’t racially intermarry in many parts of America any more than you could marry your dog.  And I think you’d have been hard pressed to find a white racist who felt better about his daughter marrying a black guy than a white woman.  You’d have been disowned either way.

2. Religion, unlike racism, is constitutionally protected, and opposition to gay marriage has deep religious roots.

Rauch argues that racism doesn’t have deeply religious roots, but opposition to gays does:

The anti-gay “clobber texts” in the Bible, though overemphasized by homophobes, are really there.

Yes, and racism has deep religious roots as well.  In fact, the story of Noah was used to justify racism against Africans.

Oh, but there’s more.  Via Pastor Henry Brinton writing at USA Today we learn of a few whopper clobber-texts in the Bible regarding slavery:

In the 1860s, Southern preachers defending slavery also took the Bible literally. They asked who could question the Word of God when it said, “slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling” (Ephesians 6:5), or “tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect” (Titus 2:9). Christians who wanted to preserve slavery had the words of the Bible to back them up.

The preachers of the North had to be more creative, but they, too, argued God was on their side. Some emphasized that the Union had to be preserved so that the advance of liberty around the world would not be slowed or even stopped. One Boston preacher, Gilbert Haven, sermonized, ” If America is lost, the world is lost.”

The argument that racism doesn’t have deeply religious roots, in America at least, is historically wrong.

So how does Rauch distinguish America’s strong religious objection to blacks versus its strong religious objection to gays?

Here again, racism is a different story. The defenders of anti-miscegenation laws in the 1960s claimed to have God on their side, but it was evident that they were distorting and abusing the tenets of their faith, not exercising them.

Evident to whom exactly?  It wasn’t evident to some rather devoutly religious people who held slaves for hundreds of years and justified the oppression of their fellow-man using the good book. It’s only “evident” in 2014, and even then you’d probably get some disagreement from some in the south.

Rauch’s final point is a doozy

3. There is no political emergency.

Rauch’s third reason why it’s a different (read: lesser) civil right to be gay:

By the early 1960s, black Americans had experienced two centuries of slavery, another century of Jim Crow, and a Southern campaign of “massive resistance” to all ordinary political steps toward integration. It was painfully clear that ordinary politics was blocked by a regime of systematic violence, intimidation, and corruption. The racists who loosed dogs and fire hoses on children were capable of anything; nothing short of a full-scale national assault on racism could work. We would put troops on the streets if we had to.

Today gay Americans’ situation could not be more different.

Sure, things are different if you’re white, a man, living in NY, SF, LA or DC, have money, aren’t transgender, and a few other “buts” that might change the equation entirely.

Matthew Shepard.

Matthew Shepard.

And even then, suggesting that even gay white males have (had) it easy is a lie.  I’d decided by age 15 or so that I’d kill myself by the time I was 30, as it would by then become obvious that I wasn’t going to marry a woman, and thus must be gay.  “Knowing” that family would disown me, and I’d never be able to keep a job once my employer knew the truth, I’d come to the logical conclusion that I’d simply kill myself.

Call me crazy, but that kind of logic sounds like an emergency to me.

Then there’s our government, which was willing to let gay people die not 30 years ago.  That was kind of an emergency too.

So while I’m gratified at the progress we’ve had recently, that progress is not universal, it is not enjoyed by every man and woman in our community wherever they live.  Not to mention, tell me how easy it is to be openly-gay in the black community, or openly-transgender in America at large.

And putting that aside, what was the “political emergency” necessitating the striking down of miscegenation laws in 1967?  If civil rights are simply about stopping violence, then inter-racial marriage wasn’t any more an “emergency” than gay marriage — nor were civil rights dealing with employment or public accommodations.

I’m not writing this as a “Brutus was an honorable man” kind of back-stab to Rauch– he is a good writer and a sharp thinker.  But this piece reads like it was written to justify something he simply doesn’t really believe.

Rauch’s final point: Things are going well for us, so don’t compare racism to homophobia.

Rauch concludes:

As was true for women’s rights advocates two generations ago, politics and persuasion are working, and working well.

Yeah, well talk to women’s right advocates today and ask them how well things are going in non-emergency land.

More Rauch:

Gays in Nazi Germany were considered a threat to German purity. The Nazis arrested 100,000 men, with 10,000 to 15,000 sent to concentration camps to die.

Gays in Nazi Germany were considered a threat to German purity. The Nazis arrested 100,000 gay men, with 10,000 to 15,000 sent to concentration camps to die.

Gay-rights advocates thus do not need or want emergency measures. We need time and voice to finish making our case. There are no dogs or fire hoses in our way. In that respect, the race analogy is not only misleading, it is counterproductive.

Well, there are no dogs or fire hoses standing in the way of African-Americans today either, so are they no longer permitted to invoke the civil rights movement, because “obviously,” without the dogs and hoses, they must have things pretty good now?  (And, for the record, we gays might not have had dogs and hoses, but forced lobotomies come to mind, as does a thing we like to call the Holocaust.)

Protesters outside the Supreme Court, and across from the US Congress, for the oral arguments on the gay rights cases involving DOMA and Proposition 8 in March, 2013. © John Aravosis 2013

Protesters outside the Supreme Court, and across from the US Congress, for the oral arguments on the gay rights cases involving DOMA and Proposition 8 in March, 2013. © John Aravosis 2013

I really bristle at people who pull the race card against us when talking about civil rights. While it’s a fair point to argue that perhaps in some communities comparing racism and homophobia might not be as effective a message point as it would be in other communities.  Maybe. And I’m the first to argue that we should use whatever message works best, and ditch whatever doesn’t. But I don’t think that’s what’s going on here.

I don’t think people are simply saying that this argument doesn’t work as well as others. I fear that some gay people simply think less of us as gay people, and that’s why they think we shouldn’t compare gays and blacks, because they think African-Americans are worthy of the civil rights moniker and we simply are not.

But you know who did like to compare racism and homophobia? Coretta Scott King.


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  • icantbeliveyou

    the problem is, until I got to “What?” I can see that as being whats considered a “logical” argument by people on that side of the fence to defend their position. lets forget that history tells us that marriage existed before the inception of Christianity (Egypt). Look up the mental gymnastics that the MI AG did to defend MCL 5551.1 without religious support.

  • icantbeliveyou

    Hey as the republicans say “that’s the free market at work”. this is the no holds bared policy they want to have for the economy. To whine that you can be a bigot and enable hate of a group without having any reaction to said bigotry is ludicrous, you just can’t be punished or jailed for saying it. people around you are still allowed to not associate with you. I don’t agree with the WBC, I think they are vile hate filled people that hopefully, if there is any universal justice, they will pay for the pain they have caused. Do I think they should be jailed for just saying what they say ? Nope. That is what free speech is, Should people be forced to work with, enable or hire people from the WBC because the hate they spread is covered in their version of religion .. Nope. I don’t think america is really happy unless there is some group to look down on (race, income, sexuality, gender) now those “lesser” category’s are drying up its making some people feel normal and that is an unwelcome feeling.

  • cleos_mom

    They might be bringing up jumping the broom OOPS, civil unions at this point due to a memory of how well the con worked in 2008. Opposition to marriage equality “but I support civil unions” was gold for politically fleecing the rubes.

  • cleos_mom

    The bottom line is that open racism has become socially unacceptable, while hostility toward gays and its expression via opposition to civil rights is still touted as an “opinion”. The people Rauch and Sullivan are so anxious to curry favor with will come around at precisely the point that it becomes inconvenient for them.

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  • Badgerite

    Good point. Buchanan? Ugh!

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    True enough. I’ve said it before: I do respect the fact Eich has the integrity not to say he’s changed his mind on gay rights and marriage equality, if in fact he hasn’t.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    There is something to be said about those people who chose to be unrepentant bigots, instead of just faking contrition to avoid further scrutiny.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Exactly. For some reason, it was deemed — especially among the ConservaGays — beyond the pale to say, “I think Mozilla shouldn’t appoint this man as CEO. I am going to uninstall their products from my computers.”

    It was never up to anybody but the Mozilla board and Eich himself to decide whether or not he would stay in the job. He became a business liability. He was abysmal at PR. And as I try to keep pointing out but almost nobody notices, word had just come out that Eich had been donating to far right whackadoos dating back to ’92, when he seemed to think Pat Buchanan would make a fine President of the United States. Gay-hating, race-baiting, Holocaust-denying Patrick Buchanan for goodness sake.

    I never thought it was some shrill and unseemly ‘emergency measure’ to say that support for such a man raises all kinds of questions about Eich’s character and ability to lead a company that supposedly believes in divesity.

  • Badgerite

    I think I agree. It’s kind of a fine line balancing act though.
    But certainly the CEO of Mozilla has more ability to ‘call the shots’, as it were, then most other people. Look at that Donald Sterling fool, who they say tries to run the Clippers like a plantation.
    And I think that might be the dividing line between out and out blacklisting versus justified concern. And as I understand it the employees of the company were none to thrilled about having him as the CEO at Mozilla.
    I think that probably had more to do with the company’s decision than anything else. All the LBGT community did was reveal the information about his support for Prop 8. The rest, I think, went on internally within the company. There was not a real boycott or anything, I think. Just concern expressed. And that doesn’t sound to extreme to me.
    Emergency measures like what? Saying you are not pleased with the choice?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Okay — but is opposition to minority civil rights simply a ‘political opinion’? Particularly, as you say, the position involved is one of power over others — Mayor, Governor…or CEO? And particularly given that this individual is willing to make proactive efforts — exercise his power and/or donate money — to make his opinions a reality.

    It’s exactly as you say: A standard job is nothing. But put that position in authority over others and I’d say the bar needs to be set rather higher.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Definitely.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Judge Vaughn Walker in the original Prop 8 case said the same thing about the word ‘marriage’ versus every other substitute term or legal construct.

    I myself have noticed how, in the 8 months or so since my wife and I married in California, even though we’ve been together since ’97 and had a religious marriage ceremony in late ’98, I am much more likely to use that term — “my wife” — publicly, and with a noticeable feeling of pride in using it. Since same sex marriage is becoming more common, it’s doesn’t raise the eyebrows it used to, either.

    Spouse works in a trice and in more clinical situations, but ‘partner’ — as we had when we were domestic partners under California law for many years — had no particular emotional depth to it.

    I’ve seen that proposal you mention many times now, “Let’s just have civil unions” — to which my reply remains, “Fine, convince the heterosexuals give up ‘marriage’ first, make that the only legal arrangement available for anyone, and have the words ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ become meaningless. Then maybe we can talk. But you’ll never get them to do so, so stop trying to sell civil unions to us.”

  • Badgerite

    Yeah. People forget that a lot of influential types told Harvey Milk to ‘pipe it down’ too. It is no more valid now then it was then.
    I’m on the line about this one. Because a person’s political opinions costing them their job is a little to close to political ‘blacklisting’ activity for comfort. Targeting a company is one thing. Targeting an individual for having an opinion is something else again. I think that is where Rauche is coming from.
    I think the phrase “emergency measures” is not a good choice of words.
    But then, as John notes, you see the reaction to Donald Sterling’s PRIVATE remarks, and it is hard not to see a disparity in treatment.
    Maybe it is the difference between targeting a Bull Connor versus targeting some anonymous person on the street who has an opinion.
    A Donald Sterling can actually effectuate his bigotry in society. And by the same token, the head of a large corporate entity like Mozilla can as well.

  • http://hunteratrandom.blogspot.com/ rmthunter

    I don’t know that I’d calling it belittling us so much as trying to downplay the importance of the whole movement. I generally try to avoid using the word, but in Rauch’s stance we’re seeing privilege in action.

  • http://hunteratrandom.blogspot.com/ rmthunter

    The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court made a very important observation in its decision in Goodridge: the word “marriage” itself has a cultural resonance and import that no other word, and hence no other arrangement, can equal. That’s one reason I will always oppose those who call for handing “marriage” over to the churches (aside from the fact that the Christian church didn’t even recognize marriage as a sacrament until the beginning of the 13th century) and leaving “civil unions” or some such nonsense for the rest of us.

    The “Christian” right is correct on one point: the word itself is what the fight is about; they don’t want our relationships to have that kind of validation.

  • http://hunteratrandom.blogspot.com/ rmthunter

    I can’t really take Rauch seriously — I’ve always considered him to be of the “wait until the grown-ups tell us we can have our rights” camp, and the more I read of his commentaries on marriage and gay rights in general, the more I’m convinced his thinking is fairly shallow.

    Good take-down on this one. It seems, from this post, that his thinking has ventured farther into through the looking glass territory.

  • Ninja0980

    I have a liberal friend who is married to a homocon (they’ve been together since college) and I honestly don’t know how they make it work.
    Other then his husband, his disdain for most gays and anyone on the left could put a lot of the tea baggers to shame.
    The rest of your post is also dead on. They spend more time attacking the left and making excuses for the homophobia in their own party then anything else,

  • MelissaNY

    “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and
    he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference
    with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The
    fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the
    races to mix.”
    This is fiction. The fact is we were all propagated on one continent, as we migrated our genes mutated to better suit the climate we moved to.
    Those that use the bible to support slavery should know that anyone not of noble blood was a potential slave, black and white alike: perhaps they had forgotten that on the boat ride over. Wives were slaves to their husbands into the 1990′s unless you had a more “modern” husband. You could beat the crap out of your wife as long as the police didn’t see it there was nothing they could do and that was in NY I could only imagine how it would have been in the south.
    I digress I have yet to hear a truly valid argument against a gay marriage. I don’t know if any statistics are available but I would think any children they have would be more likely be raised in a loving two family home.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    And let’s face facts here: Eich was horrible at interviews. Grandiose, egotistical, and while he said he’d uphold Mozilla’s diversity policies, he refused at every turn to say he personally agreed with them.

    He could have made the Prop 8 donation go away simply by saying, “Yeah, about that — I’m sorry. I don’t know what I was thinking. I regret the donation and believe in the right established here in California for same sex couples to marry. That’s in keeping with Mozilla’s policies, too, which I agree with.”

    Instead, he didn’t. And then came the news he’d been donating exclusively to far right politicians going back to the Pat Buchanan presidential campaign, which was only going to raise more questions.

  • Ninja0980

    I guess it’ll be known soon enough.
    It seems stupid to me though.
    Radinovich barely won and turning off the people he needs to come out and vote for him seems like a really, really stupid move.

  • Circ09

    I miss Pam Spaulding’s voice so much! Oppression Olympics is what keeps going through my brain.

  • StraightGrandmother

    You know he marries in DC to a man and lives in Legal Recognition Maryland.
    Of course no damned emergency for him!
    That part ticks me off, “No Emergency”
    People will die without ever having had the chance to marry the one they Love, the will die without ever experiencing true freedom.

  • StraightGrandmother

    and electro shock treatments to “cure” homosexuality.

  • Mark_in_MN

    I’ve heard no local reaction to their signing that statement, but I haven’t actively sought out any reactions, either.

  • Ninja0980

    I know you’re from MN (name is a dead give away.)
    What has been the reaction of the LGBT community there to the two legislators who signed this letter?
    From what I’ve heard, the DLF rep hasn’t gotten met with applause over this.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    From the theatrical even “8″, actors reading the plaintiffs’ own words from the Prop 8 case. Matt Bomer gets to explain why civil unions or domestic partnerships are sufficient starting at 0:45:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0enIHua95-0

  • ericxdc

    regarding item 2, the difference between racism and marriage equality because the latter is based on “deeply held biblical beliefs”: (from the Virginia judge’s opinion in his original 1959 ruling against Virginia and Richard Loving):

    “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

  • Marco Luxe

    Remember it was the board that exerted pressure on Eich. They’re his bosses. He had plenty of chances to demonstrate leadership viz, concern for the feelings of his constituents. His statements fell flat by every measure. The Peter Principle in action.

  • Mark_in_MN

    Ruach’s argument is self-undermining, at least in part. It’s almost too easy. He says that the racists knew that interracial marriage was possible, and that’s why they wanted to stop it. Well, if anti-gay activists want to stop same-sex marriage, they must know that it is, in principle, possible.

    And those “clobber passages”? I’ve never heard anyone claim that they weren’t there. They are there. The question is not their presence but their meaning and applicability. But John is right to point out the most biting problem with his argument there: racism has also been given a religious basis by many. Just because religious belief and practice are, thankfully, constitutionally protected doesn’t mean that those religious beliefs are not subject to criticism and critique, much less constitutes some sort of (non-valid) argument against calling out opposition to marriage equality for what it is.

    The first two points could be seen as about ideas or location, or, if you prefer, content. The last point could be read as an argument about strategy. There might be some valid points here with respect to strategy. I can see how an analogy to racism might make it harder for some people to listen to our case. But the argument from that is for some strategic forbearance in making use of the analogy. Ruach’s thesis is that the analogy is (mostly) wrong: that opposition to same-sex marriage is not like racism. A strategic argument doesn’t support such a claim.

  • Thom Watson

    Eich wasn’t out there shouting about how “God Hates Fags”, but he was funding people who said something much worse

    True. But, moreover, it’s not really about speech, though the 58 signatories of the letter would have us believe that it is. Prop 8 was an effort to repeal civil rights. It was an effort to enshrine discrimination based on one particular moralistic view into a state constitution. Supporting Prop 8 is an admission that you disagree that the country is a constitutional republic, that you agree that the majority may tyrannize an unpopular minority, and that you believe even civil rights are subject to majority whim. Prop 8 wasn’t just anti-gay, it was inherently anti-American. Regardless of which minority is to be impacted, and which right is to be stripped from them, an effort to do so — and an action to support such an effort financially — is heinous, and that someone who holds such anti-constitutional beliefs that are antithetical to our nation’s most deeply held principles might not be a good fit to lead a company that expresses values of tolerance should be a no-brainer.

  • LEFTLEANINGTX

    The speed and breathe of the overturn of gay marriage is leaving them breathless.
    The loss of the long fought battle is hard for them.

    Where once they felt entitled to abuse gay people, now they are afraid of them.
    Hell hath no fury kind of thing

  • http://musephotos.wordpress.com/ GarySFBCN

    I just read Rauch’s essay – what a load of crap! Your response is good, John. I’d add that there was no political emergency in the Loving v Virginia case.

  • LEFTLEANINGTX

    Simply put, the issue is subjective so if your a gay person or gay rights leaning you completely understand what happened and think his treament was fair.
    If your not gay rights leaning they you think it’s an overreach (with a few notable exceptions)

    Personally, I don’t think that white male judges on the Bench are in an insightful enough position to determine if racism still exist because they don’t understand first hand the plight the minorities are subject to.
    Likewise I feel it improper for a straight males or women to make the determination of what is appropriate reactions for gay people, who are in the mist of trying to obtain their right, because of the lack of understand of gay plight.

    It’s very much “Walk a mile in my Cole Hans” kind of thing.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    The saddest thing about the civil unions position is they should know better. They should realize that separate is never equal, and as soon as gay and lesbian couples were consigned to civil union status, the gay-haters would immediately set about carving out exceptions for recognizing CUs.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Rauch seems to have both huge blind spots and a sieve-like memory for history.

    As I recounted in comments some weeks back, my father’s family objected to his marriage to an Irish girl — because his people, primarily from eastern Europe, didn’t want to mix with ‘those sort’. As recently as the 1970s and 80s, it remained controversial for mixed race couples to exist at all, despite Loving v. Virginia in 1967.

    But yeah, Rauch completely ignores the ‘deep religious roots’ for slavery, segregation, and anti-miscegenation laws. Nobody (or few, at least) among the progressives said we needed to slow down, so as to respect the ‘deeply held’ religious feelings of racial bigots.

    It also infuriates me the way it is conflated, that “religious = anti-gay” when nothing could be further from the truth. Just as there were plenty of religious people against slavery and segregation and discrimination, there are plenty of religious folks who do not hate gay people, and whose tenets of faith are inclusive and tolerant. Yet the anti-gay bigots proclaim over and over that to be pro-gay is somehow universally an attack on all religions.

    And as I remarked below, those who counsel patience and waiting usually are young enough not to feel mortal. Justice delayed is justice denied.

  • Jay

    Rauch is really disgusting. He and David Blankenhorn are great pals. They at one point said that we should stop demanding marriage and settle for a federal civil unions law.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    My wife is in her early 70s. But then I look to the real pioneers and heroes of the LGBT movement — Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin — and all but shout, “Some of us do not have time to wait anymore!”

    As it was, Del just barely lived long enough to finally marry the woman with whom she’d shared her life for more than half a century.

    I have no respect at all for the anti-gay bigots, and even less for those who say, “Slow down, wait, be patient, don’t offend…”

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Nicely done, Phred.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    When I read the words from Rauch, ‘emergency measures’ what I heard was “stop being so shrill and hysterical you silly gay people!” In other words, belittling us.

  • Pac Bob

    If that’s the case, then I’d totally agree. But that didn’t seem to be the primary motivation by the people who pressured him to step down, at least in my own, possibly inaccurate, observations.
    Either way, thanks for taking the time to read such a huge monster of a post. I kind of tend to be too wordy, ehehe…

  • Mike_H

    I dunno — give that one of the things you have to do to be an effective CEO is to put out firestorms, and Eich did a particularly *terrible* job of reacting to his first firestorm, I think there’s an argument to be made that he was asked to resign because of incompetence.

  • Pac Bob

    I’ve also always had an issue with the wording of that phrase. I think it’s much more accurate to say that one did not (consciously) choose to be this way, since I have yet to learn of any evidence that suggests that people are born with ideas of gender identification and different ideals of beauty for different gender identities, which are often vary with at least some degree with culture. If we aren’t born knowing what is considered a masculine, feminine, or some combination form of sexually attractive characteristic, and since there is no evidence (that I know of) that suggests that babies who grow up to be heterosexual males are more enthusiastic about breastfeeding than babies who grow up to be female (or fall asleep easier in the arms of a specific gender, or any other such characteristic) then I think it’s safe to say we are all born asexual, until evidence suggests otherwise.
    I also agree that the fact that something is a conscious choice or an unconscious behavior has no direct bearing upon how positive or negative the result will be on society.

  • Ninja0980

    Nope, according to Raunch’s logic, couples who wish to marry before one of them dies or whom have family that can’t hang on, that’s nothing.
    And we’re supposed to be understanding of those who put us through that because it’s not hateful because they are simply following Jeses,Allah etc.
    It sickens me, it really does.

  • Ninja0980

    Vermont accepted the idea of civil unions so well Howard Dean had to wear a bullet proof vest.
    Several of the legislators who voted yes on the legislation had to have round the clock police protection.
    When push comes to shove, the bigots have fought just as hard against civil unions, domestic partnerships or anything else that gives us any kinds of rights.
    Most of the marriage bans also include bans on other forms of relationships as well.
    More to the point, seperate but equal has never, EVER worked.

  • Pac Bob

    If he’s working to put forth those views into action instead of keeping them to himself, then I agree. Religious rights, business rights, property rights, or any kind of rights do not give one carte blanche. That said, I don’t think it’s right to punish someone for merely thinking something (no matter how absurd or terrible) as long as that thought remains inside their head.
    As for the issue of intelligence, I don’t know him personally, so I can’t say I have any idea of his I.Q., but I think it’s important to remember that intelligence doesn’t necessarily imply wisdom.

  • 4th Turning

    Even angelic.

    “The effect of Shepard’s life and his family’s activism came into sharp focus on Oct. 22, 2009, when the United States Congress passed The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, adding gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability to existing hate crimes laws. On Oct. 28, 2009, President Obama signed the act, the first ever piece of pro-LGBT federal legislation, into law.

    On a personal note, the murder of Matthew Shepard was a defining moment for many LGBT people of my generation. As a young gay man, I looked at the pictures of his face and could see my own. His life and death inspired me, as I’m sure it did many others, to become involved in the fight against hate, bigotry and inequality.

    It is important that we as a movement and as a society look back at our history, even dark times like the murder of Matthew Shepard. Learning from our past, seeing how keeping a memory alive can effect such dramatic change, and how a life can inspire generations are important moments for reflection.”

    Waymon Hudson
    LGBT rights activist

  • Pac Bob

    Honestly, I don’t think it’s a good thing to give money to anti-gay organizations, and I do believe that opposition to gay marriage is, at best, a strong indication of a lack of serious objective, critical-thinking on the issue, or a willingness to deprive someone of a right that one would not wish to be denied for reasons that are not compelling enough to be rational. I also don’t it’s good that the double-standard exists between opposition to homosexuality and opposition to desegregation or other historically hot-button issues that seem simple today.

    That said, I’m afraid I’m one of the people that disagrees with the position that trying to get the former CEO fired for his previous contributions was a good idea, though I fully admit that I could be wrong. I mean, I completely think that it was not a good thing for him to do, but I don’t think that fact in itself makes this a wise decision. The reason that I generally tend to vote liberally is that I believe that the number of rights that we limit “We the People” should be minimized, and only if allowing that right does more good than harm to society, should it be controlled, or withheld all-together. 1,000$ is about 0.002564% of the total money spent FOR prop 8, which turns out to be about 6 votes, (estimated by the fact that there was 39$ million for 7,001,084 votes). That’s not a huge impact on society. Compare that to losing one’s job, and getting a whole lot of unwanted attention. What he did was probably not a good thing, but the response was disproportionate. (And yes, I would hold this view regardless of whatever organization he donated money to as long as it remained 1,000$.) In politics, 1 grand is little more than an opinion, and I don’t think people should be punished for their opinion alone.

    The second reason is more objective. In my own potentially flawed observations, people who vehemently attempt to stigmatize the lgbt community will go after whatever “ammo” they can get. For people without strong views on this subject, generally, things like “the right to fire someone based on their sexual orientation” seem petty and don’t have much of an impact. But things that can be easily taken out of context, such as this situation, have much more of an impact, and could potentially give validity to these people in the eyes of the undecided, regardless of how accurate and/or logical the portrayal of this event may be. Getting this man fired says less that “non-heterosexual people are just as worthy as respect and dignity of other people” as it does “unpopular opinions can get you fired”, and it is the first message that is the most important, at least to me.

    Despite all this, I do think it is fair to say that if he were more aggressive in attempts to bar the rights of the lgbt community, such as using a substantial chunk of his funds rather than one day’s earnings to support these organizations, or worked tirelessly opposing equal opportunity and treatment in the company, or something of this magnitude, then I’d be comfortable saying that getting this man fired was the right thing to do. However, as it stands, it really feels more like of a case of an eye for an eye to me. But I like I said, I am young and foolish, so I freely admit that I could be wrong.

  • Badgerite

    One or two. He had a beautiful smile.

  • Badgerite

    I have never heard that LBTGs are asking for emergency measures. What they are asking for is equal protection of the laws. And that is something we do in America all the time for all the people. That is the point. They are entitled to the same fullness of life as anyone else and the same protections of law that your average citizen can expect. Private boycotts are within their rights.

  • 4th Turning

    Matthew Wayne Shepard December 1, 1976 (a fellow Sagittarian)-got to wondering how old he would be now if he’d been allowed to have a life…
    Also did a quick check to see if there were many-any-photos on the net of him smiling…
    Glad you decided to stay around for awhile longer. Damn, I wish it were possible to go back in time.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Cute, you had me there for a second :)

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    It’s hilarious to hear civil unions come up as a “compromise” from the right after all these years. Of course civil unions weren’t acceptable back when Vermont passed such a bill. They were against them. And it’s an empty suggestion since it’s not like Republicans are lining up to pass civil unions legislation in all the states that still don’t have gay marriage. Why should we go begging for a compromise when we are getting the whole enchilada?

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I forgot about the lobotomies, just added them in.

  • phred

    You forgot one of the main points: that marriage is for the purpose of having children, and gays can’t reproduce. Before my (opposite gender) wife and I were allowed to marry, we were both given thorough medical examinations to prove that we were capable of producing children, and if we don’t within two years of our marriage, it will be dissolved by the government. Nothing intrusive about that–it’s as God intended. No, adoption doesn’t count. No decent family has adopted children. It’s unnatural.

    What? We didn’t? Well, um BENGHAZI! BENGHAZI!! BENGHAZI!!!

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    And there’s no “emergency”

  • Monophylos Fortikos

    You said it. My answer to the “you CHOSE this” argument is simply, “Does that matter? After all you CHOSE to be a religious bigot; you weren’t born that way. So why does your choice matter more than anyone else’s?”

    Mind you, I don’t think any Jesus freak actually, in their heart of hearts, believes that it’s all just a “lifestyle choice”. Actually I think they believe quite the opposite. All that guff about “choice” is merely a vestige of Christian theology, the dying gasp of the moribund intellectual tradition exemplified by St. Thomas Aquinas that inquired seriously into the nature of sin and free will. Let’s put it this way…if your contemporary American God-botherer really and truly believed in that “choice” business, they’d fully trust an “ex-gay” convert as though he were anyone else. That’s not quite how it works though, is it? It’s more like this: “Congratulations, brother, in being saved in Christ! By the way, I’ll still kill you if I see you anywhere near my children.”

  • jomicur

    As I frequently observe, conservatives think their freedom of religion trumps every other right granted to American citizens in the Constitution. And I emphasize the word THEIR; if you’re not a Christian conservative, not even your freedom of religion matters. Evidently my old constitutional law professor missed the bit that says the Constitution only applies to Christians.

  • AndyinChicago

    Thanks for continuing to write on this. I think that with Eich, Bundy, and Sterling, we’re starting to see clear evidence that bigotry that everyone knew existed will still leach out no matter if we feel that not discussing in respectable outlets it will make it go away. Eich wasn’t out there shouting about how “God Hates Fags”, but he was funding people who said something much worse; not all of us care if anyone’s god hates us, but it’s so much more hateful to imply that gay parents can’t be entrusted with the safety of their own children, something the Prop 8 people did in their advertising. Bigotry is bigotry, and homophobia and racism are siblings if not identical twins.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    It doesn’t take much reading or listening to homocons (if you have the patience and stomach for such activities) to realize just how much they hate gay people and hate being gay. It seems to have stopped a few years back but there used to be rather regular (about every six months) teary, angry diatribes on their blogs about how liberal gays wouldn’t date them in between other rants about how liberals are all traitors who hate America. Now I ask you: why would I date someone who thinks I’m a traitor to my country because I think we are overdue for an increase in the minimum wage? No, the main focus of homocons is on hating liberals. They even blame the Human Rights Campaign (I swear I’m not making this up!) for making the GOP be anti-gay because reasons.

  • jomicur

    Excellent analysis, John. Thanks so much. Every week should start with something this thoughtful. :-)

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    No, but that’s different because reasons!

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    It’s amazing how often the homocons mimic anti-gay religious conservative arguments. It gives you a pretty good idea where they are getting most of their news and information, but it does not excuse their ignorance about either the history of marriage or the history of racism and slavery in our country and elsewhere.

  • oaklandj

    I agree completely. Very well articulated.

  • Jade

    Yes. I’ve always silently cringed at the “I was born this way” argument, not because it’s not true, but because it simply doesn’t matter whether or not we were born this way (we were). What matters is that we aren’t a theocracy and marriage equality is a civil right, period.

    Even if we weren’t born this way (we were), it shouldn’t matter whom we love and want to marry.

  • Ninja0980

    I mentioned this on MG but I’ll mention it here as well.
    My husband’s grandmother wanted to see us get married here in NY state but she never got the chance due to the actions of the bigoted Democrats in the State Senate in 09.
    CT,NH and VT all had equality by this time but she was in no shape to be able to go to any of these places.
    By the time NY got around to passing it in 2011, it was too late. She passed away in 2010.
    One of the most kind and caring people I’ve ever met got denied the chance to see her grandson marry the love of his life due to the bigotry and ignorance of others.
    It was and it still a very bitter pill to swallow for us.
    The idea we’re supposed to be respectful of the people who put us through that pain because of their religious beliefs is a joke.
    This country isn’t a theocracy and these bigots have NO right to impose their beliefs on the rest of us, period.

  • Indigo

    Marriage Equality isn’t exactly about “gay” marriage but about equal access to marriage for everyone regardless of gender and orientation. The arguments put forward by conservative churchianity are misleading because they attempt to hold a monopoly on their notion of a sacramental breeding program and to exclude everyone else. That’s fine inside the confines of their particular cult but it is not only immoral of them to attempt to impose their view on the entire population, it is directly contrary to the Constitution. This isn’t about “gay” marriage, this is about Marriage Equality.

  • Ninja0980

    Exactly, this country isn’t a theocracy and thus people have NO right to impose their religious beliefs on us when it comes to civil law.

  • Jade

    Yeah, I’ve not read a lot of this guy’s work, but he doesn’t come off as very intelligent to me either, not if this is an example of his critical thinking skills.

  • Stev84

    The very idea that it’s ok to be homophobic because it’s just freedom of religion is absurd. Calling him smart is as well.

  • Ninja0980

    You hit the nail on the head John.
    It’s one thing for the Religious Right to rewrite history about the injustices we’ve suffered, it’s quite another to see fellow LGBT’ers and so called allies doing it and justify the bigotry behind it.
    In this country, we have been jailed, lobomotized and forcibly castrated and killed for being LGBT.
    There have been have been too many cases to list where a surviving half of a gay or lesbian couple loses their home or other property because the documents that were supposed to protect them don’t. Or even worse they die alone because their partner has been barred from seeing them.
    The list goes on and on. And they’ve justified all of it by citing religious beliefs.
    And despite what Mr. Raunch, Randy Potts and others state, those that cite religious beliefs often do in fact, hate LGBT people.
    As for Raunch, an article like this shouldn’t be a surprise. After all he and Blackenhorn were pushing for civil unions back in 09 as an acceptable alternative to marriage.
    Never mind the fact bigots fought tooth and nail to not allow those either and only offered them when full equality was on the table.
    Never mind the fact seperate but equal has never worked.
    Raunch ignored all of those facts when he suggested it back in 09, just like he has ignored the history of what we’ve suffered.
    He has the right to freedom of speech, and we have the right to tell him to shove it, period.

  • ed

    Should review of Brendan’s departure from Mozilla be compared with the *impeachment* (also a departure of sort) of state supreme court judges of Iowa (who made gay marriage legal in that state) ? http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/04/us/politics/04judges.html

  • cole3244

    the conservatives (narrow minded) want all the advantages of being con but none of the responsibilities and criticisms.

    they love to call the liberals soft, sensitive, & bleeding hearts but can’t handle being called what they are uncaring, insensitive, prejudiced, and repugnant, you live it deal with it cry babies.

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