The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

Smiting the smiteable since 2005

Gay Rights: A Fight that Cannot Truly be Won

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""The Supremes have decided about gay marriage along very predictable ideological  lines and — if you’ll excuse an unfortunate metaphor — the butt hurt is strong in some. Some of my conservative friends are in a funk, convinced they are doomed to irrelevancy for eternity. Others are — again, excuse the metaphor — taking the intransigent “The straight shall rise again” approach. Neither of these positions are true and what’s more, neither of them are very cogent.

Gay supporters, forget the notion the fight is over. Gay marriage may now be simply marriage, but that doesn’t mean truly equal rights. Depending on the state, legally married queer folk can still be fired or have benefits denied. Systemic discrimination will live on. People who won’t live next door to “one of those” or that drop a vicious remark or intentional slight abound. They won’t go away…ever. People are like that. You can legislate discrimination. You can’t legislate human emotions, no matter how hard you try.

Resist and Reject!

Unsurprisingly, some people will resist to the point of defying the law. Presidential  hopeful Mike Huckabee (Remember when he was the moderate?) takes an interesting approach for someone who wants to pledge to defend the Constitution, “I will not acquiesce to an imperial court” I will, “resist and reject judicial tyranny.

This die-hard approach dooms the country to years of expense and pain and the march toward gay freedom will be the same as every other civil rights issue — people waging a quixotic delaying action until it goes away. Just as we have laws against racial discrimination, it is still here. Fifty years from now we will be arguing over whether we should take the rainbow flag down.

I’d like to believe that giving dissenters some time and kindness to come around. However, 60 years of experience with humans leaves me skeptical.

Resistance comes from lack of knowledge, religious belief, or hate, but mostly it it is a pathological fear of change. You don’t change fear of change, you learn to work with it. Speaking rationally to the irrational is a non-starter.

Resist and Accept

If you are afraid, take baby steps. Concentrate on the real lack of impact on you. That part isn’t changing. If you can stomach it, learn more about that which you cannot change. Finally, work on the hate (or if you prefer, “intense dislike”). I’d wager your fear is so strong you may never make it this far, just as someone with a morbid fear of clowns won’t seek out Barnum and Bailey.

If you can’t leap this last hurdle, remember you don’t have to give up hate. You are Constitutionally allowed it (within reason). Just go back to square one and remember your life isn’t changing in any practical way. You can continue to feel and act as you do right now. You can still rise each morning and believe Earth will be smitten beyond survival. However, don’t expect people to magically start agreeing with you or holding protests in support of your First Amendment rights. That is as impossible and irrational as you holding a gay marriage rally for them.

Gay supporters, like it or not, you need to live with these people and they are entitled to their beliefs. It is not your responsibility to change their fear or their lives. You can lecture them, present facts, point out all the conflicting biblical and constitutional points you want. You can be kind and understanding and turn all four of your cheeks. They will be as likely to change as Bernie Sanders joining the Young Republicans.

They will hate you. They will offend you. That is not desirable, but it is their right. Accept that right, but not the hate. Embrace the hate and make it the engine of change. Let them talk, but respond with Martin Luther King-style action.

There are things we can change and things we can’t. Do what you can to make the world a better place, but accept your limits. Just do it on your own, rational terms. This issue will never be “won”. There is an inexhaustible supply of disagreements and the disagreeable. It is simply the natural order of things.



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  1. Asaam Vartanian

    Sage words, as usual, Jack.

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