(Editor's note: This Letter to the Editor is addressed to Ken Derringer, a straight man and LGBT ally whose own Letter to the Editor was published Monday by San Diego Gay & Lesbian News. Derringer raised the issue of tolerance after many in the LGBT community criticized Chick-fil-A after the company president acknowledged that he spent corporate profits to support anti-gay activism.)
Dear Ken Derringer,
It was with great interest that I read your recent Letter to the Editor in San Diego Gay and Lesbian News. I would like to take this opportunity to respond to the points you’ve made, point out what I consider to be some fundamental misconceptions on your part and try to explain in detail why gays and lesbians are so angry at those who oppose marriage equality, particularly when a corporation like Chick-fil-A gets itself involved in the matter.
There are two parts of your letter which I would like to address. First is this quote for you:
Tolerance from the gay community has ended, yet the gay community expect others to be tolerant of them or they get ostrasized, boycotted etc. ... the very thing the Gay community used to get "full on" years back, they are now doing to those who disagree with them.
I hear this very frequently from conservatives, religious people, etc. “The gays are being just as intolerant because they won't take a different opinion." Therein lies the fundamental flaw in the argument: There is a difference between passive opposition to something and active influence in policies when can actively hurt people’s lives or keep them from having the same, fair slice of the pie that everyone else gets.
The issue of marriage equality is quite different. First off, for every person who sits at home and passively thinks same-sex marriage is bad, there may well be a larger group or organization out there who actively works, lobbies, pressures, etc. to keep people from having equality in marriage. Some of these organizations include violent rhetoric in their arguments -- that gays should be killed, put in pens until they die or that what they consider an equal chance of a decent life with the person they love is like child molestation and bestiality. And people who say these things have listeners -- meaning somewhere someone will take those words literally -- that gay kid is evil, OK to beat him up. That gay couple is applying for a house. Let's turn them down. Or most important: This gay couple deserves less rights than a straight couple do.
Make no mistake about it -- “your” Chick-fil-A has contributed to a number of organizations listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as hate groups.
So these groups make it their business to actively work so that people of the same sex have less advantages than they do – economically, culturally, socially. They want to limit what others can do in something that will make no difference to their own lives what-so-ever. Make no mistake, no heterosexual marriage has ever been effected by gay marriage. And the “assaults” on marriage continue unabated: massive divorces, three-week weddings, infidelity, pre-marital sex and others. But we see attacks on these acts so much more rarely.
So we have a group of people who ACTIVELY want to strip others of rights. Now, if I disagree with someone who is anti-gay marriage, guess what, nothing changes – they keep all of their rights, can marry whomever they like of the opposite sex. They can leave the discussion offended by a blog comment. A gay or lesbian person can leave with a dying partner of 20-40-60 years and have no ability to give him/her benefits under federal law.
Take Sally Ride, seen as a national hero and icon, a symbol of the modern woman’s movement. A trailblazer. But it turns out she's a lesbian. So she deserves less than a woman who is not? She doesn't deserve the ability to get to her partner of 27 years the benefits that a straight male astronaut could give his wife? That is the crux of it: the “anti” side is about taking away rights, the “pro” side is not.
The other thing I object to in your letter:
The Gay community has attacked a business of people who love gay people, but, they are also deeply rooted in the Bible and its belief system, they vocally made a statement according to their faith.
Can I please address this “deeply rooted in the bible” BS? These are relationships that existed in the Bible and were part of “traditional” marriage:
-- Marriage to multiple wives
-- Obligation to marry one’s rapist
-- Girls marrying at around age 13
-- A wife + female slaves/concubines
-- A marriage imposed upon slaves
-- Obligation to marry one’s brother after his death
-- Death for adultery by the woman, etc. etc.
That’s the “traditional” marriage in the Bible.
The following are relationships today that would be (nearly) impossible in the Bible, many punishable by death:
-- Straight couples having sexual relations and never marrying
-- Couples who chose never to have children
-- People seeking different sexual partners every week
-- Elderly people who can’t have children marrying
-- Three-way relationships, say woman + 2 men
-- Marriages based solely on love and not arranged
-- People of the same sex living together and having sexual relationships
-- A woman getting a divorce
These are just a few. So as you can see, the world is very, very different from the Biblical world in terms of relationships. All of these changes have occurred since Biblical times. Not to mention the massive changes in the 20th century alone: Wife can say no to husband's sexual advances, can choose birth control, has a share in the marital property, etc. But yet people want a strict interpretation of the "gay marriage" part of things while all other aspects of marriage have changed many, many ways since Biblical times.
And let’s not stop there. Want to talk about other things deeply rooted in the Bible? Here’s my personal favorite:
Exodus 35:2. For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death.
So Ken, this is deeply rooted in the Bible. Anyone who has ever worked on the Sabbath must be killed. Period. That includes you if you ever have and anyone you know. It doesn't mention economic need or a change it society since then. It just makes that statement. Oh, and one more thing, the original Sabbath was once Saturday, so on what day do we kill people? "But, but...", you will say, "those were different circumstances..." Yes, and so too are the circumstances of marriage and society and work.
So bottom line, Ken, you have a group of people, including the head of Chick-fil-A who actively want to take away equal rights from people or keep them from getting them. Why? Based on an image of “traditional” marriage that does not account for how marriage was in the Bible then and now. Oh and they want to apply certain “deeply rooted” Biblical principles yet still want to see whom the Kardashians may be screwing this week.
To sum up: Disagreeing with gay marriage – contributing to a movement which ACTIVELY takes away rights. Disagreeing with the anti-gay marriage folks = not taking ANYTHING away from them at all, their rights and benefits under the law remain intact.
Still love your Chick-fil-A?
(Editor’s note: Gladkov is the blogger name for the author, who asked that his real name not be used, just as “Ken Derringer” did not want his real name used.)