(Editor’s note: This blog was first published by Truth Wins Out.)
Science fiction author and anti-gay activist Orson Scott Card is pleading for “tolerance” in advance of the release of the film adaptation of his book Ender’s Game. In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, he said:
Ender’s Game is set more than a century in the future and has nothing to do with political issues that did not exist when the book was written in 1984.
With the recent Supreme Court ruling, the gay marriage issue becomes moot. The Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution will, sooner or later, give legal force in every state to any marriage contract recognized by any other state.
Now it will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute.
Orson Scott Card
In other words, please let’s just tie this up in a bow and pretend it never happened. While Card is correct that Full Faith and Credit will likely be a large part of the undoing of the rest of the marriage bans, his call for “tolerance” is too cute by half. On top of that, gay rights issues certainly existed in 1984 (oh, and there was that other little “AIDS crisis” thing going on), and the issue is in no way “moot” at this point, as discrimination in marriage laws and in employment, housing and other areas are still very much alive and well in all corners of this country.
Shall we review some of the things Card has said over the years about gay people?
For instance, this:
“But homosexual “marriage” is an act of intolerance. It is an attempt to eliminate any special preference for marriage in society—to erase the protected status of marriage in the constant balancing act between civilization and individual reproduction.
So if my friends insist on calling what they do “marriage,” they are not turning their relationship into what my wife and I have created, because no court has the power to change what their relationship actually is.
Instead they are attempting to strike a death blow against the well-earned protected status of our, and every other, real marriage.
They steal from me what I treasure most, and gain for themselves nothing at all. They won’t be married. They’ll just be playing dress-up in their parents’ clothes.
The dark secret of homosexual society—the one that dares not speak its name—is how many homosexuals first entered into that world through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse, and how many of them yearn to get out of the homosexual community and live normally.”
—Orson Scott Card, “Homosexual ‘Marriage’ and Civilization,” 2004
Wow. Jaw-dropping in its stupidity, misinformation and bigotry.
Aja Romano at Salon has collected a children’s treasury of Card’s other statements over the years, as well as a larger overview of his stature and record in the science fiction world. Here are some more of his greatest hits:
1990: Card argued that states should keep sodomy laws on the books in order to punish unruly gays–presumably implying that the fear of breaking the law ought to keep most gay men in the closet where they belonged.
2004: He claimed that most homosexuals are the self-loathing victims of child abuse, who became gay “through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse.”
2008: In 2008, Card published his most controversial anti-gay screed yet, in the Mormon Times, where he argued that gay marriage “marks the end of democracy in America,” that homosexuality was a “tragic genetic mixup,” and that allowing courts to redefine marriage was a slippery slope towards total homosexual political rule and the classifying of anyone who disagreed as “mentally ill:”
“A term that has mental-health implications (homophobe) is now routinely applied to anyone who deviates from the politically correct line. How long before opposing gay marriage, or refusing to recognize it, gets you officially classified as ‘mentally ill.’
Remember how rapidly gay marriage has become a requirement. When gay rights were being enforced by the courts back in the ’70s and ’80s, we were repeatedly told by all the proponents of gay rights that they would never attempt to legalize gay marriage.
It took about 15 minutes for that promise to be broken. …
If a court declared that from now on, ‘blind’ and ‘sighted’ would be synonyms, would that mean that it would be safe for blind people to drive cars?
No matter how sexually attracted a man might be toward other men, or a woman toward other women, and no matter how close the bonds of affection and friendship might be within same-sex couples, there is no act of court or Congress that can make these relationships the same as the coupling between a man and a woman.
This is a permanent fact of nature.”
Card went on to advocate for, literally, a straight people’s insurrection against a pro-gay government:
“[W]hen government is the enemy of marriage, then the people who are actually creating successful marriages have no choice but to change governments, by whatever means is made possible or necessary… Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down….”
To draw a parallel to a recent news story, Orson Scott Card didn’t just say “faggot” one time thirty years ago.
Indeed, he is on the board of the National Organization for Marriage!
Predictably, his plea that we all tolerate his bigotry so that he may make CA$H is falling on deaf ears. Geeks Out, who have launched a campaign called Skip Ender’s Game, has issued a lengthy response to Orson’s whine:
This is not and has never been about a much beloved sci-fi novel. Leaving aside the fact that Card thinks gay civil rights didn’t exist in the mid-80s, which is pretty insulting to the post-Stonewall generation frontline against a little something called AIDS—this is about us, here and now. This is about our community refusing to financially support an extreme anti-gay activist.
Tell families in 37 states where gay marriage is still illegal that it’s a “moot issue.” Tell citizens in Indiana, where it’s now a criminal act for same-sex couples even to apply for a marriage license. Tell that to the Virginians whose governor wants to recriminalize sodomy. I doubt very much children delegitimized and stigmatized by red-state legislatures across the country are kickin’ back with a cold drink to let historical inevitability do the work now that the Supreme Court has ruled on DOMA.
This plea for tolerance is perhaps a bridge too far, especially from someone who characterized gay marriage as “the bludgeon [The Left] use to make sure that it becomes illegal to teach traditional values in the schools,” (2012). There’s nothing more democratic and tolerant than a consumer boycott, rooted in the ideas of free market accountability. Skip Ender’s Game is about doing what all of us do every day—use facts to determine who and what to support with our money.
Orson Scott Card, we can tolerate your anti-gay activism, your right-wing extremism, your campaign of fear-mongering and insults, but we’re not going to pay you for it. You’ve got the right to express your opinions and beliefs any way you choose—but you don’t have a right to our money.
They also have a question for LionsGate Films: How do you cut this guy a check?
After twenty years of despicably virulent homophobia … no. This is just another detestable characterization of LGBT people — that we are intolerant.
Intolerant? Of people who want to lock us up, put us in concentration camps, deny us our civil rights? Intolerant? Are you fucking kidding me?
You want me to be tolerant, Scott? First be one of those people who understands. Or to put it bluntly — get your fucking foot off my neck, then we’ll talk tolerance.
See, Scott — I don’t dislike you. I honestly don’t. I think you’re a very interesting author and you’ve turned out some works I admire. But you’ve made PR Mistake Number One. You’ve sided with hate-mongers. You’ve targeted a minority and you’ve characterized yourself as the righteous warrior. That gives you a short-term gain and a long-term loss. Look up Father Coughlin and Anita Bryant and Kirk Cameron.
Now you’ve made PR Mistake Number Two — instead of honestly and sincerely apologizing for the hurt you have caused others, you have doubled down. You have played the martyr card, arguing that you are the victim.
What this demonstrates is that you have no idea of what the issue really is. It’s about the 1138 rights, privileges, benefits, and obligations attendant to the civil contract of marriage. It’s about social security benefits and inheritance and child custody and joint taxation and deathbed decisions and hospital visitation and adoption and community property and all the other things that you and your wife take for granted. It’s about equality in the eyes of the law.
This is the goal that women set out to achieve when they first demanded the right to vote. This is the goal that Dr. Martin Luther King set out to achieve for African-Americans and other minorities when he started the Montgomery bus boycott. This is the goal that Harvey Milk set out to achieve when he opposed CA’s Prop 6 and when he ran for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
Our nation was founded on the idea that “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (people) are created equal, endowed with certain inalienable rights — and that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Your public statements, Orson Scott Card, put you on the wrong side of that declaration. Until you recognize that your public utterances have been at the service of bigotry and prejudice, there can be no redemption for you in the eyes of the LGBT community. Or anyone else, for that matter.
The backlash Orson Scott Card is facing right now is his own doing. And it’s a shame, as I, a person who has never paid a lick of attention to the genre, have come to understand that Ender’s Game is one of the most brilliant, beloved science fiction novels ever written. It’s one thing to overlook unsavory details of an artist’s life or views, especially in those cases when those views literally have no bearing on the art in question. But in this case, Orson Scott Card has made a personal choice over the decades to be publicly, virulently homophobic, and to use his name and clout to inject insipid anti-gay hatred into the public discourse. LGBT people can do a lot of “tolerating,” but as we have to explain so often, tolerance of active bigotry isn’t tolerance at all.
Find out more about the Skip Ender’s Game campaign and sign their pledge here.