Recently, a Prop 8 Summit was held to gauge the reaction of LGBT activists to placing an initiative on the ballot to overturn Prop 8 as early as 2010. The options, generally, were: (1) Put it on the 2010 ballot; or (2) wait until 2012. I won’t argue the points here as they are exhausting and, ultimately, pointless. The fact remains that a majority has taken away the rights of a minority and the minority should do everything in its power to regain the rights it once had.
I’m one of those people that tends to read comments on blogs and news items to get an idea of what other people think about things before just taking the author’s words for it. I was halted when I stumbled upon this comment:
I am probably one of those 10% swing voters who probably could be persuaded to vote for gay marriage.
But with everything else going on now in our culture and government disasters I really don’t care to see or hear about it for awhile. You folks need to give it a rest and revisit it later when society calms down. I and many others of similar political leanings (right of center) want nothing to do with more Liberal agenda items and will vote against it in 2010 as we did in 2008.
If it is about the customer as a previous poster said, then realize your customer is worn out and tired of being called a bigot, homophobe, racist and troglodyte over your little issue. Realize that in the big picture of our society it is a little issue and needs to go back to the end of the line and wait your turn again. [chasejj on SFGate: Politics Blog : New straw poll of gay marriage leaders: Overturn Prop 8 in 2010, emphasis added]
Essentially, this potential “swing voter” is saying that the rights of humans to participate in contractual agreements are “little issues” compared to other events, and the gays should shut up. If we shut up, we get his/her vote, if we continue, we don’t get the vote. I loathe ultimatums. I have a rule because of them – you give me the ultimatum, you lose. So chasejj: I’m not going to shut up – in fact, I’m going to speak out more now thanks to you. You’ve inspired me to be as loud as possible… louder than I was before… louder than those that outnumber me.
What infuriated me most about the comment, is that it illustrates exactly what it is to be a majority. It represents power and ego. The so-called “swing” voter has told me that they rule us. They have control over our lives, lives which do not affect them, and because our lives do not affect them, our lives are of no importance to them. We are nothing more than a liberal agenda item; we are inhuman. Further, we annoy them and because we annoy them, they will vote against us. They will vote against us just because they can. They will vote against us and flex their muscles and stand atop the mountain and shout down, “YOU ARE NOTHING – I RULE YOU!” But you know what? You annoy me too. You are on every billboard, every T.V. commercial and every magazine cover and I’m sick of hearing about your heterosexuality. Why do you have to flaunt it?
But seriously, this defines exactly what this entire marriage debate is about – we are a minority group subjected to the majority’s opinion about how we should live our lives. We are not asking them to participate in our lives, we are only asking that they allow us to rule our own lives. In so doing, we have become nags. We are annoying and, because they are annoyed, they are going to continue to deny us our lives, our choice, simply because they can.
Imagine if suddenly all benefits of marriage were taken away from the majority. Suddenly, they could no longer purchase a house together without some sort of document indicating that they are jointly or severly liable for the mortgage – like a business or joint tenancy agreement. They buy the house together, form the business and have the business hold the asset. Now, they can’t get a homestead exemption on their taxes because, rather than a family home, it is now an asset of a business.
Imagine that, after their marriage is abolished, their paycheck is reduced because now, the U.S. Government gets to tax them on their former spouse’s medical benefits.
Imagine that their former wife/husband goes into the hospital. In their rush to get there, they neglect to grab an original Power of Attorney for Health Care so they are denied access – after all, they’re just friends now.
Would it then be a big enough issue? Would it then be a country in crisis? Would YOU shut up and wait?
But LGBT people aren’t the majority. We can experience that pain, that torment, that degradation and it is not a national crisis of any importance to anyone other than LGBT people and those that are smart enough, sympathetic enough and willing enough to align themselves because they get it. We are at the whim of ego and it’s a finicky sort of foe, isn’t it? So, to those of the same opinion as our commenter: I won’t call you a “bigot, homophobe, racist and troglodyte,” as those terms don’t really fit – instead you win the label of egotist.
NOTE: For more of the column, Stupid Things People Say About Gays, click here.