Sunday, March 04, 2012

Why Truth Scares Bigots....

(via afer.org)  Last night was the West Coast premier of  "8"  Featuring an all-star cast including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Martin Sheen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jane Lynch, Kevin Bacon and others, "8" is a play written by Academy Award winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black and directed by acclaimed actor and director Rob Reiner. 



It is a powerful account of the case filed by the American Federation for Equal Rights (AFER ) in the U.S. District Court in 2010 to overturn Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that eliminated the rights of same-sex couples to marry in the state of California. Framed around the trial's historic closing arguments in June 2010, "8" provides an intimate look what unfolded when the issue of same-sex marriage was on trial.
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We stayed up  until  3:30am London time to watch the live stream on You Tube.   The closing  arguments in Perry v. Schwarzenegger  may seem an odd subject for a play.  Yet the reasons  behind the production are  important..  Opponents of  Marriage Equality in California  fought  tooth and nail to prevent video of the trial from becoming public.   Their stated argument was they wanted to  protect their witnesses  from "harassment" by  Gay activists.   


After I read the transcripts,  It  became very clear why the  defendants in the case  didn't what the video of their testimony viewed by the public. All the arguments made in ridiculous  TV ads, flyers ,and  softball  "interviews" on  Fox News, may have made for  great  campaign rhetoric, but  none of it could stand up to even most basic standards of evidence.  
The argument  that  allowing same sex couples the same basic civil rights as everyone else would somehow "damage and redefine" marriage, completely fell apart when faced with actual cross examination under oath. The brilliant  David Boies, attorney for the  plaintiffs  summed it up perfectly when he said; "the witness stand is a lonely place to lie."

The defendant's  arguments  basically boiled down to a couple of points.  The first, was that  allowing  Gays and Lesbians to marry would  "redefine" and therefore weaken and irrevocably  damage the  institution of Marriage.  So if we take that  argument seriously, to give gay couples the same rights as straight couples, not more rights, not any new rights that straight couples do not currently have, but only the exact same rights, would injure, damage and potentially even destroy heterosexual marriages.

Okay... , there is really only one question then. How? Would gay marriage mean that straight couples would lose any of the 1,100 federal benefits and protections that they currently have?  Would legal gay marriage mean straight couples couldn't file joint  tax returns, have, adopt or raise children, pass on social  security survivor benefits, or make medical decisions for each  other? Would the legalization of marriage for gays and lesbians mean that straight people could no longer marry and those who were  married had to get divorced? Would the marriages  of  any heterosexual change in any way?

The answer of course is no.  When faced with the reality of that, admitted even by their own star witness, they fell back on the second argument.   Society has a compelling interest to step in and prevent  same sex couples from getting married.  The "reason" for this  being,  same sex marriage somehow would result in  fewer children being born  and growing up in heterosexual two-parent households.

Uh... what??   If you have having trouble figuring that one out, don't feel too bad.  Turns out the defendants in the case couldn't offer any proof either, so  like the whole,  "Gays will destroy marriage" argument,  the  idea that Marriage Equality will end straight  procreation as we know it,  fell apart with an equally loud and absurd thud. 
So why  are  people like  Maggie Gallagher,  Tony Perkins,  James Dobson, Pat Robertson and their assorted ilk, so hell-bent (pun intended) on taking civil rights away from Gays and and Lesbians?  Conservative evangelicals say that gay marriage cheapens or lessens the value of the institution of  marriage in the eyes of society. But since none of the marriage rights or benefits that straight couples have would change if gays were able to marry, what opponents of gay marriage are really saying is that letting gay couples marry cheapens their straight marriages in their eyes. 
Letting gays and lesbians get married would mean they would  have a right that only heterosexuals previously   had. And that makes them mad. It's not just that Gallagher and those like her want to prevent gays and lesbians from having equal rights, they want make sure that gays and lesbians have as few rights as possible, if any at all. They see equal rights for everyone as an attack on them.

That's interesting. Even though  the institution of marriage clearly would not change in ANY way, the defendants in the Perry case,  firmly believe that marriage would lose value, status and might even come to an end, if gay couples were able to marry. It suddenly occurred to me there is a word for someone who is irrationally fixed on the artificial preservation of inequality that they feel is in their favor. Merriam-Webster's dictionary has the same word for it.

Bigot
Pronunciation: 'bi-g&t
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle French, hypocrite, bigot
1: a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices
The testimony of in the Prop 8 trial, shows  vividly what  opponents of Marriage Equality really want . This small group of even smaller minds, who out of fear of losing what they feel is their superiority, want to put the civil rights of people they don't  like up to popular vote.   The Perry case put hatred and bigotry on trial, and  hatred and bigotry lost.  The bigots will appeal and appeal and stall and  block.  Yet  is only a matter of time.  
This case will eventually get to the supreme court.  Like Loving v. Virginia,  like  Lawrence v. Texas,   and yes like Brown v. Board of Education , it will be the US Supreme Court that  will be asked to  stand up for the equal protection under the law of all Americans.     

1 comment:

aNothWestView said...

I think that they are scared, but I think that the true colors of a lot of these people, especially the political leaders are really starting to shine, not only are they now openly attacking "the gays" but the rights of racial/ethnic minorities seniors and the young (especially threw voting laws) the poor, and the elderly but women as well. It is like Rick Santorm said he could win and get what he wanted if it was not for the pesky fact that white wealthy non senior straight males are not the majority in this country!

Their fight against gay rights should have been and should be a wake up call to the rest of the country, because if they can prevent equality and roll it back with gays what is to prevent them from doing so with other classes of society that have suffered oppression? Nothing!