Oh, Bruce, Bruce, We Gotta Talk – Prop 8, Some More
In his December 11 Bay News Op-Ed [ www.tolosapress.com --click on The Bay News, go to page 7) to my previous Prop 8 column, Los Osos resident Bruce Curtis takes a stab at defending Prop 8 but – dang – still misses the mark.
He focuses primarily on the angry protests and pickets and angry letters and acts of vandalism done by anti-8 protesters after the election, which is certainly a valid point of discussion. Some of the No on 8ers’ actions against some of the churches that supported Prop 8 and their angry vandalism and threats were deplorable. Declaring them to be “terrorist” acts, however, ramps rhetoric past reality. Curtis notes, in his bulleted list of various alleged acts committed by protesters throughout the country, “At a Saddleback Church, angry hate-8 protestors wave swastikas at parishioners,” which called to mind something similar: “religious” protesters showing up at a gay soldier’s funeral carrying “God Hates Fags” signs. The young man was killed in Iraq, but no matter. Was that as distasteful and cruel and stupid as showing up at a church carrying swastikas? You betcha. But “terror?” Hardly.
Mr. Curtis also conflates being gay with “pederasty, polygamy and incest,” and being alcoholic, and or suffering from a “dysfunctional” “disease,” which, I suspect, is a truer indication of his real feelings, but coming right out and saying that would likely bring on charges that he’s an ignorant bigot. But that rhetorical conflation and slide into the ridiculous (“If we allow gay marriage, those people will want to marry their dog and they’ll then make it legal to start having sex with donkeys and the Republic will slide into the sea.”), is always a sure sign to me that the writer has simply stopped thinking.
Ditto to the oft-repeated phrase about “cramming [hot-button-issue-du jour] down our throats.” (Cramming down throats?? Oh, Sigmund Freud, where are you now that we need you?) That’s where we really do need to ask, “O.K. please explain EXACTLY how, for example, two gay people getting married somewhere in our state crams anything down your throat. Will that couple leave the ceremony and arrive at your house and barge in and say, Move aside, we’re gonna spend our honeymoon in your bedroom? Does that couple show up to have wedded-bliss sex on your front lawn? Whaaat?”
Unlikely. However, is it possible that what’s really behind Mr. Curtis’ fear of “cramming” is that, as a person who equates gay people with “disease,” perhaps what’s at work here is the fact that Mr. Curtis really doesn’t want gay folks to have any kind of “legitimate” public presence in “decent” society. Imagine, for example, the wedding page of your local paper. If gays can marry, will Mr. Curtis see smiling gay couples all gussied up for their wedding photos right next to straight people all gussied up for their wedding photos, right there in the local paper – ‘Smith-Jones Nuptials’, and there’s Tom Smith in his tux standing next to Fred Jones? And when that happens, does Mr. Curtis really fear having to ‘splain to his children (presuming he has any) what the word “nuptials” means and why both men and women and men and men and women and women are all gussied up and on this page?
Or does Mr. Curtis really fear having to go to a social gathering and be faced with Tom introducing himself and introducing Fred as “my spouse?” Or maybe Mr. Curtis really can’t abide the thought that on television there’s some celebrity being interviewed and right there in public the celebrity turns and says, “My [same sex] partner and I are getting married next week?” Or the very real fear that when he goes out in public, he’ll be forced to watch same-sex couples openly displaying acts of affection – kissing, holding hands, etc. – right there in public, in broad daylight, just like straight people do all the time, and when they go overboard, passersby usually roll their eyes and yell, “Get a motel!!”
Or having taught his children that “God Hates Gays,” his daughter comes home from school one day and says, “My teacher, Mr. McGuillicutty, is gay and he’s a really nice man. I like Mr. McGuillicutty. Daddy, can you tell me why God hates Mr. McGuillicutty?” And Mr. Curtis will have to roll his eyes and mutter under his breath, “Dang! If only those people had stayed in their diseased closets and out of our schools and businesses and public office and remained down in “that part of town” only to show up in police-blotter photos in the paper along with other criminals, I wouldn’t have to ‘splain all this to my kids. Dang! Dang! Dang!”
Or, worse yet, Mr. Curtis’ son comes home one day and says, “Dad, I’m gay.” Oh, GAWWWWDDDDD!
Well, if that’s the problem, I understand. I come from a generation where everything I mentioned above was applied to all things racial and interracial. Integration was something that was “being crammed down throats,” protesters were out in the street calling American citizens to account, and the rallying cry of most of the nation was, “If you allow them into our schools, next thing you know, they’ll want to marry your sister!” and the nation was shocked – SHOCKED! – when Harry Belefonte planted a peck on the cheek of a white singer (can’t remember now who she was) on TV and the show was blacked-out in the south for fear of it starting riots and lynchings and such like.
Same fear, same hatred, same bigotry, same struggle to achieve not only equal legal civil rights with white America, but legitimacy in the larger white public society. All of this is déjà vu, including the coded marker words, the false conflations, the slippery-slope imagery, and the same declarations that Mr. Curtis uses at the end of his piece: “The ‘tolerance’ crowd is now cramming their values down our throats, violently. But they won’t prevail because we believe in marriage and we outnumber Prop 8 opponents. We’ve defended marriage and we’ll vigorously defend Prop 8 in the courts, as is our right. . . . That democratic power is what people like Calhoun fear most.” (?? Like a lot of Mr. Curtis’ statements, that’s a howler.)
Segregation now, segregation forever!
Yep. Until the Supreme Court (and the National Guard) and a whole lot of incredibly brave people changed that world by reminding us of our founding principles – equal justice under law for all citizens.
And that’s the issue that Mr. Curtis doesn’t address. So, please Mr. Curtis, another Op/Ed piece and this time, please explain, as a supporter of Prop 8, EXACTLY what compelling (civil) state interests are served by forbidding and/or removing the right of gay people to “marry?”