This story is old news in internet terms, but I still wanted to share it. I see people I know on Facebook making similar choices to LIKE the people who hate me or make supportive statements on their behalf. So, I'm addressing this to you and people like you. I would ask you to think about these political positions and help me understand the result you hope to get.
Is it my silence? My anger? My imprisonment or death? You see, I have to take your positions and extrapolate out to the most extreme possibilities because you are aligning yourself with extremists. Their methods are subtle, their packaging slick, but their goals are clear: they want to eradicate my rights, my ability to petition for those rights, and (in the extreme cases) they even want to eradicate my very existence.
This is unacceptable to me.
My friend Shawn runs a bookstore, raises several foster children, and finds time to cultivate a loving relationship. I don't know how he does it. But why would you deny his efforts? Why would you want to make things harder for him? Just because he is gay? He's a hero to these kids. He's a martyr to the community--as is anyone striving to keep books available to the world. And he's a role model for anyone who aims to balance family, work, and a remarkable sense of humor about it all.
What, I ask, has he done to you?
Your right to free speech is, for me, an absolute right. Say and write whatever you want. But, this great democracy of ours is a forum--of ideas and speech that clash, contradict, and collaborate. When you write or speak your mind, I will ask you to contemplate your speech, consider its meaning, evaluate my speech, and, if I've been persuasive, reconsider your ideas in light of mine (and I'll do the same). Perhaps, in this context, you might even change your mind. Who knows? I may even change one or two of my positions. Crazier things have happened.
I'm not being Pollyanna about this. Information affects us. Relationships change us. I don't think it's too much to ask that you think about the actions you take and the votes you will cast that will have a disproportionately harmful impact on me--and people like me and people quite different from me and people you will never meet.
Because, you see, I won't change my mind about this. The anti-gay sentiment among conservatives is just wrong. I cannot support any politician or political party that seeks to diminish rights, remove rights, scapegoat a minority, or villainize a people in order to score political points or further a negative or anti-democratic agenda. Politics should not lessen us but should enable us to be greater together than we can be separately.
I hope you can join me.