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The 'bigot' claim is a bit O.T. (off topic)

by Jeremy Hooper

Those who oppose marriage equality love to accuse pro-gay activists of quick to label anyone who opposes us as a "bigot." Here is a quip from a recent NY Times article in which a heterosexual Connecticut couple makes that very claim:

By protecting heterosexual marriage, what “we’re trying to do is protect the foundation of society,” Mrs. Galloway, a volunteer worker from Trumbull, Conn., said in a telephone interview on Saturday.
“Everyone who disagrees is automatically labeled a right-wing bigot,” she said.

Her husband added, “How can you be a bigot when you’re looking out for society as a whole?”

But the truth: They are the ones who are generalizing. They are the ones who are putting an unfair label on the pro-equality side. And by presenting their side in a way that makes it sound as if they are "looking out for society as a whole," they are the ones who are casting their opposition in a society-wrecking light.

Here at G-A-Y, we have never labeled anyone a "bigot." Seriously, in almost four years, we have never once branded an anti-gay activist with that label. What we have done, quite unapologetically, is speak out against BIGOTRY. One can embrace bigotry without being a "bigot." Bigotry is an ugly little product that has been fostered by decades of negative queer stereotypes, short-sighted world views, and unfair persecution. Bigotry is the fuel behind the idea that discriminating against gay couples is a "traditional value," the denying gays civil equality is "marriage protection," and that fighting against gay couples legal party is "looking out for society as a whole." It can be blatant or benign, embraced on either an overt or a casual level. But bigotry is the product of which we (and most every gay activists) are concerned, not whether or not they who are actively encouraging bias can be accurately summed up with a certain five-letter word!

Using Biology, Not Religion, to Argue Against Same-Sex Marriage [NY Times]

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Your thoughts

There are plenty of folk who are not there yet on equality who are not bigots. Some folks haven't really thought the issue through, some are reflecting the views of their peers, and some just have been raised with attitudes and perspectives that make it difficult to see gay people as truly and distinctly gay rather than just festive and wild heterosexuals.

But there's an easy way to identify the ones who are basing their views on bigotry and animus. They are the ones loudly proclaiming, "I'm not a bigot". It seems invariable that when you follow up with them it turns out that they see gay folks as enemies who are inferior and worthy of mistreatment.

Funny little coincidence, dontcha think?

Posted by: Timothy | Oct 13, 2008 7:11:51 PM

I have never met a bigot who didn't think that they were "looking out for society as a whole." The problem is that in their myopic, xenophobic and bigoted worldview, they can only see the few people that they identify with as being worthy of consideration. White supremacists invented that vernacular, and only bigots (and supremacists) feel comfortable using it.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Oct 13, 2008 7:12:00 PM

The Connecticut courts ruling very effectively debunked the 'sanctity' of a procreative marriage theory. In fact, only one judge tried to invoke the 'channeling procreation' theory, but that is REFUTED even by the CATHOLIC Church which allows full marriage rights to couples who cannot procreate!! for whatever reason.
Procreation has nothing to do with the CIVIL RIGHTs, privileges and responsibilities of couples who want to marry.
BIGOTRY is not involved here legally in anyway... DISCRIMINATION against a group of people is involved. The Court stated flatly, as did the California court, that CIVIL RIGHTS apply to ALL, not just to some. If these rights are withheld based on any factor of DISCRIMINATION, then that is wrong and the RIGHT must be allowed to everyone.

BIGOTRY is when you feel your 'Right to Discriminate' overrides your responsibility to uphold everyone elses rights. ... sorry GALLOWAY's you are WRONG... and you are bigots.

Posted by: LOrion | Oct 13, 2008 8:11:05 PM

I dunno, Jeremy -- this "hate the bigotry, don't call the person a bigot" concept sounds an AWFUL lot like the "love the sinner, hate the sin" crap spewed by our opposition.

While you may not have actually applied the label "bigot" to those whose actions and words are "bigot-like," at what point does one become defined by ones actions (and words)? That is, at what point does one's bigot-y behavior make one an actual bigot? Surely some of those you've posted about have crossed that line, even if you've never defined them as such.

I guess it just seems like an odd thing to be proud of. I could see being proud of not resorting to using the term willy-nilly, but sometimes it's called for, IMHO.

Oh well. C'est la guerre.

Posted by: tjc | Oct 14, 2008 12:12:46 AM

Anyone concerned about shoring up the civil contract of marriage between one man and one woman ought to campaign against divorce. And.. anyone opposed to "gay marriage" definitely shouldn't get involved in one.

Opposition to equal rights is bigotry, and people so opposed are bigots.

Posted by: Bob Schwartz | Oct 14, 2008 4:10:44 PM

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