North Carolina’s bigots?
posted at 9:21 am on May 11, 2012 by Libby Sternberg
Did you know—two-thirds of blacks who voted in North Carolina this week are bigots. Yes—mean, hateful bigots.
That’s because they voted for the ban on gay marriage in that state, and many liberals who support gay marriage see it as a love/hate issue. If you don’t love gay marriage, you’re hateful.
Think I’m crazy? Google North Carolina bigots and see what you get—everything from the usual Daily Kos rants to the more mainstream LA Times op/ed titled “Obama, gay marriage, and a win for bigotry in NC.”
If you want a more thoughtful view, however, take a look at this blog post by a gay Christian in North Carolina:
So as a lifelong North Carolinian who is also one of the most outspoken gay Christians on the internet, I have something to say about this.
First of all, it shouldn’t be any surprise that I opposed the amendment. I think same-sex couples should have the same legal rights as other couples, and even if I didn’t, many experts have argued that the wording of this amendment is dangerously vague, not only banning same-sex marriage and civil unions, but also affecting heterosexual couples, children’s health insurance, domestic violence victims, and other important issues—all to ban something that was already banned to begin with.
Maybe you agree with me; maybe you disagree. But that’s not the point I want to make.
After last night’s vote, I heard a disturbingly large number of my friends, national commentators, and others suggesting that this vote just proves that North Carolinians (or at least a giant percentage of us) are bigoted, homophobic, backwards people who are so filled with hate that we oppose equality for certain groups just because we can.
And see, that’s just not the case. Yes, I voted against the amendment, as did many of my friends and hundreds of thousands of other NC residents. But I also know people who voted for it, and I know that they are not simply bigoted, homophobic, backwards people. It’s way more complicated than that.
It’s a beautiful post, and I urge you to read it in its entirety. Mr. Lee is to be congratulated for not being angry—either at the North Carolinians who voted against his point of view or those who labeled those voters bigots.
For the latter group, I find it more difficult to be as charitable. The casual use of the slanderous term “bigot” to describe opponents of gay marriage has become almost as commonplace as the use of “racist” to describe opponents of the president. When will the left learn that this is not only wrong but counterproductive? Once you call your opponents haters, you shut down debate. Why should anyone bother trying to discuss an issue with people who dismiss them as evil?
As for my own views on the gay marriage debate, I know I’m opening myself up for a lot of criticism on a blog like this one, but put me in Dick Cheney’s camp—I do not oppose it (there was a time when I did, from what I’d call an uber-feminist perspective that viewed marriage as primarily a protection of women and the children they would bear).
I don’t believe marriage is a civil right, however, for anyone. If the government got out of the marriage business tomorrow, I’m not sure you’d be hearing a hue and cry for it to be reinstated as a “civil right,” for example. The courts that have ruled it as such open the door to lots of mischief in my mind. After all, if it’s a civil right for two men to marry, why is it not a “civil right” for Kody Brown to legalize his union to four—will it soon be five?—wives? No, marriage is defined by society, depending on society’s needs. And those who are reluctant to change its definition today are not bigots or homophobes, even if I personally don’t agree with them anymore.
Libby Sternberg is a novelist.
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