Earlier this week California became the second state to sanction same sex marriages, preceded only by Massachusetts. Unlike Massachusetts, California does not require any proof of residency. All are welcome. On Monday, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who was instrumental in initiating a series of legal challenges that led to the state’s high court to strike down California’s one man one woman marriage laws, presided at the wedding of eighty seven year old Del Martin and eighty three year old Phyllis Lyon. Ms. Martin and Ms. Lyon are activists in the pursuit of equal rights for gay and lesbian couples.
Thousands of people gathered to protest the same sex unions. Placards were waived above the crowd of same sex opponents saying such things as same sex is a sin, give your life to Jesus, homo sex is a sin, and we don’t hate homos, god hates sin. People protested under the impression that their spiritual beliefs show beyond a doubt that god is a bigot that does not tolerate homosexuality and therefore, they are required to be bigots for god.
I was listening to a discussion about this topic on a radio talk show when a black man called in saying that he believed homosexuality to be a personal choice and that the whole matter could be resolved if people would just make the choice not to be gay. I’ve heard other over simplifications of the infinitely diverse human nature. While some people may make a choice to experiment with homosexuality others may have such a strong attraction to their own sex where the opposite sex is just not an option in their personal pursuit of happiness. The infinite diversity of human nature manifest itself again with people who are much more tolerant of our homosexual brothers and sisters compared to people whose bigotry is so strong that they claim it is a manifestation of the Supreme Being’s bigotry. However, I believe that god did not make bigots in his own image.
My own little niche along the intolerance landscape leaves me disappointed with black people who make the choice to judge others as unworthy of the same considerations and benefits that most enjoy. It bothers me when black people say that homosexuals, whether it is by choice or an undeniable fact of personal circumstance, do not deserve the right to have their love and commitment to each other recognized by the state.
It wasn’t all that long ago that black people were deemed unworthy of many rights that we take for granted. The dominant majority felt that black people were not entitled to be recognized as human or as fully human. It was law that black people were only worth three fifths of a white person. It was law that black people were not entitled to vote, to receive an education, or to receive a fair wage. A lot of people even used the bible to justify their racism. The dominant majority would say that black people were the progeny of the devil here on Earth. God was a racist and therefore all the racial disparity we manifest towards each other was justified.
But we now know that such race based hatred is nothing that is inspired by anything heavenly. Indeed, racial prejudices are more likely to spawn from hell. Any time we use the inherent differences in our appearance and behavior to justify the subjugation of people who are of no real threat to us or a threat to our society in general we display we are guilty of the type of behavior that brings hellish conditions to people here on Earth. Might as well give some people pitch forks so that they can torment others.
If the ancestor many of us refer to as Jesus the Christ taught people anything it is that none of us should consider ourselves so righteous that we are entitled by god to judge others. When the people were ready to stone the adulterous woman in the Christian bible book of John 8:7, Jesus said that whoever is without sin cast the first stone at the woman. Matthew 7:1 says judge not lest ye be judged. God himself says that vengeance is his in Deuteronomy 32:35. A lot of people who claim to follow the words of Jesus to the letter appear to pick and choose which letters warrant following.
The successes of the gay and lesbian community to have their unions recognized may be short lived. The people in California will be voting to have a law passed where the state will strictly limit marriage as the union between a man and a woman. So much for the separation of church and state. If laws were just a matter of what the majority of people wanted then laws that keep black people subjugated and considered to be little more than white people’s property would still be on the books. But just like people laws can be unjust. Just because it is written in a court house somewhere doesn’t make it right.
A person making the choice to discriminate against others bothers me. However, it bothers me to the point of sadness to see black people join the bandwagon to deny somebody rights just because of the way we have been conditioned to feel about those who are different from us. So many of our ancestors had to fight and work so hard against blatant racial subjugation. And now, for some reason that only maybe god knows, so many of us feel entitled to don another form of discrimination, a discrimination based on gender, simply because it goes against our personal sense of reasonable sensibilities.
Gays and lesbians are getting married in California. From all of the pictures that I have seen, they appear to be genuinely happy. After years of denial these people are being given an opportunity to fulfill a dream that is important to them. They are not actually doing anything to offend anyone. As a contrast to this harmony there were tons of people outside the courthouse or city hall protesting and wearing their hatred on their sleeves.
I remember seeing pictures of white people back in the fifties protesting to keep black people subjugated. Young black men and women trying to do nothing but go to school had to walk a gauntlet of white people anxious to demonstrate their racial hatred and protesting the impending change. Laws were passed to keep black people from invading the white community’s environment. Those laws were deemed unconstitutional by experts of legalese with the courage to stand against the desires of the majority and say that their blatant desire to subjugate people who were different was wrong. Now that some black people feel that the black community has arrived, they can drop the torch of continuing to fight for true equality and instead participate in the subjugation of the homosexual community.
These days, instead of employing scholars of law with an all encompassing sense of community, we as a people look for others who share our biases to make law, interpret law, and to execute the law. If we elect the politicians that share our prejudices and who in turn wants to appoint the judges that share our prejudices we have a much better chance at keeping our prejudices alive and legal. Don’t want affirmative action to be a national policy? Then hire judges that feel the same way. Now, judges are more apt to interpret the law so narrowly as to make affirmative action totally useless as a tool against institutionalized racism. Our courts are more apt to recognize reverse discrimination before recognizing any racial discrimination.
Some people now advocate a constitutional amendment that defines marriage strictly as the union between a man and a woman and will reserve the civil union for gay and lesbian couples in a repeat of the condition of totally separate and not even close to being equal and black people want to get in on the ground floor of this opportunity to cultivate this form of discrimination.
Hate is hate. Bigotry is bigotry. And if the black community wants people to stop subjugating us we should not be participating in the subjugation of others. As Luke 6:31 sayd, do unto others as you would have done to you.