Hate and Solutions

Rene and I saw “The Laramie Project” put on by Theater Out at The Hunger Artists Theater. For those of you unfamiliar with the play it was created in the wake of the Matthew Shepard Tragedy and was written by the Tectonic Project who conducted over 200 interviews in the city of Laramie, Wyoming of people involved in every aspect of the community and how they were affected by the events and all of the attention caused by it. It was a remarkable show and if you have the chance to see it you should.

One of the themes in the show is hate. Hate is a big deal. It’s been a big deal for a long time. It enhanced the violence in the Shepard crime, set back civil rights, led to the passing of California’s Proposition 8, and has lead to attempted genocide on almost every continent from Germany during World War II to the United States as we annexed the west to modern day Africa. Hate is easy, dirty and ugly. Because it is so easy often the first thing that people do to rally against hate is to hate the haters. In the end neither side is willing to listen and rather than any kind of dialogue or compromise we are just left with people yelling at each other.

I started this blog days ago, but originally left it unfinished because I wanted to think through what I was going to say and make sure what I wrote comes out how I intend it. Without realizing it this delay also meant that I was able to continue this blog after the decision was reached by the Supreme Court on Prop 8. The court was tasked to deem if the proposition was constitutional or not. They decided, in a 6 to 1 vote, that it was. They also decided that the marriages that were performed while gay marriage was legal shall remain legal and recognized.

Trying to keep in line with practicing what I preach I’m not going to rile against the people whom I consider ignorant and superstitious, but I do hope that people will truly consider just what it means to deny anyone a right due to random differences. It is unthinkable to most Americans now that women weren’t allowed to vote, that blacks had to sit in the back of buses and that Japanese-Americans were forced into internment camps. I hope with time that this becomes a sin of the past as opposed to a sin of the present and that the coming generations will see past the ravings of the ignorant and make decisions for themselves based on experience rather than dogma.

I’m getting myself upset as I type this so I’m going to stop, but I want all of you who feel that discrimination is wrong to help get the word out – discrimination is not a thing of the past. It is alarmingly present and if we truly want to see it come to an end then it is up to us, as individuals, to make that change.


Filed under prop 8, rant, social commentary

17 Responses to Hate and Solutions

  1. Great post honey! I think you said what needed to be said in a very eloquent and insightful way.

  2. I agree with you that hate is a horrible thing, and that it leads to nothing productive. I think you said it very well, and I for one, am happy that people outside our community are seeing this. Although you are probably an honorary gay considering your extensive work at Disneyland πŸ™‚

    The gay community will not survive this or be successful in anyway if the straight community doesn’t raise their voices. That’s how it’s been throughout history when civil rights were fought for.

    Thank you for writing this. I’m confident that this will be looked on by future generations as something strange and unimaginable.

  3. Anonymous

    Hi Curtis! I’ve been following your blog for a bit now and I’d like to say it’s a very enjoyable read. Just read this, most recent post and I think I may disagree. To a point. Bear with me.

    The problem, as I see it, is that neither side has made any serious attempts to understand the others point of view. To simply cast everyone in the same light solves nothing and oversimplifies what is a bigger, and frankly more complex problem.

    The very moment that government got involved in what should be a strictly religious debate was the beginning of the end for any serious discussion on the matter. To use the “civil rights” card implies that a religious ceremony is, in fact a civil right. It is not. That would only apply to civil unions recognized by the state.

    I think the most resonable course of action would be to understand that those you may oppose on this issue may feel their “rights” are being trampled on here as well. Simply slapping a “hate” label on them or dismissing them as crude, superstitious zealots lowers you right down to the level of those you seek to counter.

    Just my two cents. Your mileage may vary.

    -Mike Martin

  4. In response to Mike’s post…I feel this isn’t a religious debate at all. That’s where the problem lay. It’s a civil rights issue. People can be married outside of the church. My mother, who was excommunicated from the Catholic Church after divorcing my dad, was remarried by a Justice of the Peace.

    No one is telling any church they HAVE to hold gay marriages. That was never the issue and that’s one of the misinterpretations and, basically lies, that are being spread. There are plenty of church’s, such as St. Matthews in North Hollywood, that would LOVE to hold gay marriages and are fighting for the right. So how is that right not being trampled on? It’s not a “religious issue”…this is changing the Constitution to enforce bigotry.

    This is no different than allowing two people of different races or religions to marry each other. So yes, it is a civil right issue. There are tax, health and estate benefits that are extended to married couples that are not extended to “civil unions”.

    If you can honestly explain to me how your (and I use the royal “you”) rights are trampled on by two men or two women marrying each other, I would be more than happy to listen.

  5. I couldn’t agree with John more. There are no losers if gays were allowed to be married. No hetero rights are taken away, and no church is being forced to conduct gay weddings. This is a legal battle only.

    The problem lies in the fact that instead of government granting legal rights under a different name, they simply took marriage from the religious definition and applied it to the law. Marriage is no longer, and hasn’t been for a while, a religious only word. It is a legal term as well. So until the government stops using the term marriage, that’s what we want and deserve.

    If the government offered civil unions to ALL couples, and then let those who wanted to go to a church to call it a marriage…then that would be fine too. In fact that would be better because it removes all traces of religion from the legal rights we want.

    Anyone who opposes two people to be together and be protected by the country they pay taxes to is a bigot and ignorant in my opinion. Sorry Mike, but those are my two cents.

  6. While I don’t agree with Mike, I do see where he is coming from. And, I agree that a church should not have to perform a marriage if they don’t feel it falls within their religious values. However, many people straight and gay alike have been married in courthouses without any religious ceremony. I don’t think that the the “religious ceremony” part is the part of marriage that is really being fought for. But even if it was, there are are some ministers and rabbis who did perform gay marriages during the brief time it was legal. I think that if a church does not agree with gay marriage, then, more than likely a gay couple would not want to be married there anyway since they would clearly be unwelcome. I was raised Catholic and know all about “religious rites”. But, there are “religious rites” which fall under religion and there are “civil rights” which fall into the hands of courts. In this case the word marriage falls under both. Many people with no religious affiliation or beliefs are allowed to be married in civil ceremonies in court houses and it is still called marriage and acknowledged as marriage. Divorces of marriages are handled in courts. Marriage is no longer just a religious ceremony and hasn’t been for years. It is also a legal contract complete with a legal document. You can be married in a church but if you don’t have the correct paperwork, it’s not legal. And at one point in time African American slaves were not allowed to be married. And at another point inter-racial marriages were not allowed. So, clearly the right to marry who you want to marry has been a part of civil rights over the years.

    I’d say more, but I am sure Curtis already has posted a response as I have been typing this out. πŸ˜‰

  7. It took me a long time to compose that post and while I was doing it, John and Joe said exactly what I was thinking! I wasn’t copying them, I promise. πŸ˜‰

  8. as a gay dude, an athiest and an ordained minister from a mail order church, i would just like to say thanks to all who have commented here. especially to my good friend john k., who is one of the straights on the front line. and to curtis who is as queer as a $3 bill. but only where it doesn’t count. but then again, his girlfriend is so hot that i’d have sex with her.

    as a mail order minister, i have officiated over 15 heterosexual marriages. all of them were more civil in the tone of their ceremonies. i wed people that i am close to, through either friendship or family. all were performed with little to no religious reference. because most people who want a religious ceremony will go to their church to have it.

    somehow i am allowed to MARRY heterosexual couples, and call myself a minister, all because of the great church loophole.

    perhaps us GLBTers should just start our own world wide church? instead of using the gay/lesbian label of “sexual orientation”, we should call it “a religous calling”??

    i was thinking about starting a cult anyway. perhaps this is the way to go!

    instead of shooting abortion doctors in churches (like some christian knuckleheads have), we could go around shooting paint ball guns (with pink paint of course) at bridal parties and groomsmen!? and then go back and party at our compound.

    my mother was allowed to marry two men she didn’t love. why am i not allowed to marry one that i do? she ain’t religious. although perhaps she should be! πŸ˜‰

  9. I was hoping to spark debate and I guess that is happening. I wrote a really long response to Mike’s comment that Blogger lost and some of my points have been raised so I won’t completely re-write it again, but I will get a few extra points in here:
    – Although I did make some inflammatory comments, my real hope is for true equality, separate but equal never is. If any religion was forced to perform ceremonies against dogma I would be equally opposed to that.
    – Semantics can’t be used to justify legislation. If the fight is to save the meaning of a word then the fight has come way too late and is already lost. Marriage, as a term, is now as secular as taxes and public school. Call it what you want, but a permanent union, with all the legal bonuses that go along with it, is a right that follows right along with “the pursuit of happiness.”
    – I welcome, readily and with no hidden agenda, any reason that it steps on rights or raises any risk to anyone. I just hope that we can keep this as civil as possible and stick to the rule, “no name calling, no attacks.”

  10. My first reply really was much better. I wish it hadn’t been lost to the internets.

  11. I would also like to say thank you to Mike for being brave enough to enter into this debate knowing that he may be outnumbered, but I do want to see this continue.

  12. Anonymous

    We’re basically all on the same page here! My only contention is that Civil Unions (and the accordance of the rights gained by them) should be the ONLY matter in which the government should be involved. My argument is AGAINST the relgious aspect of the debate. It should not be an issue.

    – Mike

  13. Anonymous

    No worries, Curtis. I’ve never minded being the lone Libertarian in the room!

    – Mike

  14. Actually, Mike, I guess that’s where I need help and clearer definition. So do we change the term? Do we re-name “marriage,” as it is understood by the law only with all the benefits and legal rights guaranteed there in, to something like “civil union” and make that the defacto status for all people who are currently bound together by what is currently called a “marriage license” making “marriage” just a religious ceremony?

    This has actually come up in private conversations that I have had on the matter before where answers are sought in definition of terms, but I don’t know that definitions are really the root of the argument.

    I have rolled the Libertarian path myself and could not agree more that government should keep it’s grubby hands as far away from me and my private life as possible, but is that thinking practical or pragmatic given the current state of the federal, hell even the state, government? While I do like to hope for the ideal, I do think we need to work with the hand we are dealt, and right now that includes government fees to legally join two people together so that it is recognized by the organizations that regulate our daily lives.

    To probe further, is your opinion based strictly on government interference in a religious ceremony or is it also affected by the giving of the same legal tax and co-habitation rights to same sex partners?

  15. To your first point, I would say yes. The introduction of the term “marriage” is what is most problematic with the issue. As has been stated by other comments, many churches would choose to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples if given the chance.

    I suppose my argument is that the most pragmatic tack in political terms would be to push for Civil Unions. It’s all semantics, really… But a “marriage” is a religious ceremony. The fires of this debate would be significantly doused if the argument were made on the basis of what are the actual “rights” (property and so on…) the government can bestow.

    I agree that this is a bit difficult to do because our government currently sanctions “marriage”. It’s definately a tough nut to crack… But it stems from the violation of church and state.

    To your last question. I’m about as socially liberal as they come. My original post, in fact, is not so much a reaction to your blog as it is to the response the recent Supreme Court ruling I’ve been seeing. Throwing words like “Hate” around at your opponents is no way to reach a common ground. You yourself lumped Prop 8 in with the Holocaust. Now… I read your stuff. You are a reasonable guy. How in the world do you ever hope to reach an accord with the other side if you couch your arguments in those terms? It just strikes me that, even if you have the moral high-ground (and I DO agree with you), the idea of demonizing others is exactly what you should be fighting AGAINST.

    I guess it’s really the tone of these arguments that’s most upsetting. Believe me, I know it comes from both sides. But believe me when I tell you that there are those on both sides to which the term “hate” can be applied.

  16. By the way… Hope you can make it to Reefer Madness at The Maverick. I’ll buy you a beer and we can debate till the wee hours.

  17. Word, I take that beer!

    Admittedly I did get a bit inflammatory, but my reference to the holocaust et al was really more of a reference to hate in general, which was the original subject for this particular blog. Because, in my opinion, this new amendment really comes from a bad place and part of that place is hate and intolerance I felt that it was worth adding to this blog – instead it actually took it over.

    Still, I am glad to have gotten so many responses and I look forward to a healthy debate!

Leave a Reply