Update: This is Sophrosyne’s description of this post at the Virginia Blog Carnival:
“David over at Equality Loudoun has a post discussing the civility of the Virginia Marriage Amendment debate in relation to a purported lack of condemnation of a recent act of vandalism in a Loudoun community (which appears to be motivated by the victims’ sexual lifestyle).” [Emphasis mine]
At least she posted it.
It has not escaped our notice that not one of the blogs that regularly editorialize in support of the Marshall/Newman amendment, not a single one, has condemned the vicious hate crime perpetrated against members of our community in Loudoun. Nor has any elected official who supports the amendment condemned it – including Attorney General Bob McDonnell, who had the perfect opportunity Tuesday night when one of the NoVA Town Hall activists raised the issue of civility. It’s been over a week now.
After making cynical requests for civility in the debate over Marshall/Newman, and after repeated claims that they are not anti-gay**, leaders of the primary outlet for pro-Marshall/Newman propaganda have openly endorsed an association between Marshall/Newman opponents, the GLBT community, and pedophilia.
Several NoVA Town Hall contributors have endorsed this post, insisting that it makes a valid argument to which Marshall/Newman opponents are obligated to respond. In reality, it only posits a moral equivalency between the loving, committed partnerships of gay adults seeking some measure of legal protection for their families, and the sexual abuse of children by criminal predators.
Endorsement of this moral equivalency is tantamount to endorsing hate crimes against the gay community.
Since I know that this statement will be excoriated by these same contributors as hyperbole and “name-calling,” (pot, kettle?) let me save them some time by explaining why this is true.
Monsters who prey on children are, reasonably enough, subject to prosecution and punishment under our system of criminal justice.
Healthy adults occupied with building a life with the partner of their choice, regardless of gender, are not. Only an insignificant lunatic fringe still believes it should be otherwise.
Social conservatives may dislike the manner in which the few remaining state laws that criminalized consensual sexual relationships were voided, but even Über-conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas described them as “uncommonly silly.” Virtually all Americans agree with that assessment. [I will here make only the obligatory, cursory Bob McDonnell reference.]
There is no such consensus, for obvious reasons, on the sexual exploitation of children. Only an insignificant lunatic fringe would argue that engaging in sex with children is moral, or that children can give consent to a sexual relationship with an adult.
These two things are like night and day. Or, if you prefer, like apples and road apples (hat tip to my beloved).
Since consensual adult relationships are not subject to criminal prosecution, endorsing such a moral equivalency must be understood as an invitation to the frustrated lunatic fringe to mete out extra-legal punishment to those they wrongly view as “deviant.”
None of this should be interpreted as the suggestion that anyone’s right to freedom of speech should be abridged. We all have that fundamental right, regardless of how obnoxious, laughable, or factually inaccurate our speech may be. This does not mean, however, that speech does not have consequences, and those consequences are brought to bear in the arena of public opinion.
Sometimes the failure to speak has consequences, too.
I would think that, of all the people who would want to go on record as condemning acts of violence and intimidation against the gay community, it would be the vocal proponents of the amendment who want us to believe they are not motivated by anti-gay animus.
I find it remarkable that the proponents of Marshall/Newman would be so self-righteous as to complain about the use of speech like “bigot” and “homophobe,” while remaining silent about a hate crime perpetrated on the gay community right in their own backyard. In case anyone somehow doesn’t know what I am talking about: 170 trees and shrubs ripped out or cut down. Gasoline poured all over the yard, around the house and over the well. “FAG” spray painted all over the property.
There is no indication that this specific crime was directly motivated by the debate over Marshall/Newman, or by the demonizing propaganda – like the moral equivalency discussed above – peddled by its proponents. However, these two men were targeted because they are gay. The context in which this crime was committed is a climate created by increasingly hysterical and dehumanizing portrayals of GLBT people.
The failure to swiftly, publicly, and in no uncertain terms condemn this monstrous behavior is not only a moral failure, but also, I believe, an enormous public relations one. It would behoove Marshall/Newman supporters to correct it.
**We are fascinated by this. Why would those who devote all of their spare time to finding ways to interfere with the lives of gay people, and justify this activity by claiming that there is something wrong with gay people, then object to the observation that they are anti-gay? We think it must be because they understand that it’s wrong. If they didn’t understand that being anti-gay is morally wrong, they wouldn’t become defensive about it.