S/he said: Steve Chapman, Will Phillips, Frank Bruni

BTL Staff
By | 2018-01-16T16:22:13-04:00 November 19th, 2009|Opinions|

Compiled by Howard Israel

“What got overlooked on Election Day was the victory for gay rights on the other coast, in Washington state – where the electorate extended to homosexual couples all the privileges and responsibilities enjoyed by heterosexual couples. That measure, known as ‘everything but marriage,’ passed with 52 percent of the vote. Why did it succeed while the initiative in Maine failed? Simple: Washington calls this new option ‘domestic partnership’ rather than ‘marriage.’ As it turns out, it’s not the idea of treating gay couples equally that bothers most Americans. It’s the name of the legal arrangement. Call same-sex marriage by another term – civil union, domestic partnership, everything-but-marriage – and they’re fine with it.”
– Steve Chapman, in a column titled “Gay marriage: Lost, but it’s not losing,” http://www.chicagotribune.com, Nov. 15

“I’ve always tried to analyze things because I want to be lawyer. I really don’t feel that there’s currently liberty and justice for all. I’ve grown up with a lot of people and I’m good friends with a lot of people who are gay and I think they should have the rights all people should, and I’m not going to swear that they do.”
– Will Phillips, a 10-year-old elementary school student from West Fork, Ark., in an interview about his refusal to stand up and recite the pledge of allegiance in school because of discrimination against gay people, http://www.proudparenting.com, Nov. 11.

“Polls in recent months have suggested that while a majority of Americans believe that gay couples should be able to enter into unions with some of the legal protections of marriage, a minority believe that gays and lesbians should be permitted to ‘marry,’ per se. Same-sex marriage doesn’t fit into the kind of family that many Americans believe should be idealized. And yet Ms. DeGeneres, who exchanged vows with Ms. de Rossi during a span last year when same-sex marriage was legal in California, seems more popular than ever – and among audiences squarely in the mainstream. … Several gay and lesbian leaders speculated that Ms. DeGeneres’s good fortune was a harbinger of where same-sex marriage is headed, and said it exemplified the way issues involving gays and lesbians often play out. Culture leads politics, and support for familiar, respected individuals precedes support for a larger, more abstract idea. She’s a comedian, cushioning much of what she does and says in the social Bubble Wrap of laughter.”
– Frank Bruni, in a column titled “A Sapphic Victory, but Pyrrhic,” about the marriage of Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, http://www.nytimes.com, Nov. 15.

“There are, of course, many differences between gay rights and civil rights for people of color. Or are there? Recall that pro-segregation forces found ample evidence in the Bible to support their position – the notion that God separated the races on different continents, for example. Recall that, as with same-sex marriage today, miscegenation had been prohibited since the Founding, and the ‘traditional definition of marriage’ absolutely excluded multi-racial unions. And recall that – as I was reminded at the MLK museum – the forces of bigotry thought they were fighting a moral fight, with God on their side. It’s no coincidence the Klan burned crosses. Civil rights was as much a religious issue for in the 1950s as gay rights is today. Now, some might say, we know that ethnicity is something one is born with, but sexuality… well, maybe or maybe not. Let’s lay this myth to bed. If sexuality is a choice, why do so many teenagers kill themselves for being gay? Why don’t they just “choose” otherwise? If sexuality is a choice, why is reparative therapy a total failure? Sexuality is not a choice. Let’s stop pretending that it is.”
– Jay Michaelson, in a column titled “Reflections of a Jewish Gay Rights Advocate on Visiting the Martin Luther King, Jr, Museum: An Open Letter to Ruben Diaz, Sr., and other Latino and African-American Opponents of Gay Rights,” http://www.huffingtonpost.com, Nov. 15.

“I felt the need to lean on I Corinthians last week after yet another ballot defeat for marriage equality – when voters in Maine repealed a state law allowing same-sex couples to marry. A visceral wave of anger swept over me as once again, I was reminded of my second-class citizenship. I wanted to smash something. I wanted to punch somebody out. I wanted revenge. The last thing on my mind was I Corinthians. But at the very core of the debate over marriage equality is that scripture’s concept of love. It’s easy to love someone when there is no turmoil, no conflict. And it’s no accident that ‘patient’ is the first word Corinthians uses to describe love – it’s first because it is most important. No matter how strongly we may feel about each other, we will not always agree, and it is in those moments that we must tap into the mystery of love even more to find a way to first be patient, and then be kind. I’m not suggesting the gay community should not be upset – patient and kind does not mean complacent and apathetic. We must continue pressuring politicians to end civil injustice, but we’re not served if we allow hate and fear to dictate our words. We cannot begin to change the nation’s mind if we cannot first speak to the nation’s heart.”
– LZ Granderson, in a column titled “Gay rights activists need to show love and patience for foes,” http://www.cnn.com, Nov. 13. LZ Granderson is a Detroit native, Grand Rapids resident, openly gay sports writer/columnist for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com and a single father of a 12-year-old boy.

“Most of our activists, they don’t live to fight the fight. Now to you I say, activism has many faces. It’s not just belonging to an organization, marching, or chanting. In fact, the most effective activism is claiming your own truth. While it’s nice to stand among the multitude, waving rainbow flags, protest signage abounding, how will you act when you are left alone with the company of your own consciousness? Will you stand as proud and as strong as the thousands of the people who have gathered here today? Or will you stand idle and let the idiosyncrasies of inequality prevail?”
– Aiyi’nah Ford, student activist, as quoted from her speech, in a column titled “MUST WATCH: My Favorite National Equality March Speech – Aiyi’nah Ford,” http://www.akawilliam.com, Oct. 12.

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BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 25th anniversary.