The impetus for starting my own blog occurred about a week ago when I read this article about Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino threatening to prevent, by way of political power, Chick-Fil-A (CFA) from opening any restaurants in Boston. Menino’s threat is in direct retaliation against CFA President Dan Cathy’s statements about being anti-gay marriage. My initial reaction was quite mixed, leaving me confused about where exactly I stand on the issue. My confusion boiled down to this:
- I am fiercely pro-gay marriage
- I am fiercely pro-free speech
My original responses to my friends included comments about the differences between equality of rights and equality of oppression. I thought I had resolved myself to being okay with being in the middle of the issue where I was comfortable saying, “I support homosexuals in their right to marry whomever they please” and “I support free speech even when I vehemently disagree with it.” However, the issue was much deeper than that.
Later, I stumbled across this article (and this one) which describe the depths of CFA President Cathy’s efforts to block gay marriage. That’s when frustration really set in. Cathy’s multi-million dollar contributions have aided various lobbying organizations in efforts to block gay marriage, and by these actions, oppress the rights of consenting adults to live in a formally recognized and bound relationship. I mean, when does free speech stop being free speech and start being oppression (or attempts at it)? And my answer came during a long conversation, about this issue, with my wife Elisha.
With Elisha’s help, I was able to sum up my beliefs about this particular issue, even though I’m still somewhat lost on where to go from here. I can best sum it all up by outlining my thoughts, here:
- It’s okay to be homosexual (or transgendered, etc.)
- It’s okay to not be homosexual (or transgendered, etc.)
- It’s okay to believe in gay marriage
- It’s okay to believe in the “sanctity” of marriage
- It’s okay to say you do not support gay-marriage
- It’s okay for anti-gay marriage organizations to exist
- It’s okay to give millions of your own money to anti-gay marriage organizations
- It’s NOT okay that legislation (or the lack thereof) can be bought to prevent consenting adults from marrying
- Governments oppress, NOT organizations, private citizens, or business owners
Now, don’t get me wrong, I support the organizations’ rights to use their money how they see fit, what is not okay is that legislation can actually be bought. Legislation must exist ONLY to protect individuals against force by others, NOT to prohibit people from entering mutually consensual and voluntary interactions, transactions, or relationships. When an organization can spend (or donate) millions of dollars to government legislators (or entities), and those government legislators (or entities) then use their political power to create and/or block legislation that limits the freedom of individuals (regardless of the issue), then the government is corrupt, period.
Cathy’s statements are innocuous in themsleves, it’s his actions that make the difference, and his actions include monetarily aiding organizations actively working (and succeeding) at limiting the rights and freedoms of consenting adults. It is because of his actions that I choose to withdraw my support of him.
Wait! Mayor Menino doesn’t get off that easy: his actions, of threatening an organization, are deplorable and he should be taken to task on them. Political threats, without regard to the particular stance, are never acceptable. If he is allowed to slide on the issue, then tomorrow he could threaten an organization you agree with.
The LGBT community should not only stand up against their own oppressors, but to those who seek to oppress others, it is, after all, the government who is doing the oppressing.
Equal oppression does NOT result in equal rights.
Obviously, this issue is much deeper than the few issues I and others have raised. Please share your comments, respectfully.