Can't remain silent about bigotry

Not to respond to My Turn would mean tacit agreement with Grimm's myopic view

Posted: Sunday, December 31, 2006

I was not sure how to respond to Douglas Grimm's My Turn about same-sex benefits, which appeared in Thursday's Juneau Empire. As a matter of fact, I thought that I would let it pass based solely on its absurdity alone.

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Yet as the hours ticked by, I realized that for me to remain silent about such bigoted and inaccurate information is simply to say I agree with Grimm's views, which I wholeheartedly do not. There was a time before I attained rational thought, that I may have shared the author's view. But then I reached puberty and realized that there were many ways for people to incorporate happiness into their lives. I also realized that not all of those views were ways that I would choose to live.

Tolerance means the ability to be fair and understanding to people whose ways and opinions are different from our own. Without this "ability," one may appear to be disabled. Unfortunately, this type of disability requires no special card to hang from a rear-view mirror, offers no designated parking area and has no easy access ramp. In a perfect world, however, maybe there would be a special card perhaps designed with a small brain and small eyes, but with an extra large mouth. This could represent the smallish thinking and even smaller view that myopic people tend to so openly share while claiming to represent "the vast majority."

I believe that the author is simply gay bashing throughout this diatribe while lamely trying to disguise it as intellectual thought. When is the last time you have heard the gay community say we should end all marriages because it's a discriminating institution? When have you heard the gay community say that only those individuals (and not their spouses and children) who work for the state should be eligible for benefits, because it would save the state money? When has the gay community ever asked for anything more than equal rights? Never, that's when.

When comparing same-sex and mixed-sex relationships, I cannot help but think about all the marriages I have known that have ended in divorce, or of the many relationships that have included domestic violence or child abuse. I believe it is an impediment to the growth of humanity to say that one social institution surpasses the need to be equal and unbiased solely on the basis of its longevity of social acceptance. Do mixed-race marriages, which have been so loathed in the past, need fall back into this anti-social quagmire?

As for the author's final paragraph, I can only say that gay people are not trying to cram their lifestyle down my throat, nor do I believe that they are trying to cram it down anyone else's throat. What is happening here is that more people are becoming openly aware that alternative lifestyles are not the villainous relationships that good old puritan propaganda has made them out to be. What is changing is the world's tolerance for narrow-minded, bigoted and hateful thinking, which often times are passed along as moral values.

Think of this the next time you want to gay bash: Among the hundreds of thousands of young Americans who have given their lives in defense of this country, many were gay soldiers, medics, firemen and policemen.

Politically, religiously and militarily, the gay community grows in every sector of society. This frightens those people who think that only their values are valuable. The gay community has had to hide and live in the shadows for far too long. I applaud the progressive political and judicial leaders, and the gay activists who will help this country come to recognize the errors of laws that exclude and needlessly humiliate our friends and neighbors.

• Kenn Magowan is a resident of Juneau.

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