Thursday, June 08, 2006

The New Gays

The Pennsylvania House passed the odious proposed marriage amendment the other day, while the US Senate shot it down (hooray for Arlen Specter for changing his vote to a "No"). And, the hullabaloo is going to continue for a number of years.

But, I agree with Bill Bennett -- the fight is over (at least that's what I think I heard him say on The Daily Show this week. He was more equivocal with Tim Russert, but that may be because Russert is a weaker interviewer and easier to get things by than Jon Stewart)(but I digress).

The Gays won (actually, that means we all won because when civil rights are respected for the minority it strengthens them for the rest of us). While polls still show a majority (sometimes a bare majority) oppose full marriage rights for gay couples, the same polls tell us that 90% agree that gays should not be discriminated against in employment opportunity. NINETY percent -- you can't get ninety percent to say that they enjoy sex. That's an impressive number. The country is right now about 50-50 on "civil unions", a majority oppose a constitutional amendment like the one the Republicans used to fluff up the base this week, and 54% agree that homosexuality is an "acceptable alternative lifestyle".

The die is cast. Oh, it'll take a more time, more time then many of us would like. But, a whole lot sooner than is gonna be comfortable for Rick Santorum, full civil rights for gays, their spouses, and their families will be here. Of course, prejudice and bigotry will remain for generations, as it has with all of the other groups whose fights for equal rights preceded Stonewall, but equal rights are on their way.

SO, what's next?

Immigrants are only a diversion. That issue is mainly a residual of the institutionalized racial bigotry that began to lose its way after dubyadubyaeyeeye.

What's next? I'll tell you -- Atheists.

When I was a youngun, it was virtually unheard of, even in the "civil" north, for a black to run for a major office. It was impossible for divorced men to run. And, an "admitted homosexual"? Fagetaboutit.

But now, hell, if Gary Hart moved in with a black male lover he could still make a run for something today.

But, tell me, where in America could an open, practicing Atheist stand any chance of getting elected to a school board, city council, or dog catcher (they don't really elect dog catchers anywhere, do they?)?

Sometimes I think that, among the world's mature democracies, America is the least tolerant. Then, there are the other days on which I am sure of it.

Yes, my friends, Atheists are the new gays.

6 comments:

An Upstep or a Downstep said...

Great point. This grand nation of ours has moved decidely away from a tolerance, if not an explicit acceptance, of the unfaithed during our formative years to this moronic ignorance typified by Gitmo George. Jefferson and Paine would have his head.

A Big Fat Slob said...

Ironic, isn't it, that many of our most important founding fathers were not diests?

Blue Wren said...

Uh-oh. Does this mean I have to come out of the godless closet? Atheists will be the new gays? But Slobby, sweetie, I don't have a church, or a practice, or a dogma or even a symbol! Will they identify me by my LACK of all those things? Will someone notice that when we all say the pledge of allegiance at the chamber luncheon, I say "Underdog" instead of "under God?" As they bow their pious, waxy, hairsprayed heads in prayer, exhorting Jebus to help them make a lot of money, will someone peek and notice that I'm standing there unbowed and open-eyed, wishing I could just slip over and be first in line for the rubber chicken? Hoooboy.
Seriously, you're likely right. But I won't turn my back on reality. I refuse to pray to the tooth fairy for deliverence.

A Big Fat Slob said...

"Underdog"?! Priceless. Much better than timing that little gap of silence while everyone else chants on. I may steal that one.

roxtar said...

What a rip-off. Do we get the stylish wardrobes and personal grooming products? NO. Do we get to hang out in smart bars? NO.

Of course, on the other hand, we get to go through life without the fear of a vengeful CloudMan who has a fiery pit of torment awaiting us for all eternity. So we've got that going for us....which is good.

A Big Fat Slob said...

Well, living without the fear of a mythological creature is fine, and I guess that's the good news.

The bad news would be having to deal, and periodically fear, with the real creatures amongst whom walk we.