You know, I just don’t get it.
I really don’t.
This week, Maine, a state known for its tolerant liberal attitude and a place where “live and let live” is an old old saying, joined thirty other states in banning marriage between certain members of its population.
Like the rest of the dubious majority to which Maine now belongs, the ban was approved by a majority of its voters, 53% of them – well, 53% of the voters who bothered to turn out anyway.
However, the majority of Mainers, unlike a rather large number of Californians and Midwesterners, don’t seem out and out homophobic per se – though as a practical matter, it is rather obvious that they are. The chief opposition, by and large, didn’t vocalize as bigoted screeds by religious leaders decrying the flaunting of God’s will – which apparently only they are personally privy to. The Mormons didn’t descend en mass on the state - declaring marriage a sacred sacrament between a man and four or five fifteen year old girls who may or may not be his first cousins. Evangelicals largely didn’t flood the airwaves with dire threats of fire and brimstone and Angry Tearful Jesus and admonishments to keep homosexuality where it belongs – as secret affairs for outwardly straight married conservatives in deep, deep denial. Opposition didn’t really manifest in the sanctimonious bloviating of conservative politicians bemoaning the “gay agenda” to deconstruct traditional American values – traditional values being, so far as I can tell, tractor pulls and the shooting of holes in every single road sign along the nation’s highways. Nor did the majority of the opposition consist, as it did in California, of the Pollyannaism of community leaders hysterically predicting that same-sex marriage is a gateway drug to free range bestiality, legalization of pedophilia, and dogs and cats living together in anarchy. All these opposing positions were there certainly, but they weren’t front and center the way the hatred and bigotry and out and out lies and deliberate spontaneously generating and perpetuating falsehoods were during the Prop 8 battle in California.
No, the principle argument against equality for all in Maine seemed to be the fear that “they” would start teaching “gay-marriage” in the schools.
You may use your imagination to insert my Pilot to Co-pilot, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Over? face here, if you like.
I don’t get it.
Teach gay marriage in school?
Teach it how?
Like in home economics or something?
Would there be role-playing like for traditional hetero relationships? Some high schools have a class where a boy and a girl are paired up in a “marriage” and given a “baby” – sometimes a doll, sometimes a five pound sack of flour – to care for. It’s supposed to impress on them the challenges of parenthood and marriage. Is this what the opposition means? Girls would be paired up and forced to experience simulated lesbian lifestyles full of hand woven natural fibers and Veganism? Would they spend a week hating men and referring to the cheerleading squad as gender traitors? Would the boys be required to select a simulated same-sex life partner and forgo football for a selection of fabulous shoes and a fieldtrip to the Pink Carousel for virgin daiquiris?
Is that what the opposition is talking about when they say “teach gay marriage in school?”
Or do they mean that it would it be more like how the Christian Conservatives keep trying to sneak their bible into the public schools through the Trojan horse of “Intelligent” Design? Is that what they’re afraid of, that secret pervasive gay agenda? The damned homosexuals want to add Interior Design to shop class maybe? Do they want to teach the controversy? Will they insist that fabric swatches and pastel color wheels be added to the Auto Body Repair class? Will they repaint the gym with rainbows?
I can understand if that’s what the Christian Conservatives mean, because, really, who would know better than them about hidden agendas in the public schools. Right?
Or is it that what they really mean is the schools might teach the realities of actually being gay in America? The hate. The fear. The discrimination. The brutality. The bigotry. The shame. The ridicule. The denial of rights. The isolation. The second class citizenship. The death threats and the actual deaths at the hands of their smugly, morally superior Christian neighbors? How, in the freest nation in the world, yet another group of people has been marginalized by the tyranny of the majority? Perhaps the role-playing class could include a scenario where a hetero couple is arbitrarily denied a marriage license because the rest of the class doesn’t approve of their pairing, or better yet maybe the class could select a “Mathew Sheppard” from one of their number, beat him to death, and leave his battered corpse hanging on a fence in front of the school.
Is that what the opposition really means when they say they are afraid that the schools will be forced to teach gay marriage? Again, I can understand that, if that’s what they mean. Because we certainly wouldn’t want our children to learn about that, would we? I spent my entire life in the military, you want your foot soldiers to fight, to kill, to hate, you don’t want them to see the opposition as human. You sure as hell don’t want your kids empathizing with gays, they might give up the good fight and find a way to live peacefully with their neighbors. Certainly, I can understand why Christian Conservatives wouldn’t want their kids to learn about the reality of being gay in America.
Or when they say “teach gay marriage in school” do they mean that including a line in a textbook like, “In the United States of American, the Constitution guarantees every citizen the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, to equal protection under the law, to full and equal participation in society, freedom from persecution, and the right to live their own lives as they see fit without regard for other’s religious beliefs” will somehow make their kids turn gay?
That’s it, isn’t it?
That’s what they really fear.
If their children learn that it’s OK to be who you are, without fear, without shame, well, they just might be who they are. Happily.
And we sure as hell wouldn’t want that now, would we?
Yeah, I don’t get it.
I don’t get it at all.