The backlash from New York’s historic decision to enact marriage equality has been fierce, to put it mildly. From Maggie Gallagher’s pledge to spend $2 million to reverse marriage equality to World Net Daily’s call for the arrest of Governor Cuomo and those who voted to (“illegally”) legalize marriage equality, the wingnuts have lost it. Some of it (in a way) can be a little amusing to watch – there's something satisfying about seeing the anti-gay right all but implode after an historic defeat. Unfortunately, though, it’s not just rhetoric. Rhetoric has a way of turning violent as it seeps down from the wingnut overlords, and violent rhetoric has a way of inspiring actual hate crimes.
Since the New York Senate’s vote on Friday night, we’ve seen and heard some disturbing rhetoric. Chief among them is this comment on a Christian Post article about the marriage vote in New York from a man named Bryan Wilcutt:
Time to lock and load, Christians. God has mandated we clean up this mess.
It’s one thing, I suppose, to have a lone wingnut call for violence. But at least seven people who read the comment believe that, yes, we should take up arms to defend the country against the gays. Time to clean up the mess, just like God wants! This is the kind of rhetoric not only tolerated, but embraced by the loving Christians of the Religious Right. What kind of a gun would Jesus lock and load?
And then we have this news from Lancaster, California. Sometime early Sunday morning, somebody went around Lancaster leaving anti-gay graffiti with messages like “GAYS GO 2 HELL” and “KILL ALL GAYS.” While the motive is not known for sure, it’s likely in response to the New York marriage vote. If not, it’s quite the coincidence. The incident is being investigated by the sheriff’s office as a hate crime.
Deputies first went to the businesses in the 44200 block of 10th Street West at 9:54 p.m. Sunday in response to a vandalism call and found the anti- gay graffiti, said Lt. Richard Daniels.
The lieutenant described his reaction as "revulsion," noting, "No one wants to see that."
The graffiti short-lived, but was photographed for evidence. "It was only up for about an hour and then removed," Daniels said.
The sheriff's hate crimes detectives will investigate the case, Daniels said. They will coordinate their efforts with the FBI in a task force to identify hate crimes that should be prosecuted federally when suspects are identified and arrested.
We know all too well the consequences of this kind of rhetoric. They’re very real, and they’re grisly.
These aren’t lone wingnuts. They’re legitimized and enabled by the “mainstream” Religious Right and conservative movement. By people like Pat Robertson, who claimed in response to the New York marriage vote that God will destroy America like Sodom and Gomorrah.
By the Catholic Church, which continues to maliciously obstruct full equality with damning rhetoric.
...we just as strongly affirm that marriage is the joining of one man and one woman in a lifelong, loving union that is open to children, ordered for the good of those children and the spouses themselves. This definition cannot change, though we realize that our beliefs about the nature of marriage will continue to be ridiculed, and that some will even now attempt to enact government sanctions against churches and religious organizations that preach these timeless truths.
- NY Catholic Bishops on marriage equality
Even by the Tea Party, which continues to defy conventional wisdom that it’s a purely fiscal/economic movement. Tea Party Nation’s Alan Caruba responded to the recent debate in New York by claiming that “the queering of America” is “an act of societal suicide” and urging Tea Party activists to obstruct equality. And now we have this from Tea Party Nation activist Rich Swier in response to an anti-bullying initiative in Florida:
Gulf Coast Gives is working to raise funds to bring homosexual activist Hudson Taylor to Sarasota, FL. According to their website:
"77% of all bullying victims are picked on due to sexual orientation, gender identity, or the perception of either. LGBT youth are up to five times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight counterparts. ALSO Out Youth is the only LGBT youth organization serving both Sarasota and Manatee Counties, providing advocacy, leadership, support, and outreach since 1992. Please support ALSO in bringing Hudson Taylor to Sarasota. Hudson, an outstanding athlete, is a committed LGBT advocate and founder of Athlete Ally."
The problem is the entire bullying campaign is a sham created by radical gay activist Kevin Jennings. Jennings is the founder of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN). As MassResistance.org reports, "The homosexual movement in the public schools has always been based on lies and deception. But until the mid-1990s, they were still having difficulty getting into the schools. Then they found the key to their huge success -- what they call 're-framing the issue'".
This is not bullying. It is peer pressure and is healthy. There are many bad behaviors such as smoking, under age drinking and drug abuse that are behaviors that cannot be condoned. Homosexuality falls into this category. Homosexuality is simply bad behavior that youth see as such and rightly pressure their peers to stop it. In Sarasota County over 70% of all HIV/AIDS cases are due to male sex with males.
I agree with Gulf Coast Gives that "LGBT youth are up to five times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight counterparts". Homosexuality, like drugs, harms young people if they experement [sic] with it. That is the greatest tragedy.
For taking a principled, religiously-rooted stand for the institution that undergirds all of human civilization, [anti-gay NY Senator Ruben] Diaz has become the latest in a long, sad string of victims of the true hatemongers in America, homosexuals activists. Their hate crime against him is motivated by prejudice against his religion, which teaches that God designed marriage exclusively as the union of one man and one woman. Chuck Colson is another whose eyes are wide open to the steaming hate billowing from the denizens of the homosexual lobby. 'The gay-rights groups have shown their fangs. They want to silence, yes, destroy those who don't agree with their agenda.' Homosexuals are rapidly cementing their position as the number one perpetrators of hate crimes in American today. Sen. Diaz is simply the latest prey of the hatemongering hunters on the left, who live in mortal fear that someone, somewhere, actually believes what God says about marriage and human sexuality. And the list will grow longer before it grows shorter.
And the new video from the Family Research Council, an SPLC-certified hate group:
These are only a few out of the many examples out there. The recent rhetoric regarding LGBT people – and especially the New York marriage vote – has been outrageous, even for the anti-gay right wing.
This kind of rhetoric, as we’ve seen, has not resonated with most Americans. It has only served to damage the anti-gay right wing. Unfortunately, it still comes at a price. Until this kind of rhetoric is treated like what it really is – pure hate speech – and people like Tony Perkins, Maggie Gallagher, and Bryan Fischer can’t find a respectable outlet to air their views, violence and hate crimes will continue to find “mainstream” legitimization. For every hate crime committed against LGBT Americans, the conservative and religious leaders who don't stand up for equality and compassion have blood on their hands.