I’ve been posting on Facebook lately, expressing my thoughts and feelings about the Chick-Fil-A craziness.

I’m an avid supporter of Gay Rights.  Well, Human Rights, to be more precise, but this particular issue is centered on Gay Marriage.  Chick-Fil-A has stated that they support the “biblical definition” of marriage and traditional family values.  They donate part of their corporate profits to other organizations who apparently share their values.  All well and good, and they have EVERY right to do so.

How-some-ever…  Where things start to get sticky is that at least one of the organizations to whom CFA has given money  in the past (the Family Research Council) has chosen to give some of THEIR support to Uganda’s war on gay people.  In case you weren’t aware (or didn’t care enough to BE aware), Uganda has submitted legislation to strengthen already-existing laws against homosexuality, up to and including the DEATH penalty.

This organization has been compared to the KKK or to Al-Qaeda or the PLO, arguably groups who have resorted to violence to attempt to enforce their ideals, which has ruffled the feathers of some people (some of whom I love very dearly) who only wish to support Chick-Fil-A’s right to Freedom of Speech.  This organization has chosen to spread LIES about gay people, equating them with pedophiles (a stance which has been thoroughly discredited), creating and building FEAR about gays.

By exposing where the money goes, I’m attempting to educate EVERYBODY, no matter what side of the fence they choose to stand on.  If you like Chick-Fil-A, fine (I don’t particularly care for their food, myself).  But please be aware of what your money is doing.  At least a portion of your chicken sandwich and waffle fries goes to promote violence against gay people.  That’s a plain and simple fact.  And if you wish to support something like that, no matter how much I love you, I can NOT simply turn and look the other way.

One of my Facebook “friends”, someone I went to school with and have since reconnected with, someone with whom I have never been particularly close, said I should “Get Over It” because “they believe in what they believe in just like you.”

Get Over It.

I’m not sure I’ve read more insensitive words directed to me in a very long time.  The person who wrote this is a Straight White Male, arguably the most powerful and privileged class of individual in these United States.  Would he also have told Susan B. Anthony to “Get Over It” as she campaigned for women’s right to vote?  Would he also have said “Get Over It” to Martin Luther King, Jr. as he shared his Dream for equal rights for black people?  Would he tell a rape victim to “Get Over It?” Or a parent who has lost a child?  Or a soldier who has lost a limb?

Telling someone to “Get Over It” minimizes their pain and suffering, it belittles their efforts to right the wrongs done to them, it says “you’re making me uncomfortable by presenting your side of the story, and I don’t like to be uncomfortable, so please go away now and don’t disrupt my safe, comfortable existence with your nonsense.”

What if we weren’t talking about Chick-Fil-A and gay marriage?  What if we were talking about a fictional XYZ Industries, which manufactures and sells a certain kind of widget that you want to buy from time to time, and instead of donating their money to organizations that support traditional families, they were donating their money to organizations that support right-handed people with activities which could be read as “anti left-handed people”?  What if they were targeting redheads, or people with green eyes?  These are attributes that these people have NO CONTROL over!  Through no fault of their own, they have been born with red hair, or green eyes, or left-handedness.

Each of these groups of people represent approximately the same percentage of our human population as gay people (something over which they also have NO CONTROL).  What if your child was a redhead?  What if your parent was left-handed?  What if your sibling had green eyes?  What if it wasn’t someone you were closely related to, but still someone you cared about?

Would you stand by quietly while XYZ Industries continues to funnel a portion of their widget profits into these channels which cause fear and harm and degradation to someone you care about?  Would you keep buying your widgets from XYZ Industries and just pretend that you DON’T know what they’re doing?  Or would you put your foot down on behalf of your loved one and say “this is not right, and you will not get anymore of my money!”?  Would you share the information you have about their activities with everybody you know, and encourage them to do the same?  Or would you try to convince your loved one to dye their hair or get colored contacts or learn to write with their right hand so they’re not discovered and persecuted and perhaps prosecuted just because of who they are?

I can hear it now – “being left-handed is NOT the same thing as being gay.”  Forgive my bluntness here, but BULLSHIT.  It wasn’t too terribly long ago that lefties were stigmatized and traumatized and forced to try to learn to do things with their right hands.  Even our European language roots equate “left” with “wrong” or “sinister” or “awkward.”  And redheads?  How many times have you heard or used the phrase “red-headed stepchild(ren)” to indicate something less-than-favorable?  And what about the “green-eyed monster” of jealousy?

No, being a redhead or a leftie or having green eyes doesn’t typically affect your overall lifestyle quite as profoundly as being born gay does, but hopefully you get my point.  One’s sexual orientation is no more a choice than eye color, hair color, which hand you’re more comfortable with, skin tone, nation (or state or city) of birth, the shape of your genitals, who your parents are, etc.

“Traditional marriage” as defined in the Bible has gone through MANY permutations (almost NONE of them favorable or advantageous to women, by the way), so saying it has “always” been One Man, One Woman is disingenuous at best.  Shall we go back to the days where a rapist is required to marry the woman he rapes?  Oh, wait, that just happened in Morocco earlier this year, when a 16-year-old girl opted to KILL HERSELF rather than remain married to her attacker.  That incident sparked global outrage, but apparently that custom is acceptable in that part of the world.  What business is it of OURS to interfere?  Maybe we should just turn a blind eye to the plight of these girls and women.  They’re not United States citizens, after all, so why should we bother?

Perhaps we ought to go back to a time when a man is required to marry his brother’s heir-less widow?  Yeah, that makes sense.  How many of you men like your brother’s wife well enough to marry her if your brother dies without having sired a son?  How many of you women would like to marry your brother-in-law (oh, wait, you’re women, you have no say in this)?  Guess what, it doesn’t matter if you like it or not, it’s in the Bible, therefore it’s the Word of God and has to happen just as it’s written.  By the way, I have to admit that I’m curious what happens if the dead man HAS no brother for the widow to marry…?  Does she have to marry her husband’s father or uncle instead?  Or perhaps she’s simply cast aside as completely useless and wasted and left to fend for herself?  Or does she have to die as well, in order to accompany her now-dead husband in the afterlife?

Slavery has been abolished in this country, but since slavery was in the Bible, perhaps we ought to bring it back.  That way, a man can acquire all his wife’s possessions, including her slaves.  Or he can direct a male slave to marry a female slave regardless of whether either of them wants to be married to the other.  Now, to determine who the slaves will be – shall we have a lottery?  Or maybe we’ll just arbitrarily decide that anybody with red hair or green eyes or dark skin can and will be a slave?

But wait, you say?  Those are Old Testament examples, written for JEWISH people.  Jesus changed all of that.  Leviticus clearly isn’t applicable anymore, not to Christians.  Well, except for that ONE bit about gays that we happen to agree with, we can keep that one…

Get Over It

Yeah, thanks for that advice, I’d love to, but I can’t, and I won’t.  Not until every single United States citizen is guaranteed ALL the rights and privileges of every OTHER single United States citizen, regardless of sex, gender, age, religious preference, political preference, sexual preference, marital status, skin color, zip code, length of fingernails, hair color, eye color, handedness, education, occupation, and any other arbitrary thing you can think of, whether it’s something they’re born with or something they choose.

This isn’t a religious issue, it’s not a moral issue, it’s a Civil Rights issue.  You disagree with gays being allowed to marry because it somehow degrades your idea of what marriage means?  Too bad.  It wasn’t very long ago that we were having these same discussions over inter-racial marriage.  There was a great deal of fear and anger over how it would erode our entire society, but it hasn’t, and neither will gay marriage.  We’ve outgrown that taboo, for the most part, and the times, they are still a’changing.

Part of me says “you don’t want gays to have the right to marry? Fine, call it something else, anything else, as long as they’re granted every advantage that a straight married couple has.”  And part of me realizes that this is equivalent to giving “colored folks” their very own drinking fountains and hotel entrances so the white folks don’t have to share with them.

No church will be forced to perform a wedding it doesn’t wish to, but every single Justice of the Peace and Courthouse should be required to do so as long as the participants are legally eligible (not already married to someone else, of legal age, etc.) and mentally stable enough to make that choice for themselves.  I won’t get started on whether polyandry or polygyny should be allowed, that’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax entirely.

Our modern ideal of True Love and romance and marriage is really VERY modern.  Marriage has traditionally been more about power and politics and alliances than love.  Women have been brokered as property, given no say in where, when, how, or to whom they were married.  Some cultures demanded a dowry be paid by the groom for the privilege of marrying the woman of his (or, more likely, his family’s) choice, while other cultures had the family of the bride paying the family of the groom to take the woman off their hands.  It’s only been VERY recently that Western women have been allowed a say in whom to marry, or even WHETHER to marry.  There are still many cultures in the world where this change has not yet taken place, and women are still being treated as property.

So how “traditional” do you want to get?  Traditions change, grow and adapt to suit the culture, the time and the place.  Technology has enabled us to learn more, to do more, and to establish and maintain connections with people all over the world.  I’d like to think that will bring us closer together as Human Beings, and in some cases, it has.  But in far too many cases, it has only driven a larger wedge between us.

I love that we live in a time and place where we can engage in dialogues and exchange ideas and learn from one another.  I will defend to the death your right to have and speak your opinion and to spend your money wherever and however you see fit, but if I think you’re acting from a place of fear or ignorance or hatred or blindness, I *will* speak out about it.

I challenge you to open your ears, your mind, and especially your heart.  Invite a gay person (or, better yet, a gay couple) into your life for an hour or two, and ask them how they are personally impacted by the actions of those who are working so hard to deny them their rights.  Really *listen* to them, allow yourself to *feel* their sorrow, their fear, their pain.  Imagine that instead of “gay,” they were “female” or “black” or “Jewish” or any other traditionally persecuted group of people.  Imagine that instead of one of those groups, it was something as seemingly innocuous and nonsensical as red hair or green eyes or left-handed.  Does it still make sense to deny them their rights?  Does it still feel like the righteous thing to do?

Get Over It

Yeah, I’ll get right on that…