[copied from my old Myspace blog]
The Sunday edition of the local Staunton News Leader published the following letter to the editor from Deena and me.
Anti-gay hysteria feeds on ignorance
Bravo to Mike Radoiu for his May 28 column, “Politicians push ‘hot-button’ issues to avoid making tough decisions,” in which he wisely observes that recent pushes for anti-gay marriage amendments are nothing more than divisive political ploys for votes from a bigoted voter bloc. Unfortunately, antipathy of homosexuals is rooted in the mistaken belief that sexual orientation is a matter of choice and is therefore some kind of moral concern. It’s perpetuated by homophobic stereotypes that are no less mean-spirited and inaccurate than racial ones.
We know firsthand how wrongheaded these stereotypes are because we have many friends across the country who are gay, lesbian and trans-gendered. All of them are highly educated, contributing members of society. One of them owns a large court-reporting firm. Another owns and operates a news Web site. Another is a best-selling novelist, another owns a bookstore and one teaches high school. Another publishes a magazine, one is the executive director of a Smithsonian-affiliated museum and another works as an advocate for domestic violence victims.
Moreover, all of these people we know are in committed, monogamous, long-term relationships. They are neither sexually depraved nor sexually predatory. They all want to fit in and to be able to go about their businesses and private lives. They especially want to be able to provide for their loved ones. It deeply saddens us that these fine American citizens have been deprived of their civil rights by legislators who insult our intelligence with claims that anti-gay legislation “protects” the institution of heterosexual marriage. How idiotic. A gay couple down the street who gets married in no way makes our own marital union any less special. How can someone else’s marriage gay or not possibly affect how we feel about each other? And objectively, how could someone else’s marriage erode our own marital facility to, for instance, cover each other under our health insurance, purchase property together or ensure each other’s financial security upon our deaths? The rhetoric that justifies this generation’s Jim Crow laws and the underlying fears are completely spurious. We defy anyone to devise a single, rational justification for homophobia that does not rely on the sheer ignorance and intolerance that have been the hallmarks of this debate.
MATTHEW & DEENA WARNER
Originally published June 18, 2006