Monday, June 29, 2015
Are you a Bigot? (A Simple Test)
Friday was a great day for people who love equality. The Supreme Court of the United States found that state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. This is a huge victory for equality. Of course resolving this one issue doesn't mean everything is fine, there's more left to do, but it was great being able to celebrate for one day.
Sadly, not everyone was happy about the ruling. The segment of the population that instituted these bans to begin with were pretty unhappy and irrational about the whole thing. (I'm looking at you Alabama.) With this unhappiness the word "bigot" has been coming up a lot. I never noticed this before, but people really hate being called "bigot." I found this out when I posted the following comment on a conservative Facebook page that found its way into my news feed, "Bigots lost. Sorry Bigots. (I'm not actually sorry.)" Many of the replies boiled down to this, "It's not nice to call people names just because they disagree with you." The sentiment there is correct, but it doesn't work in this context. If we support different football teams and I call you names that's terrible. If you decide that your religious beliefs mean that you should deny civil rights to others you're fair game. Still, a lot of people I came across wanted to believe that even though they were against equality, they were not bigots.
Over the course of the day I devised a handy test to help people check to see if their views on gay rights are bigoted. It's very easy to apply, but it assumes you are not a horrible racist. (If you are a horrible racist then there's no hope for you anyway.)
Here's the test: For any statement you make about homosexuals replace the word "gay" with "black." If the resulting sentence is shocking and horrifying you are being a bigot about gay rights.
I don't think ____ people should be allowed to get married
I don't think ____ people should be allowed to adopt children
I don't think ____ people should work in food service
I don't think ____ people should be K-12 teachers
See? It's not hard. If you wouldn't say it about African Americans (or Asians, or women, etc) you don't get to say it about homosexuals without being a bigot.
If you find that you are a bigot you have two choices.
1) Change. It might not be easy, but we'll all be better off.
2) Own it. Just admit what you are instead of having completely irrational arguments with people. It will be easier for you and for the rest of us.
You might be thinking, "But I have religious freedom!" Yes, you do. You can privately believe anything you want. You can sit in church and scream about it. I personally don't care what you choose to believe or who you hate in the privacy of your own little community. But if you try to institute laws based on your religion, and especially if those laws seek to discriminate against a class of people you just happen to not like, then you are a bigot.
In closing, I'm thrilled that no matter what anyone thinks about marriage equality, it no longer matters. The issue is settled. I no longer have to try to convince anyone because it's no longer up for a vote. I am thrilled that I may never have to have this conversation ever again.