Intolerance in our society is a disease

Of course gays and lesbians should have the right to marry. Probably the best line to come out of this recent debate has to be, “Gays and lesbians have the right to be as miserable as everyone else.”

If you don’t want to get married, fine. Don’t get married.

But don’t go around telling other people what to do. You have no right to force your beliefs on others. Just read the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. It’s all there, chapter and verse.

I don’t know about you, but I am really turned off by bigotry. Can you believe that some people claim to be against marriage equality which would offer same-sex couples the same protections that heterosexuals have (love, health care, insurance, hospital visits and the like) because they think they are saving gays and lesbians from themselves?

This, of course, is such utter patronizing nonsense that it defies reason. Let those people channel their sanctimonious energy into helping poor people or countering all the other ills in the world instead of trying to force everyone to follow their rules.

The recent brouhaha in New York State over marriage equality reminds us that there are powerful forces in the land that would deny each and every one of us of our rights under some situations. Unless intolerance, bigotry and homophobia are fought on every societal level, they will spread like MRSA infections in some health facilities. This is serious stuff, as in a religious leader implying that gays will burn in hell for marrying. Maybe some of those religious leaders should take a look around and clean their own houses first.

The genesis of prejudice is to be found in a single word: “difference.” African-Americans are discriminated against because of the pigmentation of their skin. Just think of it — up until the late ‘60s, some states had laws actually prohibiting interracial marriages. Until a few short years ago, a person of color couldn’t be seated at a restaurant or drink out of a fountain used by white people.

There are kids alive today who have no idea about our painful history. Now the president of the United States is African-American. One of the best congressmen in the country is Barney Frank, but until a court decision here in Massachusetts allowed it, he would have been unable to marry another man if he wanted to.

There’s an old Tom Paxton song that Arlo Guthrie sings all the time. It’s called “I’m Changing My Name to Chrysler,” and in it, there’s a verse starting, “Since the first amphibian crawled out of the slime Š” Well, my bet is that shortly after that, two different guys went to two different caves, looked out and said, “Hey, he’s different. Kill him.”

If particular religions do not countenance the idea of same-sex marriage, that is their right. People can choose to stay and accept that or they can vote with their feet.

Many people are walking away from some religions because, among other reasons, what started as religions based on charity and decency have become religions based on prohibitions. That’s why we have so many emerging religions and so many atheists. It’s also why so many churches are empty and religious schools are closing. It’s why recent polls have shown that a majority of Americans are in favor of marriage equality. Many people, including Dick Cheney, have gay children. Nothing will turn a bigot into a human being faster than seeing his or her child discriminated against.

Some day, we will look back at all of this and shake our heads in disbelief.

Originally published in the Berkshire Eagle, 6/25/11

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2 Comments on “Intolerance in our society is a disease”

  1. Harvey in exile in Upstate NY from Rockaway Beach Says:

    Much ado about nothing. Such is the issue of alternative marriages in New York State. I support it and most people do. Yet if brought to a state-wide vote the matter would lose. It is time that Andrew act as our Governor and stop the diversion. Look at the census data. Just how many New Yorkers would be eligible for alternative marriage? Incredibly very few! It got Andrew national coverage now to the problem of Upstate New York being in a Depression. Every upstate NYs County is technically bankrupt. The infrastructure is crumblinfg. Our national Government sends the Army Corps of Engineers to bridge roads and bridges in the Middle east. Every nation in that region is giggling at the stupidity of the Middle Eastern Policy except Israel. Andrew what about the Stock Transfer tax. If you restore the Stock Transfer tax and end the immediate rebate you have balanced the NYS budget with a surplus. Of course people that support you like David Koch will become your non-friend. There is enough natural gas under the ground in NYS to make every current and next generation New Yorker finacially wealthy. Focus a minute on the natural gas in NYS issue. can the process be made safe? You have enough experts available. I don’t want to destroy our water supply. What is the truth? That is what you are paid for. I know that Basil wnated to see david governor before he died the same with your dad. He was a great Governor and could’ve been a great President if not for the quagmire of St. Johns Law School funding. Today you read the creat of an artificial wave. That could change overnight. History has proven that our instant leaders may not last. You have the ability for greatness if you end diversion and confront the actual problems confronting New York. Now Alan where is my tee shirt? 🙂

  2. mrshoople Says:

    Ahhh, such a breath of fresh air you are, as always. Thank you!!!


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