Friday, June 16, 2006

What Special Rights are We Talking About, Exactly?

Per Pam, Concerned Woman, Bob Knight, chimes in about this transit appointee firing. He accuses the governor of caving to the gay pressure. But, he does something even worse, he changes the words in the case to make himself and the employee sound right. Bob says the appointee, "lost his job for referring to homosexual behavior as "deviant." But what the Metro guy really did was refer to gay people as "persons of sexual deviancy" (see below for full quote). This is a big distinction, trust me. And, this, folks, is one of the big names in the religious right movement. His word play was no accident. Truth be damned, as long as gays are seen as bad, the world is right. How unbelievable.

The Republican governor of Maryland fired a Metro transit appointee recently for anti-gay remarks he made on cable television. The statement that got him fired was, "But that doesn't mean that government should proffer a special place of entitlement within the laws of the United States for persons of sexual deviancy."

Now, I'm sure some on the far right think it's ok to use this type of language when describing people, but I'm glad the governor does not. It's just this type of language the demonizes an entire group of people and causes such a political hotbed. And, it's the reason gay people have to fight so hard with much of the nation to earn respect and break down the stereotypes.

So, obviously the statement is out of line. But, I wanted to briefly address his claim that gays get a "special place of entitlement." Lots of other anti-gay folks have fought the gay rights movement in a similar way, claiming gay folks are asking for special rights, not equal rights. The thing is I can't think of what special rights these guys might be talking about. Right to privacy? Ability to marry the person they love? Right not to be discriminated in employment or housing? Believe it or not, these are all rights everyone else gets. Sometimes you actually have to name specific traits outright so people get the picture. But, trust me all of you white, straight males out there, these rights are already protected for you, in society and in law.

I'm sure hate crimes will be the first answer some people give. And, I could spend pages talking about why I don't believe hate crimes laws are special rights (I'll get into that in another post), but for now I just ask that anyone that is going to respond just leave hate crimes out of this and give evidence of any other special rights gay people get. I really think when the far right and the far left get together and have this discussion honestly and openly (rather than using "the world is ending" tactics where anything goes), people will begin to see how absurd so much of this debate really is.


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