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Gil Mertz: End bigotry on both sides of the gay issue

Posted: June 26, 2011 1:30 a.m.
Updated: June 26, 2011 1:30 a.m.

On June 17, the United Nations Human Rights Council approved a resolution condemning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Though we probably all agree that a United Nations resolution is about as effective as a screen door in a submarine, let’s celebrate the spirit of the resolution to end discrimination on both sides of the gay issue.

Suzanne Nossel, deputy assistant secretary of state for international organizations, praised the decision with the following statement: “It really is a key part in setting a new norm that gay rights are human rights, and that has to be accepted globally. It talks about the violence and discrimination that people of LGBT persuasion experience around the world, and that those issues need to be taken seriously.”

Gee, if I referred to LGBT as a “persuasion,” I’d be immediately labeled as homophobic.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton added, “This represents a historic moment to highlight the human rights abuses and violations that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face around the world based solely on who they are and whom they love.”

If we define people by who they are and whom they love in the context of sexual orientation, then who is actress Anne Heche? She was gay when she lived with Ellen DeGeneres and then straight when she later married Coley Laffoon and had a son with him. Heche is one of countless people who once were of the LGBT persuasion but chose a different lifestyle.

The Obama administration was largely credited for pushing this through, and it should be commended. I would love to see the same passion from this administration for religious persecution, which has seen more martyrs in the last century than all previous centuries combined.

However, despite the Freudian slip of Nossel and the shallow definition of one’s personhood based on sexual orientation by Clinton, we can all applaud any effort to condemn discrimination of anyone for any reason.

This condemnation of discrimination should also be extended to those who respectfully question the validity of claims that sexual orientation rises to the level of a civil right. No reasonable person condones the discrimination of any other human being. Bullying at school or in any other context should never be tolerated for any reason.

I was raised in a large family, and we lived far below the poverty level. I know the pain of being ridiculed, mocked and even beaten up simply because we were so poor. No one should be intimidated or bullied because they are different.

When honest, decent people sincerely and legitimately question if LGBT is indeed a persuasion and are angrily labeled as homophobic haters, how is this not prejudice?

When people showed their support for Proposition 8 through bumper stickers and yard signs only to see their cars and homes vandalized, how is this not intimidation?

When California citizens exercised their constitutional and democratic right to vote for Proposition 8 and got bombarded with nasty and vile emails, how is this not discrimination?

When individuals and companies who financially supported Proposition 8 had their privacy violated and had their businesses boycotted, how is this not bigotry?

When a high school teacher in Northern California tells his class to stand on one side of the room if you support loving gay couples who want to marry, but if you’re for taking away their rights to marry, you must stand on the other side of the room, how is this not bullying?

Why is it that so many people who support gay rights and preach tolerance, acceptance and love are so eager to discriminate, intimidate and bully those who don’t agree with them?

If there’s evidence that people are born gay, and this is not a persuasion — show us and end the debate — but enough already with the name-calling and arm-twisting. 

The vast majority of those who supported Proposition 8 honestly don’t care if you’re a homosexual. You’re free to do whatever you want, and the state of California grants you all the rights and benefits of heterosexual married couples.

But if you want to expand the law or change the definition of marriage for the 95 percent of the country who do not consider themselves gay, then I think you would be better served educating us with science and evidence rather than calling us demeaning names.

Let the discrimination stop on both sides. We all deserve better.

Gil Mertz is a Santa Clarita resident.


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