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The Post-Game Show » gay apartheid

Posts Tagged ‘gay apartheid’

The Maine Issue

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

I’m told that Maine has a reputation for proud independence. They don’t let outsiders tell them how to think or what to do.

Obviously that reputation is now in tatters, and the proudly independent people of Maine stand exposed as the biggest bitches in the US. In a rare turnabout, the legislature must now be ashamed of their electorate. In April and May of this year, the Maine House and Senate showed their grit and independence when they made Maine the first state in the US to introduce gay marriage through legislative process.

This week, the electorate voted to undo that laudable work, because they were bullied into it by two well-known political pressure groups from outside the state - one in Utah, the other in Rome. Interesting fact: the Mormons and the Catholics still enjoy historic tax exemptions from back when they used to be religious organisations.

The Mormons make their donations through a shell organisation, the National Organisation for Marriage, which, in direct contravention of the law, likes to hide its lists of donors, but we all know it’s those Latter Day shits. The Catholic Church is a hate group that doesn’t care who knows it; they made their $550,000 donation in their own name.

The pro-equality side ran ad campaigns showing how real Maine families would be affected by this law. They presented the people of Maine with stories from their own neighbours, families and friends. The anti-equality side took the same lying, fear-mongering ads from their Prop 8 campaign, and scratched out the word ‘California’ and wrote in ‘Maine’. And the people of Maine fell for it like the easily punked dumb hicks they are.

I know we’re supposed to note that almost 50% of people in Maine voted to preserve equal marriage rights in the state, and we shouldn’t be angry at the whole state, but I’m sick of hearing that. Marriage equality failed, which means the whole state failed. If you live in Maine and you support marriage equality, you did not do enough. That’s a fact. The same goes for California. The same goes for the other 29 states that have voted on and voted down marriage equality.

The point that always needs to be repeated regarding Maine and California is this: the majority voted to strip the rights of a minority. That’s the sort of evil that only the truly sanctimonious could ever get behind. The law ought to protect minorities from such outrageous bullying - and that’s a fact that other minorities might do well to remember, including the Mormons and the Catholics. The biggest threat to their reigious freedom is not gay marriage; it’s the precedent set by overturning it.

A couple of other notes on Maine:

First of all; in the same election that stripped gay people of their marriage rights in the state, a measure was passed that would allow medical marijuana dispensaries in Maine. That’s a progressive cause if ever there was one. Why weren’t Maine’s progressives standing behind gay marriage in the same numbers? Where were you when we needed you, dope heads?

Second; the gay rights movement needs leadership. Groups like HRC and GLAAD enjoy their White House dinner invites too much to push for an aggressive agenda. They spectacularly failed to get President Obama to weigh on on Maine. Under their watch, Obama has proven to be anything but the fierce advocate he promised he would be for gay rights. Under their watch, it looks like marriage equality won’t even be put back on the California ballot in 2010, and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell will get pushed back into Obama’s second term, should he ever get one.

Stronger voices come from bloggers like Pam Spaulding and David Mixner. This week, while arguing for civil disobedience and a closed chequebook for any politican who does not support full equality, Mixner referred to the disparity in rights for gay Americans as “gay apartheid”.

The word ‘apartheid’ entered into the political lexicon because of the policy of racial segregation in South Africa during the second half of the 20th century. Since then it has been used to refer to numerous other incidences of political segregation, including the treatment of Algerians in France, the treatment of the poor in Brazil, and the treatment of Palestinians in Israel. It’s a good term. It’s powerful. It’s the sort of language we need to be using to make our case with rhetorical force.

And as soon as Mixner used it, people started arguing that ‘apartheid’ as a term should be held in reserve, in the same way that we protect the term ‘Holocaust’. (The gays did have a holocaust, of course; we call it ‘the Holocaust’.)

I’ve never heard anyone suggest that we firewall the term ‘apartheid’ before. Even Desmond Tutu, former Archbishop of Cape Town, drew parallel between homophobia and South Africa’s Apartheid in an article five years ago. As far as I’m concerned,’apartheid’ is established political shorthand for any system of political segregation. But now the gays have used it - in a way that casts the USA in a very poor light that it well deserves - and suddenly it’s off limits.

Now it seems we need to calibrate the depth of gay suffering against black suffering in South Africa from 1948-1994, and if the social and economic disparity of marriage inequality laws in America are not found to be up to snuff (and they won’t be) gays can’t use the term. And this is a view being expressed by progressives! Maybe they’re the same ones who cherish medical marijuana but don’t give two toots about marriage rights?

Incidentally, do you know what happened if you were gay in South Africa during the Apartheid era? Homosexuality was illegal, so you went to prison. More gruesome than that; in a country where every white male over 16 was forced into military service, they didn’t have Don’t Ask Don’t Tell; they subjected suspected homosexuals to electric shock therapy, chemical castration and forced sexual reassignment surgery. As far as I can find, there has never been a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for this. And do you know what name we all used to describe that system of political oppression?

Oh, you big silly. Why would we have a name for something no-one ever talks about? We didn’t boycott or sanction South Africa because of their treatment of homosexuals! Mistreating homosexuals was normal.

And in the US, it still is - whereas South Africa passed same-sex marriage laws back in 2006.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Give: If you are a supporter of America’s Democratic party, please consider supporting this callto suspend all donations to the DNC until they enact the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act.