29 March 2011

Combating Bigotry (Letter Sent To The Press Of Atlantic City)

It's with great sorrow that I write this letter knowing now that there are people in my community who are filled with such ignorance, bigotry and misinformation and are willing to put such barbarian ideas on public display. The letters recently published concerning Leonard Pitt's column on gay marriage didn't outrage me as much as made me hang my head in shame for the woeful and deliberate ignorance of the letter writers. Mr. Drake's letter was the usual diatribe of psudo-conservative values, almost as if he was parroting the ramblings of the extreme right without any real concept of the facts nor the wherewithal to know the difference between what he believes or what he's been told to believe. Whilst I agree with him about the validity of the polls concerning the acceptance of gay marriage (you can get a poll that would dispute today is Tuesday), his assertion that gay marriage and civil unions are overwhelmingly voted down is false. Eleven states and the District of Colombia have allowed either marriage or union between consenting gay adults. And as for his claim that being homosexual is a matter of sexual behaviour and not civil rights makes me believe that he is of the mistaken mind-set that believes being gay is a matter of choice. If that is the case then I only have one question to ask Mr. Drake: When did you decide that you liked women instead of men? I know I NEVER made that choice.

I also noticed that he used the hot-button words of "sodomy" and "deviant sex" and I am most assured, without ever meeting Mr. Drake, that he has absolutely no idea what the true definition of sodomy is. If he did, he and his wife are probably practicing sodomites as much as I am.

This brings me to Pastor Ross, another bigot who stands by stereotypes and misinformation and cannot see the illogic through the religious haze he's found himself in. He's one of those people who say that the gays are a promiscious bunch who will not adhere to the sancity and monogamy of marriage and therefore, they should not marry.

Where do I begin? First, if he really wanted to protect marriage, then divorce would be illegal. Once married, always married. If there is no divorce, marriage would be a stable institution. But our lawmakers and pastors frequently have several marriages under their belt and a mistress on the side. Second, to deny gay men and women the right to marry and live together in a monogamous relationship and then complain that they are promiscuous is lunacy! And it also is hypocritical. Marrying several times over your lifetime is also a form of promisciuity, not to mention the adultery.

He also makes the ludicrious claim that all gay men and women are disease ridden. Rubbish! As a gay man who has lived in Atlantic City and knows pretty much every other gay person in the tri-state area, I can assure Pastor Ross that we are a healthy, vibrant people and that the statistics will bear out that we, as a people, have no more diseases than the general heterosexual population. And he should be ashamed of himself to make any assertions that gay men and women are the only risk group for A.I.D.S. It is a global disease and does not discriminate based on sex, race or sexual orientation. Although I am not a religious man, I find my humanity far more compassionate than this supposed man of God.

Mr. Pitts was spot-on in his column. Gay men and women deserve the RIGHT to be married under law. There is no room in this great country of ours to legalize discrimination based on outdated ideals, religious grounds or willful ignorance.

We are a country who's very foundation was based on the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Not allowing me to marry the person I love, be they man or woman, is to deny me my basic right as an American citizen.