Last week's post here on Live, Love, and Learn elicited an anonymous responder who left no comment of their own other than two hyperlinks for us to visit and draw our own conclusions from. Clearly the person leaving these links thinks along the lines that bring us the character of Dr. Smith.
The first link belongs to an article by Scott James in the New York Times titled "Many Successful Gay Marriages Share an Open Secret". The article goes on to give the argument that new research shows same sex couples have open relationships, and this seems one ground by which people should disapprove of same sex marriage. The underlying message becomes more clear with this portion of the article:
"As the trial phase of the constitutional battle to overturn the Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage concludes in federal court, gay nuptials are portrayed by opponents as an effort to rewrite the traditional rules of matrimony. Quietly, outside of the news media and courtroom spotlight, many gay couples are doing just that, according to groundbreaking new research."
The flaw in this statement is that heterosexual couples pioneered open marriages, not gay couples, coining the term "swingers" to refer to it. Gay couples obviously cannot be responsible for a condition that existed before their marriages were legal, so couples who decide to open their marriages are far from rewriting what has already been rewritten.
Those who wish to have open relationships, married or not, face the ire society has for them as their penalty, but it is not grounds for dismissing their freedom to marry. In no way does the decision of swingers effect an outside party's beliefs, or lessen the ability of people who disapprove to enjoy their own marriages.
James' article when read fully does attempt to deliver evenness (while still incorrectly assigning swinging as a new creation from gay couples) to the the argument quoting benefits to swinging:
"And while that may sound counter-intuitive, some experts say boundary-challenging gay relationships represent an evolution in marriage — one that might point the way for the survival of the institution."
The second link that was shared anonymously with us was to an article written by Mary Ann Bragg of the Cape Cod Times titled "Cape Activists Support Child Pornographer". The article is about John Perry Ryan, 62, of Braintree, Vt. who was once a gay rights activist in Cape Cod and who is now convicted of disseminating child pornography.
While the facts against Ryan are compelling you need look no further than the title of Bragg's article to see an anti-gay inflammatory statement that encourages the stereotyping of GLBT Americans. I'm on the Cape and I'm also a gay rights activist. I most certainly don't approve of child pornography, and I resent being impugned by Bragg's blanket statement "cape activists support child pornographer" which might as well say "Gays are Pedophiles" since that seems the subliminal value of the title when read at a glance. All the people I know, gay or otherwise, openly and loudly denounce any form of child abuse including child pornography.
Interestingly, and for reasons unclear Bragg publishes the names of seven of the more prominent people who came to Ryan's defense by writing letters on his behalf asking for leniency based on his former accomplishments as an activist. Bragg does this not once, but two days in a row while reporting on Ryan. While these letters may be part of a publicly heard case and therefore public information it begs the question; doesn't posting their names encourage intimidation and therefore wrong? Isn't this akin to the same argument that has kept KnowThyNeighbor.org from publishing the names of petition signers in Washington state who signed an unsuccessful anti-equality effort? Is it different when the shoe is on the other foot?
Ms. Bragg's article is irresponsible and beneath her ability as well as Cape Cod Times' standards of fair and ethical unbiased journalism because of the article's title. As in the first article cited by our anonymous contributor the title seemingly baits the reader into thinking along bigoted stereotypical lines.
A fundamental ethical principle we can all live by is that we should be viewed as individuals afforded the dignity our own actions and intents deserve. This is an ethic America, in all its diversity needs in order to grow in healthy unity. We as a nation need courage, wisdom, and determination to look carefully at each situation and be sure that we are not hastily judging others and unnecessarily restricting someone rights based on their differences from ourselves. Might does not make right, not in America, not anywhere. The recent voting away of GLBT equality in several states only serves as an example of our discriminatory past and how we will eventually look back at these mistakes with the appropriate shame we do our other hard learned lessons.
My question for the moderate middle is such; When is it ethical to suspend the fairness of equality and view a group of people with only one common bond as a stereotyped threat based on unsubstantiated fears? The answer is never, and more by the day stand with me United.
"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people." Martin Luther King, Jr.