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May 28, 2013

Michael Kinsley Claims Anti-Gay Bigots Aren't Monsters. I Say Bullshit!


In a column for The New Republic, Michael Kinsley wrote an opinion piece that’s entitled “Being against marriage equality doesn’t make you a monster,” and I disagree with him wholeheartedly.  

Kinsley makes excuses for the anti-gay forces who don’t support gay marriage, and defends the conservative Republican Dr. Ben Carson. Carson was supposed to speak at Johns Hopkins University’s graduation ceremony, and stepped down after his controversial anti-gay remarks created a firestorm.

On Fox News, Carson said "Marriage is between a man and a woman. No group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality -- it doesn't matter what they are. They don't get to change the definition."

Being the cheeky chap that I am, I sent Michael Kinsley an email to register my outrage.

Gawker’s Tom Scocca wrote about Kinsley’s column, and took Kinsley to task too.

Tom wrote:
Last week, peripatetic contrarian-liberal editor-pundit Michael Kinsley used his newish column in his old magazine, the New Republic, to complain about the closed-mindedness and intolerance that supporters of gay marriage have displaying toward their opponents.
Michael Kinsley is not against gay marriage, personally. He invented gay marriage, as he tells it, with the help of Andrew Sullivan.
The occasion for Kinsley's distress was the news that Dr. Ben Carson, the head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, would not be delivering the commencement address at the Hopkins School of Medicine.
Oh, but, look: It's next Tuesday now. What has happened since Kinsley made his case on behalf of the people who aren't yet ready to accept gay people as equal? Over the weekend, Mark Carson, a gay man, was fatally shot in the face in New York City, apparently murdered by someone who was offended by seeing him walking out in public with a man. Two more gay-bashing attacks reportedly happened in New York last night. Overseas, Georgian Orthodox priests led a rock-throwing mob against a gay-rights march. And the most pressing gay-rights issue is whether people are being too easily offended by homophobia? Hey, Michael Kinsley: Shut the fuck up.

This is my email to Michael Kinsley in full:

May 28, 2013

Dear Mr. Kinsley:

I hope this email finds you well. I have long admired your work, both in print and on Crossfire.

I read your recent column entitled “Being against marriage equality doesn’t make you a monster.” I  agree that opposition to marriage equality in itself, doesn’t mean that someone is a monster. I do think that an individual who opposes same-sex marriage is biased, and without any rational reason to oppose gay marriage, they must  be characterized as the homophobic bigot that they are.

By all accounts, Dr. Ben Carson is a brilliant neurosurgeon. By all accounts, Dr. Ben Carson equates homosexuality with bestiality and being a pedophile (NAMBLA), and I would call him a monster.

Dr. Carson’s apology and alleged support of civil unions doesn’t negate how he characterized the LGBT community. He apologized for his choice of words, but NOT for his position. Supporting civil unions doesn’t get him off the hook either.  As Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in March, it’s “skim milk marriage,” and it’s an argument that promotes a  “separate but equal” point of view --- and anything short of full equality is completely unacceptable.

Your assertion that the Johns Hopkins University dean failed to defend the “core value” that is  tolerance is preposterous. Most Americans are very tolerant of divergent views, whether it’s religion or politics, or our favorite sports teams, or different cultures. We are taught to respect others, and are encouraged to be tolerant, both at home and school.

To suggest that Johns Hopkins University should be tolerant toward Dr. Ben Carson’s views of homosexuality, when he made his remarks on national television,  as a Johns Hopkins  medical doctor, denigrates his profession and the university. Carson didn’t support his point of view with medical facts or scientific evidence, he used lies and scare tactics that are usually the preserve of the monsters that comprise the organized opposition to gay marriage.

You suggest that because Dr. Carson “fixes children’s brains” that he should be given a break. Then you write “All he did was say on television that he opposes same-sex marriage.” Yes he said he opposes same-sex marriage, and he equated the gay community with bestaility and  child molesters. Do you have any idea what effect that kind of rhetoric has on children? Do you know what harm that causes to LGBT kids around the country? Can you imagine what a parent might think when they hear a distinguished surgeon make those assertions?

In our free speech society, there’s anti-gay rhetoric everywhere. The intolerance reflected in the anti-gay  hate speech that’s infected our churches, our news, and political rhetoric, adversely affects our society, and especially our children.

We hear about a rash of adolescent suicides, and a bullying epidemic in our culture. There are social scientists and medical professionals who have researched these problems, and there is a correlation between anti-gay hate speech and the mental health of adolescent LGBT kids.

With an inordinate amount of adolescent children who harm themselves, and in some cases, take their own lives, your suggestion that we should tolerate remarks like Dr. Carson’s is outrageous.  How can you tell us to tolerate the incendiary propaganda and lies, when they have such a grave effect on so many people?

You can think that Dr. Ben Carson’s remarks were silly, while I find them reprehensible. When the next gay kid commits suicide, talk to their parents and explain that Dr. Carson’s rhetoric was silly. When a parent finds out that their child is a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender teen, and they throw their kid out of the house, I’d like to hear you tell the homeless kid that what Dr. Carson said was harmless.

If I didn’t know any better Mr. Kinsley, I might mistake you for being a monster.

Sincerely,

Roy Steele

PS: The origins of gay marriage began in 1967.


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