Yesterday I mentioned Orrin Hatch's frustration with the use of the term "bigot" to describe supporters of the antigay amendment. He's not the only one getting hot and bothered about the term. Andrew Sullivan responds:
Nevertheless, when opponents of marriage rights for gays never even mention gays in their arguments, never address some of the legitimate concerns that many gay couples have, and refuse even to allow minimal domestic partnerships that allow us to visit one another in hospital without the threat of other family members intervening, then I think we're onto territory where complete uninterest in the fate of gay people blurs into bigotry. To have no social policy toward gays, except that they should repent or be cured or shut up, is a function of profound disrespect, intelligible only through the prism of prejudice.As Sullivan notes, some supporters of the amendment manage to talk about it while pretending that the only people it would actually impact--gays and lesbians--don't exist. One such supporter is President Bush. In his speeches on the topic, he never uses the word gay, never discusses the people who actually get married when the "activist judges" he so loves to scapegoat find that equal protection under the law really applies to everyone, not just heterosexuals. In an interesting LA Times article pondering why this is so, Independent Gay Forum writer David Link says:
...the irony gets thick when the president purports to be evenhanded in conducting this half-debate. Bush said this in his most recent address on the issue: "As this debate goes forward, we must remember that every American deserves to be treated with tolerance, respect and dignity. All of us have a duty to conduct this discussion with civility and decency toward one another, and all people deserve to have their voices heard."It's one thing to make an argument that it will be a better world if gays and lesbians can't marry; I disagree, but at least there are points up for debate. But to pretend that this argument is all about judges is dishonest. It's about people--millions of us, who pay taxes like the rest of you, who go to work every day like the rest of you, and who simply want to know that our families are protected like the rest of yours are. If you can't even bring yourself to acknowledge that we exist, or to consider how we should fit into the bigger picture of American society other than to say that to allow us to marry would bring on Armageddon, what other word can we use to describe you? Bigot seems to fit...
What Americans is he talking about? The ones he consciously never named in his speech? Does he seriously think lesbians and gay men are being treated with "civility and decency" — much less "tolerance" or "respect" — when he will not meet publicly with a gay or lesbian group on this issue and will not even mention that the debate over same-sex marriage is about them?
It is beyond laughable at this point for the president to say that "all people deserve to have their voices heard" when he is the chief person who will not hear those voices.