I’m a strong supporter of gay rights. No, scratch that, I’m a strong supporter of human rights, and last I checked, gay people are human. I’m also certain that 90% of the problems in the world are caused by people who won’t mind their own damn business. How someone amuses themselves with their genitals is none of my business. Or yours.
But recent events have left me with…wait for it…a bad taste in my mouth. The movement has gone from reasonable demands for equal treatment to appalling demands that wrong thinking people should not be employed.
A review for those who haven’t been following the story: Mozilla promoted Brendan Eich, who co-founded the company, to the position of CEO. Six years ago, he contributed $1,000 to help pass California’s Proposition 8, which outlawed gay marriage. There was no evidence of him ever discriminating against a gay person, at Mozilla or anywhere else, but that didn’t stop activists from calling for his ouster.
The story went viral when OK Cupid modified their web site to lecture Firefox users about the issue, and suggest they switch to a different browser.
As a result of the growing pressure, Eich resigned from his position, and the company he helped create, after just ten days of becoming CEO.
Wrong thinking people should not be employed.
Then it was discovered the Sam Yeagan, the CEO of OK Cupid, donated $1,000 to a politician that was not only against gay marriage, but wanted to ban abortions and funding for birth control both at home and abroad. Shouldn’t Mr. Yeagan be fired too?
Meanwhile, in Portland, Chauncy Childs is preparing to open Moreland Farmers Pantry, where she plans to sell organic and non-GMO food to people who will eagerly play premium prices for food they imagine is magically better for them. Neighbors were delighted until someone visited her Facebook page and saw she left two posts opposing gay marriage. Two! There was no evidence she actually discriminated, or planed to discriminate, against gays, but she was a Wrong Thinking Person. A boycott was announced, before she even opened the store.
Here’s one of her offensive comments:
Yes, I am a Christian. I believe the Bible. I do not support homosexuality or homosexual ‘marriage.’ Yes, I still love you. Yes, we are still friends. No, I am not judging you. No, I am not condemning you to hell. No, I will not let anyone bully you. But realize that name-calling and stereotyping those of us who stand for what we believe is exactly what you don’t want done to you.
While I disagree with her stance on the issue, that sounds pretty reasonable to me, especially, “No, I will not let anyone bully you.”
But that was offensive to gay activist Sean O’Riordan, who posted a YouTube video calling for a boycott before the store even opened. Chauncy responded by visiting him to discuss the matter. Sean agreed to take down the video if she contributed to a LGBT group. She kept her word, made the donation, and Sean removed the video.
Chanucy released a statement that said, in part:
We would like to reiterate our position that we will not discriminate against anyone in any form. We support diversity and anti-discrimination in all business practices. As a gesture of goodwill we donated $1,000 to the LGBTQ Youth program of the Equity Foundation in Portland. This program supports safe communities for LGBTQ individuals where sexual orientation and gender identity should not be the basis for social alienation or legal discrimination.
But even though he removed the video, Sean is still calling for a boycott. An LBGT group is now harassing vendors who are planning to sell their products in the store, vilifying them on a web page until they refuse to let Chanucy sell their products.
Wrong thinking people should not be employed.
When I buy a hot dog from a street vendor, I have no idea of his position on gay rights. Or abortion or the federal deficit or Obamacare or gun control or global warming or the inerrancy of the Bible. I don’t know if he’ll contribute some of the profits from my purchase to Pat Robertson or the ACLU or the NRA or Media Matters. More importantly, I don’t care, not even a little. It’s none of my damn business. I just want a hot dog. With mustard, relish and onions please.
Yesterday I did quite a few errands. I bought several things from several stores. I don’t know about the politics or religious beliefs or morals or life philosophy of the CEOs of the companies that made the products. Or the owners of the stores where I bought them. Or the clerks who rang me out. I’ve hired people to do varous jobs without checking their opinion on any controversial issue. I only care that they can fix the plumbing or paint the siding or get that damn website to look right. It never even occurred to me that I should refuse to hire them if their personal beliefs don’t perfectly coincide with mine.
I used to hold the position that gays should have civil unions, which would be the same as marriage, but we should reserve the word “marriage” for same-sex couples. Around ten years ago I was debating this position in a forum when someone said, “separate but equal is never a good idea.” He was right. I was wrong and changed my mind.
If someone digs up that old forum exchange, or earlier ones from before I changed my position, should I be prohibited from any good job, forever, because I once held an opinion that was not completely, perfectly, 100% on-board with the cause?
In discussions with people who oppose gay marriage, they’ll often combine the term “the gay agenda” with the phrase “being forced down our throats.” I seldom miss the opportunity to poke fun at their choice of words. But in the light of current events, it looks like they may be right. And I hate that they may be right.
Gay activists, you have a right to equal treatment. If someone is actively trying to case gay people harm, actually doing things with that in mind, you should be doing everything you can to oppose them, and I’ll be there offering moral support. But you most emphatically do not have a right to destroy someone’s life and livelihood because of their thoughts, which are none of your damn business. It is a vile and evil thing to do, and it’s going to cost you the support of people who once cheered for your causes.
People like me.