President Bush Continues War on Gay America
His calls for 'civility' and 'respect' don't hide plain old homophobia
Statement by Matt Foreman, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:
"Everyone acknowledges that the "Federal Marriage Amendment" does not have the votes to pass the U.S. Senate this week. Many others have pointed out that the only and obvious explanation for the President's push and the Senate vote - besides the GOP again bowing to the right wing fanatics who are now such an important part of its base - is to distract the nation from other seemingly more important national issues - like Iraq, jobs, health care, and terror - in the days leading up to the Democratic National Convention. Is using the fundamental rights of a minority for political gain deplorable? You bet. Is anyone surprised? Of course not.
A couple of issues seem to be missing in all of this. The first is the utter disingenuousness of the President's call that the debate around marriage equality for gay people be conducted with "civility and decency" and the "ultimate of respect. The President admits "that opinions are strong and emotions run deep." The facts are that even though our families and fundamental rights are at stake, gay people are not the ones using disgusting and hateful rhetoric in this debate. Rather, it is the President's close buddies on the religious right - Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, Traditional Values Coalition and their ilk -- who have been doing that for months on end. They all claim that extending equal marriage rights to gay people will doom western civilization, overturn bans on polygamy and bestiality, and, in the words of the $125 million behemoth Focus on the Family, result in families with 'higher levels of poverty, welfare dependency, child abuse, sexual abuse, substance abuse, premature and promiscuous sexuality, early unwed pregnancy, educational failure, juvenile delinquency, adult criminality and suicide as well as lower levels of physical and emotional health." Tonight, many of these organizations are sponsoring a satellite simulcast to several hundred churches titled "The Battle for Marriage." During their last simulcast on May 23, viewers were told that if the "battle for marriage is lost & your grandchildren will grow up hearing the call to prayer from minarets."
The President and most candidates for office seem oblivious to the fact that there's no way for him to say gay people should not be afforded equal marriage rights without also meaning that gay people and our relationships are inherently inferior, subhuman. Yet, he asks that we discuss this civilly and with respect. And we do.