Anti-gay propaganda rampant after NY passes lawThursday, July 21, 2011 By Shelly Walston
When the New York Legislature made it legal for same-sex couples to marry, civil rights took a big step over the threshold. Yet many columnists have used it as a reason to slip sneaky anti-gay propaganda into the press. Jessica Bennet’s “Gay Marriage Gets Cold Feet,” published online at The Daily Beast July 1, makes the contention that same-sex relationships are strained now that couples have the right to marry. “ But for many New York gays and lesbians elated by last month’s marriage ruling, victory has brought with it a new (and very old) brand of pressure—the kind gay couples have never had to face,” Bennet writes. This claim is ludicrous. Civil rights activists (and I hope the general public) would guffaw at the assertion that Rosa Park’s monumental moment on the back of the bus could be boiled down to an argument that desegregation gives African Americans too many choices. Allowing same-sex couples to marry is a civil right, and deconstructing the law to a claim that new pressures are far too overwhelming for same-sex couples is an example of anti-gay propaganda feeding the media beast. And Bennet’s article isn’t the only one out there. Even The New York Times is posting columns with an anti-gay take on the new legislation. Theirs, however, are cloaked in the guise of same-sex couples going cautiously to the church—that the relationship might not last the test of marriage as a long-term commitment. Author Karen Hartman tries to garner legitimacy (or camaraderie) by calling herself a “hasbian”—a term I had yet to hear—a former lesbian now in a heterosexual marriage. What Hartman and Bennet fail to take into consideration (or maybe they did take it into consideration) is that these subtleties affect the community. This propaganda is as harmful to civil rights as hateful signs hoisted by Phelps and his crew protesting homosexuality in America are to the prospect of having a peaceful funeral. Sure, same-sex couples may have a few more pressures placed on them by friends or partners—the pressure to commit to a marriage—but that doesn’t mean it’s the kind of pressure they can’t bear. Sure a same-sex marriage may end in divorce, but it’s nothing the community can’t bear. Nothing the community hasn’t been able to bear in heterosexual communities. Journalists, advocates, hasbians and the general public need to realize that the right to marry is a civil right, one that has now legally been granted to same-sex couples in New York, along with all of the pressures and responsibilities. And I’m pretty sure same-sex couples can handle them. Look what they’ve been handling since the landmark uprising at Stonewall.