February 21st, 2013
David Boies and Ted Olson, the good guys in the Prop 8 battle, have filed their brief with the Supreme Court. At the end of page 1 they say,
Proposition 8 thus places the full force of California’s constitution behind the stigma that gays and lesbians, and their relationships, are not “okay,” that their life commitments “are not as highly valued as opposite-sex relationships”…and that gay and lesbian individuals are different, less worthy, and not equal under the law. That “generates a feeling of inferiority” among gay men and lesbians—and especially their children— “that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone.” Brown v. Bd. of Educ., 347 U.S. 483, 494 (1954).
My third blog post ever, in 2008, barely a month after Prop 8 passed (and long before I was writing for Box Turtle Bulletin), was about the Brown court case, and how poorly I understood it for so many years, and how relevant it is to our battle for legal dignity. This seems like an appropriate moment to bring it back.
I’ve seen documentaries about Brown v. Topeka, and the producers always compare a spiffy 1950s whites-only school with a ramshackle "negro" schoolhouse. That made me think the Supreme Court struck down the "separate but equal" doctrine because the equal part never really happened. But if you read the Brown decision, the Court believed the separate facilities really were equal, or pretty close.
But the good guys won anyway. Why? Because they arrived with studies showing the mere fact of separateness did harm to black kids. The decision included this:
Segregation of white and colored children in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children. The impact is greater when it has the sanction of the law, for the policy of separating the races is usually interpreted as denoting the inferiority of the negro group. A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn.
Relate this to gay kids. We already know they’re at a greater risk for suicide. Now they hear people say, “Settle for civil unions–we’ll give you the rights of marriage but not the word itself. What’s the difference?” Here’s the difference:
Any relationship you have might be good enough for civil unions, but not for marriage. Good enough for an uninspired legal phrase–not for the real thing. Good enough to live on the awkward outskirts of our culture, but not the heart, the core, the soul of America.
When I read the Brown decision, I have to think segregation of straight and gay relationships has a detrimental effect on gays. It denotes the inferiority of gay relationships. It leaves gays with an attitude of futility when it comes to commitment.
I don’t have any evidence on that. I’m not sure evidence is out there. It’s probably time for an enterprising grad student to take that on as a Ph.D. dissertation. And it’s not like we’re helpless victims here. Gay men can fight against this conditioning, and many of us succeed. But why should we have the burden to begin with?
And that leads to me back to gay kids. I just talked to my sister, a surgeon in Frankfurt, Indiana. Now, the city of Indianapolis might be gay-friendly, but the 50-mile drive to Frankfurt might as well be a 50-year voyage back in time as far as gays are concerned. I wonder about gay kids in Frankfurt. I think about Harvey Milk saying that victories in San Francisco gave hope to gay kids in small towns everywhere. And it makes me ashamed I didn’t do more to fight Prop 8, because that loss was a betrayal of gay kids everywhere.
And settling for civil unions instead of fighting for marriage–that would betray them again.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.