Equality is Persecution

Rob Tisinai

November 2nd, 2012

Homosexuals are seeking special rights, blah, blah, blah. We hear this all the time, and all the time it’s the same mistake:

Our opponents are so freaked out by equal treatment under the law that they are unable to read the law.

Today’s example comes from, Greg Quinlan,  president of PFOX (Parents and Friedns of Ex-Gays and Gays), with an editorial on a Christian website:

…homosexuals have now moved beyond equal rights to the “more equal than you” level. As a result, gay organizations are working to ban that practice they fear the most — heterosexual behavior.

Witness the ban on heterosexual therapy successfully pushed by homosexual groups in California.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about this ban, but I’m absolutely clear on one thing: it should be discussed accurately. Quinlan fails. He states:

In short, parents can attempt to change a child’s gender, but they can’t change their child’s sexual orientation unless it is to a homosexual identity.

Wrong. According to the law, here’s what’s actually banned:

Under no circumstances shall a mental health provider engage in sexual orientation change efforts with a patient under 18 years of age.

This is no mere quibble with Quinlan’s language. The entire thrust of his article is the supposed elevation of  homosexuality at the expense of heterosexuality. Yet the law treats them exactly the same.

We see this over and over form our opponents:

  • They claim marriage equality will outlaw traditional marriage.
  • They claim hate crime laws punish anti-gay violence more harshly than anti-straight violence.
  • They claim anti-discrimination law only makes it illegal to discriminate against gays, not straights.

None of these things are true. None of these laws favor gays at the expense of straights. No one who takes a moment to read the language of the law could make such a mistake.

Or so you’d think.

I don’t know whether our opponents’ problem is deception, ignorance, or some psychological inability to read simple words while afflicted with bias. More and more, I suspect it’s an affliction. In any case, your response can always be the same: Show me the language.

If your phone can access Google, then hand it over and watch them flail. You might not convince them — probably won’t convince them — in fact, research indicates you’ll likely leave them more convinced of their error — but if you put them in a tough-enough spot, you might just dampen their enthusiasm for spreading untruth.


November 2nd, 2012

“. . . but if you put them in a tough-enough spot, you might just dampen their enthusiasm for spreading untruth.”

No — they’ll just change the subject and start spouting a different set of lies. I’m not being cute there — just think back to those rare occasions when one of the “family values” attack poodles is challenged on the lies, and you’ll see that changing the subject is their fallback.

Rob Tisinai

November 2nd, 2012

Total agreement with you there, Hunter. Changing the subject (or moving the goalposts) is the prime strategy in a tight situation like that. My point is that if they get uncomfortable enough, they might be less inclined to enter that particular tight situation again later.


November 2nd, 2012

Rob —

I’m taking Tony Perkins as the type specimen here, and I can’t agree with you: I’ve seen both Dan Savage and David Boies point out that he’s lying, and he sat there both times blinking like a lizard that just swallowed a stinkbug and then changed the subject — and the next time he was on TV, he came out with the same lie. (It’s the one about “Social science has conclusively proven that children do best with their married biological parents,” which is untrue on every level. It’s also one of his standard lines.)

Rob Tisinai

November 2nd, 2012

I’m talking about a different situation here (after all, Dan Savage can’t hand Tony Perkins his phone through a cable remote interview and say, “Show me” — though wouldn’t it be great if he could?

I’m taking your average loudmouthed brother-in-law as the type specimen here. Not someone who makes their living lying about us, but the people who repeat their lies in order to look smart and authoritative. Rob them of that and you rob them of their motivation.

How about this, though: we give it a try. Hand the loud-mouth your phone and see what happens down the road.

Bose in St. Peter MN

November 2nd, 2012

I’m still shaking my head at the notion of “heterosexual therapy.”

Heterosexuals in therapy aren’t generally there to talk about their heterosexuality.

LGBT folks in therapy aren’t getting “homosexual therapy”.

Maybe Quinlan’s experience with therapy has been different.


November 2nd, 2012

I wish I could — the only staunch Republican I have regular contact with is my step-mother, who is quite charming and soft-spoken (a Southerner, in the best sense), and in the interests of family unity, politics are off the table. (My father is a staunch Democrat.)

I would guess, though, that the hypothetical brother-in-law would continue sounding off — just not to me.

Timothy Kincaid

November 2nd, 2012

“No — they’ll just change the subject and start spouting a different set of lies.”

Yes… and also no

Sometimes in comments threads I’ll take on one of these people – if I think they are sincere. I’ll point out that their initial premise is incorrect – and do so in terms that are not insulting to them. (really, that’s the key. Say “you’re lying” or “that’s a lie” and now you are insulting their character. Say “that’s not actually correct” and you are inviting them to gain new knowledge).

Once proven wrong, their immediate response – almost without exception – is to move on to the next talking point. I politely debunk that one. And so on. I always assume their concerns are valid and that they truly believe what they say.

Gradually, I’ll introduce the idea that they are being lied to – NOT that they themselves are liars. I keep with the victim idea and try to shift it to point at the ones who are victimizing them by lying to them and trying to make them believe things that are not true so as to manipulate them. (I’ve found it’s best not to guess why they are lying to them, it just generates defense. Let them guess that one on their own).

Eventually they just get really quiet.

Rob Tisinai

November 2nd, 2012

Thanks Timothy. I have to agree. Calling someone a liar gives them a huge incentive not to change their position. That’s another reason why handing them a phone and asking them to look things up might be useful.

Of course, taking the wisdom of what you’ve said, I’m thinking I should think less confrontationally. Less, “Oh, yeah?? Prove it!!” and more, “Really? Let’s look that up and check it out.”


November 2nd, 2012

He sees that anti-gay gravy train drying up. Soon he’ll have to get an honest job and work for a living like the rest of us.


November 2nd, 2012

I second the motion not to assume that anyone who repeats falsehoods is a liar. (I’m talking about commenters, not NOM leaders and the like.) Trust me, there are religious and social conservatives who simply take FotF, NOM et al at their word because hey, why would godly family values organizations lie? ;)


November 3rd, 2012

Marcus —

Good point, and I think it has a direct bearing on my point: when you disagree on something like marriage equality or gay rights in general with with someone who is getting their information from NOM, FRC, and the like, you are challenging beliefs, not a carefully thought out, rational position: you are disputing received wisdom from recognized authority figures.

I’d wager that it takes more than a reasoned argument to change those attitudes. Certainly, they’ll be uncomfortable and less willing to discuss it with you, not necessarily because they are reconsidering their position, but because you don’t recognize “truth” when you see it.

(And as a footnote, my approach is somewhat akin to Timothy’s — I tend to ask questions on the order of “But what about. . . ?” And then they go away.)


November 3rd, 2012

It’s sort of a reversed parallel to the claim from their side that we already have equal protection because the law limits gay and straight alike to opposite-sex spouses.

ricky l

November 5th, 2012

It’s NOT homophobic to support a definition of marriage that isn’t progressive. Angry, bitter and hateful rhetoric towards any conservative is Not tolerance! But, it’s sad for gays and their supporters to attempt to belittle anyone who has a belief system that doesn’t support same-sex marriage. When the gay lobby finally goes after Muslims and Muslim organizations as aggressively as it does Christians by publicly calling out their political positions as “ridiculous” it will be interesting to see how “tolerance” is redefined to make sure they don’t feel picked on. Gays Cannot tout any support for their cause from ANY Muslim group but gays fear Muslims so their ‘hate’ gets a pass because it’s politically correct to oppose the gay agenda only if you’re a Muslim. People see through the phony tolerance.

Rob Tisinai

November 5th, 2012

ricky, it’d be great if you could connect your comment to what’s written in the post. Thx.


November 6th, 2012

@ ricky I

I’m just curious, how much political power do Muslims have in this country?

Or would it be a waste of time and energy to go after a minority with even less political clout than the gay community?

Attacking Jewish or Muslim religious groups individually makes no sense. It’s only when they side with larger organizations such as NOM that they become a large enough target to actually fight against.

Muslims don’t really have a central authority with much of a media presence. You never see individual imams calling for anti-gay measures on television. It may happen but I’ve never seen such a press conference. When it does it will get the backlash from gays that it deserves.

And I don’t see gays sponsoring anti-fundmentalist legislation attempting to strip away their constitutional rights. Do you? Where?

Hateful rhetoric? Oh, horrors, how will they survive our harsh words???

Have gays blamed “fundies” for Katrina? 9-11, Sandy? Call for them to be imprisoned as traitors? No?

But people like Pat Robertson, Paul Ryan, John McTernan, Sean Harris (the list seems endless) have said these things about gays, and more!


November 6th, 2012

Oh, I forgot one of my newest favorites, Charles Worley who called for gays and lesbians to be put in a large concentration camp complete with anelectrified fence!

But we call them homophobes and haters, but they call us Nazis.

What were the Nazis famous for… something involving fences, I thin.

Priya Lynn

November 6th, 2012

he sat there both times blinking like a lizard that just swallowed a stinkbug

I love that line : )

Priya Lynn

November 6th, 2012

Ricky, let me see if I’ve got this straight: Muslims threaten to kill people who criticize their religion so you’re angry at gays for being reluctant to criticize muslims but not christians. So, you think its the gays who are being unfair and unreasonable, not the muslims and you envy Muslims and their willingness to threaten the lives of people who criticize their religious beliefs – gotcha.

And Ricky, its normal for people to be angry at those that insist on injustice. We have no moral obligation to tolerate the actions of those who seek to harm others.

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