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Friday, April 25, 2008

FL - It's Not Called the Hate Amendment for Nothing

Wow. At first glance, that's all I can say about the comments from Pastor Hayes Wicker of Naples, Florida. Here's what he said at an anti-gay event last week:


This is a tremendous social crisis, greater even than the issue of slavery.


Wow.

For those who don't know, fundamentalist right-wingers in Florida are attempting to pass a constitutional amendment in Florida this year that would ban gay marriage in the Sunshine State. The same gay marriage that is already illegal under four separate parts of state law. And this amendment wouldn't just ban gay marriage, it would also prevent civil unions, cities and corporations from offering benefits to gay couples and anyone from giving benefits to unmarried straight couples. But let's leave aside the practical implications of the proposed gay marriage ban in question, I've talked about that in the past and I'll come back to it over and over again throughout the year, let's look at the hate ingrained in this particular phrase.


This is a tremendous social crisis, greater even than the issue of slavery.


Keep in mind, this isn't about banning gay marriage. Gay marriage is already banned in Florida under four different laws. What this nutjob is actually saying is that the fact that they haven't yet enshrined hatred in the Florida Constitution, despite not one single legal gay marriage ever taking place in Florida, is not only a "tremendous social crisis," but one greater than slavery. That shows an astounding amount of hatred not only for gay people, but for African Americans as well.

Let's take a quick look at the history of slavery and its outgrowths in American history:


  • Slavery caused approximately 30 million people to be ripped out of their homes, families and lives
  • Slavery included the horrible conditions of the Middle Passage, where the cramped, diseased and abusive conditions led to the deaths of as many as 15 million people
  • Slavery in America was hundreds of years of the near total subjugation of an entire class of people
  • Slavery involved the beating, flogging, raping, and murder of millions of people
  • Slavery tore apart families, kept people illiterate, and kept most in abject poverty
  • Slavery nearly destroyed the United States
  • Slavery led to the death of one of America's greatest presidents
  • Slavery transformed into sharecropping, tenant farming and the prison-lease system, which combined to keep most African Americans in virtual slavery through the beginning of the twentieth century
  • Slavery laid the groundwork for Jim Crow, lynching, a corrupt justice system, assassination and the long-term economic deprivation of African Americans long past the end of slavery


Now, for comparison's sake, let's take a quick look at the history of no gay marriages in Florida and the fact that the ban on gay marriage isn't in the Florida constitution:


  • Gay marriage ripped no one out of their home, family or life
  • Gay marriage included no Middle Passage
  • Gay marriage killed no one
  • Gay marriage led to the subjugation of no one
  • Gay marriage involved no beatings, floggings, rapes or murder
  • Gay marriage tore apart no families, kept no one illiterate and led to no poverty
  • Gay marriage has had no negative effect on the United States
  • Gay marriage killed no presidents
  • Gay marriage transformed into no forced subjugation or de facto slavery
  • Gay marriage did not lay the groundwork for segregation, lynching, corruption, assassination or economic deprivation


One of these things is not like the other.

And just in case you weren't convinced by that quote that this was all about hate, the article goes further:


Without such an amendment or a law, Wicker said, it could lead to legal marriages in Florida between “man and dog” and “father and child.”


Wow.

This isn't just about hatred, it's about stupidity. How is it possible for someone to be so wrong and so misguided about so much? In the annals of critical thinking there is a logical fallacy known as the slippery slope. Simply put the argument that one step in a particular direction guarantees that we will continue down that path towards worse outcomes. In the real world, it's hardly ever true. In this case, it's incredibly untrue. First off, without this amendment, gay marriage is still illegal in Florida. And even if gay marriage were legal, the fact that two consenting adult humans who are unrelated could marry would in no way legally require bestiality or incest being made legal. It's the height of silliness to think otherwise. Those things would still be illegal under other laws, including federal constitutional law. Beyond that, the people who support the legality of gay marriage don't support the legality of bestiality or incest. In fact, they all oppose it. Just like everyone else. And if gay marriage were made legal, it wouldn't change anyone's opinion on these other issues. How do we know? Because gay marriage is legal in several places. Bestiality and incest aren't. And there are no negative consequences for anyone out of that legalization. Not one. These arguments are ludicrous and the people that say things like:


This is a tremendous social crisis, greater even than the issue of slavery.


Or


Without such an amendment or a law, Wicker said, it could lead to legal marriages in Florida between “man and dog” and “father and child.”


are not only ignorant, they are morally bankrupt and about as un-American as a person could possibly be. Hatred of other citizens based on their innate characteristics, particularly when those characteristics harm no one, is as close to evil as one can get without raping, molesting or killing someone.

Kenneth Quinnell is a regular contributor to African American Political Pundit. Although he is not African American, this publication provides him and others with the opportunity to blog and cross post on topics important to African American community. African American Political Pundit offers opportunities for people of all backgrounds to have conversations about political, social, economic and faith issues. You can also visit Kenneth Quinnell at the Florida Progressive Coalition.

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