You’ve probably heard it in the news: gays are “bullying” Americans. Michele Bachmann has said it, and now Rupert Murdoch is parroting the same meme over Guinness pulling its sponsorship of New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade because the organizers refused gay Irish Americans the chance to march in the parade.
The ever outspoken Rupert Murdoch took to Twitter after hearing the news that Guinness had pulled its support:
Where will this end? Guinness pulls out of religious parade bullied by gay orgs who try to take it over. Hope all Irish boycott the stuff
With this in mind, here are 5 ways in which gays are apparently bullying America by demanding their constitutional rights:
1. Demanding to Know Where Businesses Stand on Discrimination
First, a little bit more on the New York parade. To be clear, the organizers of the Saint Patrick’s Day parade do have the right to exclude whomever they wish from that parade, and they are not bound by anti-discrimination laws. However, gay rights groups and gay individuals also have the right to point out the discrimination that is taking place when they are excluded from the parade due to no other reason than their sexuality. They also have the right to tell companies that support the parade that there could be ramifications in terms of brand loyalty if they continue to support that parade. If a business then chooses not to support the parade it has done so because it recognizes this discrimination is wrong. It is not bullying, it is in fact an example of working within the bounds of the much lauded free market, something that Rupert Murdoch should appreciate.
2. Winning Marriage Equality Recognition
Michele Bachmman has previously argued that gay people have bullied Americans into accepting gay marriage. That’s hard to believe given that a majority of Americans now regularly poll in favor of equality, but it seems that this is the only way she can comprehend things like the defeat in Minnesota where in just a few short months the state went from defeating a constitutional ban on gay marriage to lawmakers passing marriage equality into law. No one was bullied on this issue, though. All that has been required is for Americans to see that same-sex couples simply want access to the same rights heterosexuals are currently able to take for granted. As this is increasingly recognized, momentum has gathered and marriage equality is now becoming a reality.
3. Fighting Religious Right to Discriminate Bills
Apparently, some groups think that it is bullying to oppose bills like the infamous Arizona bill which would have given the religious the right to refuse service to gay people. To be clear, it isn’t bullying to take action to oppose such measures when any group attempts to discriminate against another or when they attempt to snatch a kind of privilege that allows them to carry out such overt discrimination. Also, it wasn’t just gay people or LGBT groups that were vocally against that legislation. Republican stalwarts like Mitt Romney and Senator John McCain called for Brewer to veto the bill. Were they bullying Arizona too?
4. Opposing Ex-Gay Therapy
Those like Bachmann who support so-called ex-gay therapy have said that gay groups are bullying ex-gays and people who want to “leave” homosexuality behind. They say that attempts to ban ex-gay therapy for minors discriminates against parents and heterosexuals. This is nonsense. There is no such treatment as ex-gay therapy — it isn’t recognized by any mainstream psychological body — and there isn’t any verifiable wide scale study to prove that sustained change is even possible if it were ever even desirable.
It isn’t bullying to point out these facts and say that minors shouldn’t be subjected to this kind of unproven practice when it is nearly always anti-gay discrimination that makes them feel the need to change their sexuality in the first place.
5. Fighting for Trans Rights
We’ve also heard that LGBT groups and in particular “transgender activists” are bullying American schools into allowing trans identifying students the right to access the facilities and scholastic events that comport with their gender identity, such as in the case of the landmark California law. In other areas, anti-LGBT groups have decried attempts like those in Maryland to ensure that trans people are protected from discrimination in areas like employment and housing. It’s not bullying to campaign for the recognition that a disfavored class of people should have the same right to live their lives without the constant threat of facing joblessness and homelessness, or a poorer education, simply because of their identity. Nor is it bullying to point out that where these kinds of laws have been enacted there have been few to no negative consequences and demonstrable positives not just for the LGBT community but for wider school and work environments.
So the likes of Rupert Murdoch are asking “Where will this end?”
The battle for equality will end in a fairer America that doesn’t tolerate unconstitutional and inhumane discrimination, and as Guinness and other companies that have pulled their support for the St. Patrick’s Day parade have shown, that America is getting ever closer.
Photo credit: Thinkstock.