Remember Elton, the dog whose owner gave him to a euthanasia shelter because the owner thought Elton was gay? While, thankfully, Elton was saved, the Catholic League has issued a rant attempting to convince us that this means gay dogs — and gay people — have more rights than their straight counterparts.
The Catholic League’s Bill Donohue has seen this story as an opportunity to launch a bizarre, brain-melting tandem attack on assisted dying and supposed gay privilege. In a post dated January 31, he begins:
The quest for autonomy has reached such a macabre level in the Netherlands that last year the Royal Dutch Medical Association expanded the list of conditions legalizing euthanasia to include “loneliness.”
In the state of Washington, a debate is currently raging over whether to expand the list of conditions legalizing euthanasia to include those who are not terminally ill, as well as those who are mentally disabled.
The height of selective scare-quoting here, for what medical experts in Netherlands have actually done is consider a broadening of assisted dying guidelines to take into account whether an applicant is chronically lonely and to give that and other chronic emotional conditions weight among factors that are used to assess whether an application for euthanasia can proceed.
Furthermore, experts in Washington state have suggested a broadening of the state’s own 2008 Dignity in Dying Act that would carefully and still very narrowly expand the law to allow not just the terminally ill but also those suffering from a chronic condition to decide to end their lives. There is also talk of euthanasia being allowed in cases where a person has created an advanced directive saying they consent to assisted dying should they themselves be unable to consent at a later date.
While assisted dying remains a controversial issue, especially for those with certain religious beliefs, Donohue’s lazy drive-by of the topic is supremely wasteful and more than a little arrogant because it helps advance no understanding whatsoever.
Nevertheless, Don0hue then continues his rant by roping in Elton the dog’s lucky escape, saying:
…not, however, in Elton’s case: the shelter has no stomach for putting dogs down on the basis of sexual orientation. It must be said, though, that the shelter is not exactly inclusive in its policies. To wit: Had poor Elton not been identified as a homosexual, his heterosexuality would not have been enough to save his hide.
The moral of the story is: Being gay is not only a bonus for humans these days, it is a definite plus for dogs as well. As for straights, the lonely and the disabled, that’s another story altogether.
In Donohue’s fit of intellectual vacuum he neglects to consider the truth of the situation: that because the dog in question displayed behavior his ignorant former owner took to mean he was gay — hunching over a male dog — he was then condemned to a shelter and as a result, possible euthanasia. Elton’s escape from the gas guillotine was in no way a testament to his privilege. Far from it, it was because of people like Donohue who spread false claims about gay people and therein perpetuate a culture of anti-gay hysteria that Elton found himself in that unconscionable position.
“To wit:” had poor Elton shown only opposite-sex behavior, he most likely would never have ended up at the shelter. The shelter’s disbelief regarding the story and the resulting Internet outcry was simply a reaction to this injustice.
The moral of this story is: being gay has never been a “bonus” for anyone, and only people like Donohue who feel their heterosexual privilege is slipping with the slow advancement of LGBT civil rights would ever dare to state such.
Image credit: Thinkstock.