You wouldn’t think such a basic fact would be controversial in this day and age, but unfortunately it is. Conservative Christians get all up in arms over books like “Heather Has Two Mommies” being in libraries, and don’t think gay people (like this student teacher who was removed from the classroom after acknowledging he was gay) should be anywhere near their children. They think there’s some kind of “gay agenda” that’s being pushed.
However, as Johann Hari lays out so well in “Why is it wrong to protect gay children?” the only goal of the “gay agenda,” if there were one, would be to make sure gay people have all the rights and guarantees heterosexual people do. He wrote the column after hearing about Jonathan Reynolds, a 15-year-old who killed himself by lying on railroad tracks after being bullied mercilessly for being gay. No one knows whether he was actually gay or not. As he was lying on the tracks, he sent a text message that said in part:
“I am human just like them.”
But apparently acknowledging that gay people are people too is a radical concept that our children just can’t be exposed to. It’s those types of attitudes that lead to the suicides of so many youths and the murder of people like David Kato, a Ugandan activist whose picture was published on the front page of a newspaper with the tag “Hang Them.”
You can oppose their rights all you like, but gay people exist. They have for all of human history, which means they’re not going away anytime soon. The religious right just can’t accept that they have lost. More and more people are in favor of gay marriage with each poll that is taken, and there’s a huge generational divide. Young people are much more supportive than their elders.
Let us also not forget some of the most strident anti-gay campaigners don’t live in heterosexual bubbles. Karl Rove’s father was gay. Dick Cheney’s daughter. George Bush aide and former National Republican Committee chairman Ken Mehlman. Larry Craig. Ted Haggard. The list goes on.
Of course, the easiest thing for everyone to do in these situations is recognize gay people exist and it’s OK to be gay. But no one has ever accused the religious right of making sense.