It's Sunday morning and I have a few minutes to kill before church, so why not engage in some rumination. Patrick McIlheran mildly criticized MPS board member Jennifer Morales' decision to come out as a lesbian. For Patrick, there was something in your face about it; something that was unnecessary and crudely provocative to those benighted folks who still think homosexuality is a sin.
Jay Bullock thinks Patrick just doesn't want to know gay people exist. He implies, but is not so tedious as to actually state, the old trope that any criticism of the Gay Moment in our society is a manifestation of hateful homophobia. A commenter to Jay's post tries to say that a gay person who "comes out" is no different than a heterosexual person who mentions her husband or children.
I have to defend my man, P-Mac, who is the MJS' best columnist who gets more than $25.00 a column. (Actually, probably the best period, but a guy has to represent.)
Is there a difference between hatred of homosexuals or the belief that homosexuality is a sin and assuming the equivalence of homosexual and heterosexual relationships? What does tolerance require? The older sense of that word (and the sense that we still use when we aren't talking about "protected" groups) is that to tolerate is to put up with. The newer sense (and the only sense when we are talking about certain minority groups and lifestyles) is that to to tolerate is to accept and even embrace. Tolerance means that one is to treat the tolerated exactly like everything else.
But I think that there is a large segment of the "non-homophobic" who don't feel quite that way about gays and lesbians. They do not hate gays. They may have gay friends and may accept gays and lesbians in all walks of life. They may support civil unions, or at least are willing to honor and respect gay and lesbian relationships. They don't believe homosexuality is a sin and are not advocates of getting homosexuals to change.
But somewhere, in ways that they may not be able to articulate, they do not believe that homosexuality is "just as good as" or "essentially the same as" heterosexuality. Maybe its a deeply embedded preference for relationships that continue the species (wouldn't evolutionary biologists expect this?) or maybe it's an innate belief that heterosexual relationships are complementary; uniting the two parts of the human family (the Roman Catholic view). In that sense, homosexuality is to be accepted, but heterosexuality is the norm and, perhaps, something to be hoped for.
So many people I know would fully accept their children as gays or lesbians, but are glad that they are not.
Are such people bigots? Are they in need of reeducation?
I can't speak for Patrick and I know that he has been concerned (as I have) with respecting the free speech rights of those who are more critical of homosexuality. But could Patrick's post be, in part, influenced by a recognition that many people feel this way? They are willing to accept gays and lesbians, but there is a point at which they do not wish to have homosexuality up in the grill.