LGBT equality is happening. For it or against it, the perception battle has been resolved. For decades both sides of this conflict have been making their cases to the American people. Equality fans have argued that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is immoral, and in no way holds up to the Jeffersonian standards our society is built on. It is also impractical, mean spirited, costly and generally shameful in just about every conceivable way. On the other side, our opponents maintain that it is in fact LGBT people that are immoral, because of Jesus. Over time, more and more people have come to embrace the concept of LGBT equality over the mean spirited prejudicial view of homosexuality, in increasingly dramatic numbers. At last count, some 54 members of the Senate now support marriage equality, and recent polling shows the same level of support nationwide.
Despite what considerable legal challenges remain from the days when our leaders used to spend their time attempting to legislate gay people out of existence, the theoretical fight, the “conversation,” is over. We won. Bigots lost. Even Limbaugh knows it.
“This issue is lost,” he said. “I don’t care what the Supreme Court does. This is inevitable. And it’s inevitable because we lost the language on this.”
Limbaugh added that conservatives lost the debate because they allowed the term “marriage” to be “bastardized.”
“As far as I’m concerned, once we started talking about gay marriage, traditional marriage, opposite-sex marriage, same-sex marriage, hetero marriage, we lost,” Limbaugh said. “It was over.”
As our rhetorical victory begins to translate in to judicial and legislative success, being opposed to LGBT equality will increasingly become a marker of the small minded and hateful, and over time will force equality foes farther and farther into the margins of what is acceptable in polite society. This process is inevitable, and has only now begun to really take hold. As of this moment, the path of bigotry has forked away from what is acceptable in the mainstream, never to meet again.
This is, objectively, a tough spot to be in for anti-gay folks. Unfortunately for them, their decades of fighting social progress will inevitably be viewed by people in the future as the loathsome and despicable efforts of small minded primitives, who for no discernible reason chose to oppress what will be by then an entirely accepted segment of society. It will be similar to how we in the present view segregationists of the past.
Meanwhile, many anti-gay activists who have spent years going on record saying and doing things their grandchildren will be mortified about now have to figure out how to gracefully disengage from the hate movement in a way that might help them retain some level of respectability in a world where bigoted behavior toward homosexuals will no longer be tolerated. Some people will have genuine changes of heart, while others will be simply protecting their careers and reputations, but the abandoning of these stale attitudes has already started happening. Many casual equality foes have already started to make this shift, leaving the remaining culture warriors in increasingly extreme and unflattering company. Simply standing alongside these people will soon bring a damaging mark of intolerance.
All the while, we in the equality movement still have fighting to do. The natural impulse of those who remain committed to anti-gay activism will be to double down on hate, shifting to a strategy of obstruction designed to make this inevitable outcome as difficult to achieve possible. This will have the effect of delaying needed legal changes, prolonging the suffering of LGBT families across the nation, and putting LGBT youth in needless danger. This obstruction will slow down, but won’t stop our progress, and serves only to further tarnish the reputations of those engaged in the effort.
Beyond any moral considerations, this is a tremendous waste of resources, especially in service of a fight whose outcome is already determined. The fighting could stop today, provided those with no stake in the matter would simply come to their senses and drop their fruitless and ultimately doomed opposition. As people that have no actual stake in the matter, they could simply give up and move on with their lives. We don’t have that option, as it is our own equality for which we fight.
I think I have a solution that can help resolve this matter quickly. I am proposing an anti-gay amnesty program. The idea here goes beyond a simple armistice. This is about absolution and forgiveness. It gives bigots a convenient exit from their opposition, while at the same time lightening the load for the equality movement. Everyone wins.
The terms are simple. Stop. Just stop. Stop fighting. Stop saying horrible things about us. Stop trying to take our children away. Stop trying to get us fired from our jobs. Stop attacking us, and demonizing us, and trying to make our lives difficult and miserable. You have to give up eventually unless you want this subject to forever defame and define you, so get it out of the way now. Disavow your previous opposition in every way. You don’t have to like us, you don’t even have to really change on the inside. Just lay down your arms, and walk away. If you can do that, if you completely knock off 100% of the hate and get out of the way of equality, we should agree to let you off the hook for every horrible thing you’ve ever done to our community.
I don’t care if you are Tony Perkins or Brian Fischer, if you agree to those terms, if you completely disavow your previous efforts and commit yourself to equality, we will exempt you from the judgment of history. Simply give a speech or release a statement about how you’ve evolved, or how God spoke to you, or whatever you want to do that will allow you to save as much face as you can, and then drop all of your opposition. Think about something else for a change. Surely your energy would be better spent on some other task. I don’t need to see you at pride, I just need you to get out of the way of history.
Simple. Let it go, and we will too.
Now is the time for you to separate yourself from those too foolish to take advantage of this offer. Who do you want to be? The last bigot standing? Or one of the people who took a brave stance in the face of hate, and stood up for what is right? Are you the hero, or the villain in this story? The outcome is determined, and you still have time to decide. You’ll be surprised how quickly our community embraces you. We really are friendly people, when we aren’t being compared to pedophiles and bestiality aficionados.
Consider my offer carefully, because rejecting it comes at a cost. Those who choose not to take this generous opportunity for amnesty will find themselves in increasingly smaller and more extreme rooms, and will become the David Dukes of the next generation. Once the legal matters are decided, our mission will become one of protection, warning the good people of our nation about the dangerous fringes of our society that are bent on destroying honest gay citizens for no reason other than general animus. We will be talking about you. We know your names, and will be making sure everyone else knows them too. Expect boycotts. Expect protesters. Expect outrage every time you so much as look at a television camera. Only shame and disgrace awaits you, and you will carry the weight of it to the grave.
You know those fears you have about losing the ability to publicly express your views on how disgusting gay people are without being labeled a bigot? That fear is valid. That fear means that you know I’m right. You understand what the future holds. You have reached your Scrooge moment. I’ve shown you your future, and now it’s Christmas morning. Your fate can be avoided. There is still time for redemption. You just have to act now. The window is closing quickly, so don’t hesitate.
Benjamin Phillips is an Essayist, Web Developer, Civics Nerd, and all around crank that spends entirely too much time shouting with deep exasperation at the television, especially whenever cable news is on, and proudly serves as Director of Development for The New Civil Rights Movement. He lives in St. Louis, MO and spends most of his time staring at various LCD screens, occasionally taking walks in the park whenever his boyfriend becomes sufficiently convinced that Benjamin is becoming a reclusive hermit person. He is available for children’s parties, provided that those children are entertained by hearing a complete windbag talk for two hours about the importance of science education, or worse yet, poorly researched anecdotes PROVING that James Buchanan was totally gay. If civilization were to collapse due to zombie hoards or nuclear holocaust, Benjamin would be among the first to die as he has no useful skills of any kind. The post-apocalyptic hellscape has no real need for homosexual computer programmers who can name all the presidents in order, as well as the actors who have played all eleven incarnations of Doctor Who.
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