Who Knew There Were That Many?

Wow. And here they say that homosexuals make up somewhere between 10 and 15 percent of the population. Well, apparently not in Virginia.

Who would have thought that 58 percent of Virginians were actually closeted homosexuals so desperate to hide their sexual orientation that they’d actually vote for such an overtly fascist measure as this Constitutional amendment?

Actually, you have to figure that the percentage of homosexuals in the state is much higher, as you’ve got to count on those who actually aren’t so uncomfortable with their sexuality (closeted or open). But man, that’s still a much higher number of gay people than I would have expected. And it’s so strange — in this day and age, we have support systems in place for people undergoing such a struggle. Sure, we may not live in an altogether tolerant society, but you don’t have to be an outcast.

So Virginia, you’re gay. And conflicted. We understand.

I think I’ll make it my goal in life to reach out to these poor folks and help them come to grips with their true natures. And the first step is making absolutely sure they understand themselves — and in no uncertain terms.

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At 3:04 PM, Anonymous said...

Hi there. I found your blog through the Tohubohu site. I hope you don't mind newcomers inserting a comment. I admit that I didn't actually vote on this issue one way or the other, so I guess you could say I'm kind of on the fence. Maybe you could answer a question for me. I hear a lot of people say that not allowing gay marriage is "discrimination", but I've also heard some people say, "yes, it is, but that's not the point." I'd be curious to hear how you'd answer the argument from a guy I know who said that we discriminate against people all the time when we feel it is right to discriminate against them. People who are convicted of crimes, for example, go to prison. They are denied rights (and are discriminated against) but it is because we believe it is OK to discrimiate in those situations. So just saying that this is discriminatory is not enough of a reason. You have to say why we should not discriminate in this context. I didn't see anything in your posts that explains WHY you think discrimination in this context is not OK, and I was just kind of curious what you thought.


At 3:46 PM, Bill Coughlan said...

I don't mind your comment at all. Welcome aboard, Calvin. And you've actually posed a fair question -- complicated by the actual meaning of the word "discrimination."

I "discriminate" when I choose to have a steak for dinner as opposed to a fast-food burger. I "discriminate" when I choose to watch Memento over Police Academy 6. Discrimination as a word is just the exercise of choice based on awareness of quality (real or perceived). The word was coopted into the civil rights lexicon as shorthand for the more unwieldy "discrimination on the basis of... [insert characteristic here]." The conclusion of that sentence is filled with a characteristic that is (a) completely irrelevant to the function being judged, and (b) not held as a matter of choice by the subject at hand.

Furthermore, the use is restricted to contexts in which societal rights are in a position to be denied or restricted (jobs, government, eductation, etc.). As participants in a free society, we are welcome as individuals to associate with whom we like, so long as that association is completely voluntary and unconnected to one of the aforementioned contexts.

Sex, race, and sexual orientation are all characteristics that -- in almost all instances -- have absolutely no bearing on societal functioning (and are in no way chosen by the one holding the characteristics). The fact that a job applicant is a woman, or of a particular national origin, or is gay, have no bearing on the performance of a job at hand. While there are admittedly some instances where such a factor might be relevant (surrogate motherhood, for example), those are extraordinarily few -- and must be shown by actual evidence to be relevant.

In your proposed example, however, the idea of "discriminating" against someone who has committed a crime is a complete red herring -- it has absolutely no connection whatsoever to the question at hand (and, in fact, is improper use of the word "discriminate"). The removal of an individual's rights (for example, by incarceration) is based on actual, relevant information -- the determination of criminal offense by a court of law. The decision-making factors are directly related to the decision being made.

(All of this presupposes a belief in relatively independent free will -- an issue very much in contention among many societal analysts -- but as it's pretty much the underpinning of our social structure, it's unlikely to change any time soon. In other words, though it may not be accurate to assess "guilt" in a larger sense, it allows society to function. But all that's a debate for another day.)

So there is a crystal-clear line as to when we can choose to deny rights to citizens. Citizens who have (a) fulfilled the conditions for full citizenship, and (b) have done nothing criminal to justify the removal of any of those rights, are entitled to all of the rights guaranteed to any other citizen. Period.

And to enshrine such bigotry (i.e., "discrimination' on the basis of utterly irrelevant factors) into the state Constitution is not only ignorant, but repugnant.

But for now, when I encounter anyone who voted for this amendment, I can just respond, "Wow, I had no idea you were gay," and leave it at that.


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