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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Politicians, religious leaders play politics of hate”

    Sam Feldmancolumnist
    Sam Feldman
    columnist

    I wanted to give President Robert Shelton a big hug last week. He announced that he opposes Proposition 107, the Arizona ballot measure seeking to add a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and any legal recognition of domestic partnerships.

    It couldn’t have been better timing, either because this is National Coming Out Week at the UA. It’s the time of year when the university’s gay community and advocacy groups seek to educate everyone else on la vida gay. But what’s missing from these great university-focused events is a larger contextual picture of being gay in America.

    “”These attacks are the politics of hate, and anyone advocating for them should be
    ashamed.””

    According to the 2000 Census Bureau calculations, there are 1 million children being raised by my people, belonging to over 600,000 same-sex couples. That does not include the undercounting many gay advocacy groups estimate.

    Gay men and women are entering into long-term relationships, raising children, working as janitors, lawyers, Congress members and teachers and pursuing the American dream.

    We are feminine; we are butch. We shop for fashionable clothes and some of us are even (gasp!) sloppy. We fly in the face of stereotypes every day. Yet the prevailing stereotypes of effeminate gay men and butch lesbians dominate. Some of us do swish and go to Home Depot, but not nearly all of us.

    Although I do not agree with them, I absolutely understand stereotypes. However, I still do not understand the assault on gay men and women’s rights occurring every day across America. These attacks are the politics of hate, and anyone advocating for them should be ashamed.

    Specifically, I am talking about Arizona’s own Proposition 107, which would engender hate into our state’s constitution. It would end domestic partnerships and even other benefits provided by employers to both straight and gay unmarried couples.

    Same-sex marriage is already illegal in Arizona by statute. No state or local government can legally marry two men or two women. This is clearly not enough for the hate-mongering religious right.

    But it’s more than legal benefits. The no-less-than-evil proponents of similar measures around the country are playing the politics of hate. Proposing these amendments and decrying an “”attack on marriage”” is a trick to get their base (programmed sheep) motivated so they increase turnout. It’s a dirty game, to say the least, and in the end it could be the Republicans who are hurt most.

    Think about former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley. According to reliable sources, it was an open secret in Palm Beach, Fla., his home district, that Foley was gay. However, he is a Republican, and he seemed to believe that in order to be elected, he had to stay closeted. Perhaps that is why he hit on house pages instead of dating adult men.

    This is a foul game the Republicans are playing with American moral values. The continued injury and death inflicted on gay Americans is another result of these tactics. By tacitly arguing that homosexuals are inferior to heterosexuals, the politics of hate creates an excuse for violence and subjugation.

    However, Republicans would not be politically motivated to care about same-sex marriage were it not for an electorate that endorses this strategy. Therefore, I turn to the touchiest of subjects: religion.

    Religious leaders in this country are all different – across religions, denominations and even localities – so I do not seek to group them all together. However, the pervasive wisdom is that some, mostly evangelical, religious leaders are the main proponents of this form of legislated hate.

    These evangelical leaders, however, know only how to skim the Bible when seeking which of their religious principles to encode into law. Leviticus endorses sacrifices (7:1) and slavery (25:44), and says it is an abomination to touch pigskin (11:6), cut your hair (19:27) and eat shellfish (11:10). Maybe we need a constitutional amendment against football and shrimp.

    Further, even an easy-reader guide to American history would explain the numerous times extreme religious leaders have been on the wrong side of the debate. The Bible has been used and misused to defend slavery, the denial of civil rights to people of color and the subjugation of women.

    What the Bible does advocate for is love for our fellow man and respect for individuals. Jesus would surely not approve of the politics of hate advocated from America’s pulpits.

    This is a dirty game Republicans, religious leaders and “”values-voter”” sheep are all propagating and it needs to end. This November, say no the nasty tactics of these extremists and vote no on Proposition 107.

    Samuel Feldman is a junior majoring in political science and Spanish. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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