Abundance of malice | VailDaily.com

Abundance of malice

Matt Zalaznick

So where’s the threat? That’s what supporters of gay marriage don’t understand.

Truly, we have no idea why a group of Americans wants to use the monstrous weight of a constitutional amendment to prevent their countrymen and women from being happy, as they allegedly are.

Isn’t the Constitution supposed to deal with grander issues – such as freedom of speech, protection against unlawful search and seizure, even the right to own guns – than romance, intimacy and home-making?

Unfortunately, this growl of intolerance is just one tentacle of a sleazy push by the “small government” Bush administration and its adherents to push a faith-drunk government’s opinions farther and farther into the private lives of Americans under the guise of patriotism and morality.

It was the president’s brother, Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, who interfered with a husband’s court-approved desire to take his comatosed wife off life support. Now whatever your opinion of euthenasia in such sad and terminal cases is, how is this family matter any of Jeb’s business? He should worry about his own domestic troubles and make sure the state provides all the services it’s supposed.

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Similarly, how is love between two men or two women – or a black man and a Chinese woman, or a Jewish man and a Lebanese woman – the business of President Bush, Sen. Joe Lieberman, Wayne Allard or Marilyn Musgrave? The latter two are the members of Colorado’s congressional delegation who are staunch proponents of the constitutional ban on gay marriages.

The Supreme Court of Massachusetts has rightly said that anything less than full-marriage rights for homosexuals is insufficient. In other words, gays and lesbians deserve the same rights as other Americans and Uncle Sam should keep his archaic dogma out of their dens and bedrooms.

But the anti-gay marriage movement is unquestionably a veiled way for politicians and other uptight zealots to attack the entire gay lifestyle while also being seen as a defenders of morality and their sad version of the “American” way.

A couple of summers ago, the Vail Daily ran a photo of an outwardly gay man on its cover. The reporter who did the story was worried about it being preachy – surely the Vail Valley was comfortable enough with its own lifetstyles and sexualities to see the joy in the man’s face – he happened to been wearing a tutu and twirling a baton in the street.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t entirely the case. While some readers appreciated the article, the reporter received two despicable voice messages – from a pair of cowards so proud of their hate speech they didn’t leave their names or phone numbers. The reporter wasn’t able to respond to them, so he will respond now.

First of all, the two men accused the reporter of being gay – that’s not an insult. They used ugly language and ironically, after drooling out their spite, said they were furious that children had seen pictures of the gay man on the front page of their newspaper.

What children saw on our cover that day was a man with a beaming smile, delighted with what he was doing, and if they read the story, learned about a man whose comfort with his own personality and sexaulity helped him overcome the traumatic loss of his job – he was a flight attendent furloughed after the Sept. 11 attacks. That’s a far better thing for children to read than the craven slurs and wicked attitudes of the two callers.

Perhaps some of this fear of gay marriage is attributable to twisted self-loathing born of the failure and exploitation of heterosexual marriage in this country. “Journalists” such as Larry King and Diane Sawyer gawk and gush over the vapid and soul-less marriages and divorces – or not quite marriages – of plasticized celebreties like Liza Minelli and Ben Affleck. Politicians righteously excoriate their counterparts for having affairs only to admit their own “indiscretions” a few days later.

For marriage has been reduced to reality T. drivel, and marriage has reduced couples to financially ruined ex-couples as people spend more and more money they don’t have on lavish weddings.

Perhaps some of this fear of gay marriage is the side effect of an erosion of love and respect in heterosexual marriage. Yes, America is a traditional society that expects everyone to be married, sometimes regardless of any affection and admiration between the betrothed.

And we’ve heard pandering about the sacred institution of marriage, we’ve heard the droning sanctimonies about “the children” – and not only from the far right wing. It’s also come from many of the Democratic presidential candidates, including that previously mentioned ex-candidate from Connecticut who is also a member of a minority that for centuries faced, and in some parts of the world is still facing, the same hatred American homosexuals are facing now.

For the purposes of disclosure, the author of this column is a member of that same religious minority. It’s always so heartening to see members of minorities stick up for each other. I guess we’ll call it …

The saddest aspect of this debate is that behind all the yammering about the urgent need to protect American marriage are the most vicious strains of intolerence and hatred – the same toxin that continues to poison segments of white America against blacks and other minorities, the same virus that deranged Germans to annhilate Jews with gas chambers, gas trucks and death squads that, in a single day in the Ukraine, killed nearly eight times as many Jews as terrorists wiped out working people on Sept. 11.

That’s not to belittle the events at the World Trade Center. It’s meant to show man can hate – and still does hate – on mind-bogglingly spectcular scales, using the same absurd reasons supposedly endorsed by biology, ideology and religion.

In a story in The New York Times, Dr. Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, responded to the president’s State of Union address in which Bush came darn close to advocating constitutionally-sanctioned homophobia. Land was quoted by the Times as saying: “(Bush) made the case for the necessity of an amendment, and I am puzzled as to why he did not, having diagnosed the problem, prescribe the only remedy, a federal marriage amendment.”

For a Jew, for anyone who has studied the Holocaust or any of the other genocidal disasters of very recent history, talk of “diagnosing a problem” and prescribing the “only remedy” are as chilling as it gets.

Land’s words are reminiscent of the virulent propaganda of another regime that diagnosed “a problem” and implemented a “final solution.”

Matt Zalaznick, assistant editor for local news, can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or mzalaznick@vaildaily.com

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