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Another round of intolerance

Matt Zalaznick

Colorado, thanks to Wayne Allard and Marilyn Musgrave, is doing for homophobia in early 21st century what Alabama did for racism in the early 20th century. As acceptance of homosexual lifestyles grows in most of America, and other absurd intolerances flame out, Allard and Musgrave are trying to keep one dying fire of hatred burning generations into America’s future. They’re passing on the fuel of bigotry that true statesman like Martin Luther King Jr., Barbara Jordan and John F. Kennedy worked to obliterate from sea to shining sea. And while the head of Wayne and Marilyn’s grand old party talks about Americans being at their best while they’re letting freedom ring, these two Republican members of Congress from Colorado are trying rein freedom in. Down-armored Americans are dying while spreading democracy abroad. Gay Americans are still being brutally killed while trying to be themselves. Americans are still threatened by al-Qaida while they try to be confident consumers who are part of an ownership society. Perhaps, instead of a Defense of Marriage Act, Allard and Musgrave should be pushing a Defense of Soldiers Act. Or a Defense of Homosexuals Act. Or Defense of American Ports Act. Doesn’t Congress have more critical shores to safeguard than a so-called institution that isn’t threatened by a pair of lesbians smooching at the county clerk’s office?In a press release announcing his trashy, vicious legislation, Allard double-talked around the hate speech, but did start squirming down a slippery slope: “Support for this amendment comes from a broad cross-section of America, cutting across ethnic and religious lines, which believes as I do that it is important to ensure that marriage continues to be defined as it has been defined historically and culturally as the union between a man and a woman,” he wrote. Let’s go through some similar “historical definitions” that fortunately have lost their twisted meaning in modernday America: black people are a sub-species fit only for menial labor, a woman’s main purpose is making babies and keeping her mouth shut, Jews drink the blood of children during their religious ceremonies. A better definition of “historical definition” is “stereotype.” And all the pandering from the defense of marriage movement about these activist judges eroding the bedrock of American culture is a smokescreen. They don’t seem to mind the activist judges (including our incoming attorney general) their party has appointed to support: torturing Iraqis, depriving women of their right to choose, and blotting out the teaching of evolution in our schools with copies of the Ten Commandments, morning prayer sessions and a crackpot theory called “intelligent design.” But states from Oregon to Ohio are banning gay marriage. Polls show Americans generally think marriage should be between a man and a woman. Senatorial supports of Allard’s bill come from Florida, Oklahoma and Alaska. And in other news from gay-bashing land, the defenders of liberty are adding cartoon characters to their homophobia hitlist. While James Dobson of Focus on the Family wants to lynch SpongeBob for who he hangs out with, new Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings – that’s right, education – is blasting a PBS bunny.The bunny, Buster, visits American families. On one yet-to-be-aired episode he visited a Vermont family of only moms. The “very seriously concerned” Spellings fretted that “many” parents don’t want their children “exposed” to such lifestyles, but she didn’t seem bothered about exposing children to her hatred. Lesbians are apparently a bad influence in some bizarre way intolerance is not. But to PBS’s shame, the Buster’s dally with the “depraved” has been yanked. So Allard, Musgrave and their unholy alliance may succeed, and if so, they will leave legacies of tolerance and cultural awareness on par with arch-segregationalists like Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms and George Wallace. Yes, Allard may well succeed. But someday history will remember this among America’s darker acts. City Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or mzalaznick@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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