Yes, Brendan O’Neill, Anti-Gay Voters Are ‘Ill-Informed,’ And So Are You
In a ridiculous, poorly-researched opinion hatchet job examining the aftermath of Amendment One, titled, “The bile being spat at the people of North Carolina exposes the ugly elitism of the gay-marriage lobby,” (link) Brendan O’Neill, a writer for the U.K.’s conservative broadsheet, The Telegraph, writes that “the message coming out of liberal circles in America this week” is that, “[a]pparently if you oppose gay marriage you are a dumb, ill-informed, brainwashed, knuckle-dragging hick and bigot.”
Well, yes, pretty much, that’s true.
But let’s remove the “knuckle-dragging” part — because racism has no place in this discussion, and I abhor when people spout racist rhetoric. Homophobia and racism are ugly and evil, and I’ll have no part of either.
That said, O’Neill has done his U.K. readers a true disservice.
Aside from the fact that if you oppose same-sex marriage, you are a bigot — for there is no valid reason to oppose same-sex marriage, just as there is no valid reason to oppose interracial marriage — what O’Neill fails to address is the fact that, as polls found, the vast majority of North Carolina voters had no real idea what they were voting for.
Polls found the majority of North Carolina voters do oppose same-sex marriage. But they don’t oppose civil unions or other vehicles to legally recognize same-sex unions — or opposite-sex unions — and had they known Amendment One would make civil unions illegal they would not have voted for it. That is a fact conspicuously missing from O’Neill’s liberal-bashing diatribe.
A constitutional ballot initiative, Amendment One would change North Carolina’s constitution by permanently banning same-sex marriage and any other relationship that is not “one-man, one-woman” marriage, remove orders of protection from domestic violence victims, and even remove children from their parents’ insurance policies.
Chances are good that even the most rabidly anti-gay voter does not want to rip away protections from their straight neighbors down the street, or their children. Amendment One will have that effect, essentially, in the eyes of the law, divorcing 185,000 North Carolina heterosexual cohabitating couples.
For O’Neill to ignore this huge fact shows his ignorance — willful or otherwise. To use his words, yes, he is “ill-informed,” and has now, like America’s Fox News, injected his audience with mis-information. Congratulations, Mr. O’Neill. Welcome to America.
Frankly, it’s offensive when writers don’t do their homework, but it’s exponentially offensive when they are from another country and wade into matters that they don’t understand.
And let me be clear. We have authors at The New Civil Rights Movement from other countries, and we value their work, in part because they bring a unique perspective to the discussion. Brendan O’Neill brought nothing to his readers in his piece trashing pro-gay media that, at times, rightfully lambasted anti-gay voters.
But worse, O’Neill — in typical Michelle Malkin fashion – also focused on the comments of anonymous Twitter and social media users, and anonymous commenters on blogs, as the evidence of the “bile” of the “gay-marriage lobby.” I assure you, whatever the “gay-marriage lobby” is — if it even exists — it has far better things to do than troll Twitter and Facebook and blogs and leave anonymous comments. And those who do leave ugly anonymous comments don’t deserve to have them amplified. If you don’t have the courage to sign your name, what you have to say isn’t really worthwhile, is it?
So, dear reader, bear with me and take a moment to read a central portion of O’Neill’s complete lack of understanding of the anti-gay animus of North Carolina’s Amendment One:
The media says they’re all “bigots”. Apparently they were driven by a typically Southern hatefulness. In fact, according to the LA Times, “even by Southern standards, [this was a] remarkably mean-spirited initiative”. The LA Times went so far as to argue that President Obama’s newly stated support for gay marriage is “similar” to Abraham Lincoln’s support for the emancipation of slaves, the implication being that it is massively disappointing that modern-day blacks in North Carolina, those ungrateful beneficiaries of Lincoln’s stance, did not vote to “liberate” gays today. Maybe they’ve been brainwashed into hating homos. According to the New Civil Rights Movement, one of the main pro-gay marriage groups in America, in North Carolina “ignorance and hate has enveloped ordinary citizens”, and the support for Amendment 1 shows how “ill-informed, mis-informed and just plain ignorant the citizenry… truly are”.
The idea that hatred and ignorance have “enveloped” the people of North Carolina is widespread. The gay advocacy group Faith in America said voters had been “duped” by religious leaders; they were “uninformed or deceived”. The only reason Amendment 1 passed, says Faith in America, is because of “the populace’s misunderstanding about sexual orientation”. Of course it isn’t possible that voters simply had a considered moral objection to gay marriage – no, they were clearly all brainwashed by religious crazies. The passing of Amendment 1 shows that voters should not be trusted to rule on sensitive moral matters, says the LA Times. Apparently these kind of “anti-gay” votes will continue until “people of conscience put a stop to it by asserting that tyranny of the majority is wrong”. In short, let’s leave the creation of morality to those good people who act on “conscience” rather than to those “ordinary citizens” who have been enveloped by “hate and ignorance”.
(And thanks for the kind mention about The New Civil Rights Movement — we’ve worked hard here. I’m glad it’s paying off.)
O’Neill writes, “Maybe they’ve been brainwashed into hating homos,” but then leaves out the fact that on April 29, thanks to the radical religious right, churches across North Carolina were instructed to preach about the evils of same-sex marriage, and to ensure their parishioners came out in full force to vote for Amendment One.
The essence of that day’s gay-bashing by North Carolina’s pastors and priests was embodied in a sermon — we use that term lightly — by Pastor Sean Harris, now the infamous Pastor Sean Harris, who instructed his flock to beat the gay out of children as young as four years old should they exhibit any signs of homosexuality.
Can I make it any clearer? Dads, the second you see that son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give them a good punch. OK? You’re not going to act like that — you were made by God to be a male and you’re going to be a male.
And when your daughter starts acting too ‘butch,’ you rein her in. And you say, ‘Oh no. Oh no, sweetheart. You can play sports. Play ‘em, play ‘em to the glory of God, but sometimes you’re going to act like a girl and talk like a girl and talk like a girl, and smell like a girl, and that means you’re going to be beautiful, you’re going to be attractive, you’re going to dress yourself up’.
“Maybe they’ve been brainwashed into hating homos”? Well, perhaps.
“In short, let’s leave the creation of morality to those good people who act on ‘conscience’ rather than to those ‘ordinary citizens’ who have been enveloped by ‘hate and ignorance’,” O’Neill sarcastically concludes.
Well, Mr. O’Neill, “morality” has nothing to do with the issue. America, a constitutionally secular society, is not supposed to take the Bible into account when making laws. And same-sex marriage is a civil matter, not a religious one. We’re not asking churches or other houses of worship to marry us if they don’t want to. We’re asking for equal rights to civil law, under the law.
Frankly, it’s a bit disappointing to read these words, especially from a (former?) communist. And frankly, Mr. O’Neill, you sound like the radical right wing of America’s Republican Party. And that is rather ugly.
Lastly, as I mentioned in my last piece about Brendan O’Neill, for those readers unfamiliar with him, let’s remember who he is.
Brendan O’Neill is the editor of Spiked — which used to be called Living Marxism, the journal of the Revolutionary Communist Party, but is no longer in existence only because it had to close after being sued for libel. O’Neill has been described as “an alumnus of some Trotskyist group or other, and like other leftie turned righties (or Euston Manifesto Decent Lefties), has remembered how to use his time honoured bag of rhetorical tricks.” Also, the comment, “I don’t suspect many people will be taking lessons from Brendan O’Neill – editor at Spiked Online – on journalism ethics,” was written about him last year regarding a U.K. press freedoms issue.
I suppose we should now wait for another fact-wanting op-ed blasting American gay rights activists and “the gay-marriage lobby” as bile-filled ugly elitists who attack poor U.K. journalists…