Wednesday, April 04, 2012

While We May Have Spiked Anchorage Proposition 5, We Need To Be Magnanimous In Our Victory

On April 3rd, 2012, I was one of those who voted No on Proposition 5, the Anchorage Equal Rights Initiative; I also lobbied against it on this blog. Nevertheless, I was concerned that it might pass; after all, master pollster Dave Dittman projected it would win by nine percentage points. So I'm rather stunned that 58 percent of the voters rejected it.

Why was it rejected so authoritatively? I don't believe most people have a serious issue with gays. It could be a number of factors -- perhaps even an outbreak of what I would call "gay fatigue". Gay activists have been agitating about gay rights and gay marriage almost nonstop since the Proposition 8 campaign in California in 2008, so it's quite possible people have grown weary of five percent of the population capturing 50 percent of the public attention for such a prolonged period of time.

Or perhaps it could be "government fatigue". Most of us wouldn't think of asking someone about their sexual orientation before hiring or renting to them. I know that whenever and wherever I've taken my van to get serviced, I've never asked the service technician about his sexual orientation before turning my van over to him. When I shop at local stores, I never ask the cashier about her sexual orientation before allowing her to ring up my groceries. And if I suffered a heart attack, I wouldn't ask the EMT about her sexual orientation before allowing her to initiate treatment. The point is, I don't need a law forcing me to do what I already do, and I resent the imposition of such a law, particularly when we have endlessly-expanding laws telling us when and where to smoke, what to think and say, and what to eat and not eat. It's gotten so out of hand that now inspectors seize packed lunches from kids and force them to eat school lunches. When does the tyranny stop? Who decided that people were so inherently bad that they have to be forced to do the right thing under pain of sanction every minute of every day? This is the type of totalitarian existence Satan planned for us under his previous moniker of Lucifer, and his plan was rejected before the foundation of this world.

I can only conclude that down inside, many gay people want us to like them simply BECAUSE they are gay, and that's an unrealistic expectation. No one can force a person to like another person. But they do have a right to expect fair and civil treatment.

Nevertheless, now that we have prevailed, magnanimity is called for. Some gays and their allies are already reacting badly to the decision, hurling the customary invectives at us on the comments boards of the Anchorage Daily News and other sources. It may be tempting to fire back in kind, but not only would it be unwise, but it would also refuel their biases and stereotypes about straight people. The best course of action would simply be to allow them to vent their spleens and get their disappointment out of their system. We need to send the message to the gay community that our No vote on Prop 5 was NOT a vote against the gay community, and NOT even so much a vote against homosexuality, but a vote against the initiative itself and more government control.

There's a story from I Kings Chapter 12 in the Bible about King Rehoboam that best illustrates this distinction. We pick it up at verse 3 when Rehoboam inherits the throne after the death of Solomon (after the jump):

3 That they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying,

4 Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee.

5 And he said unto them, Depart yet for three days, then come again to me. And the people departed.

6 And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people?

7 And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever.

8 But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him:

9 And he said unto them, What counsel give ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter?

10 And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins.

11 And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy ayoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day.

13 And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men’s counsel that they gave him;

14 And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

15 Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the Lord, that he might perform his saying, which the Lord spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

16 So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents.

Thus the northern Ten Tribes separated from Judah, and they became two separate nations. All because Rehoboam was not magnanimous, but decided to rub it in. The gay community does not deserve to be figuratively chastised with whips and scorpions simply because they sought to be added as a protected class against mostly-perceived discrimination.

Besides, like other communities, the gay community is not as monolithic as it appears. There is considerable diversity within the gay community; the opinion of someone like Melissa Green is only one opinion. To assume the gay community to be a monolothic organism is to depersonalize each person within. At least two gay people publicly came out against Proposition 5; one of them, Michael P. Hughes, had his story published by Northern Right. But another person who identifies as gay published a shorter and more succinct story as a comment to this Anchorage Daily News story on April 3rd, 2012 at 9:30 P.M, in which he expresses his belief that Anchorage is fundamentally a fair-minded community and that he can roll with an occasional punch or two. Screenshot of comment below:

We don't want to give people like Michael P. Hughes and Sprinkles a reason to change their minds. Magnanimity in the wake of victory is imperative -- and it's the right thing to do. We can condemn the sin without condemning the sinner.


  1. Yea that prop 5 is crazy! If I dont want to hire someone just because their a fag, thats my right. It's bad enough all these blacks and jews get protection. Now the gays!! I can't believe people think they should have the same rights as me.
    God speed

  2. Your blog post is spot-on and I appreciate you speaking out honestly. What you write certainly reflects what I feel. Versus the crudeness of the comment by Anonymous, which sounds more like someone baiting.

  3. I agree with what you said here.

  4. "And if I suffered a heart attack, I wouldn't ask the EMT about her sexual orientation before allowing her to initiate treatment." And you would hope that they don't do the same to you....

  5. "When does the tyranny stop? Who decided that people were so inherently bad that they have to be forced to do the right thing under pain of sanction every minute of every day?"

    ....simple answer? The church did...the "pain of sanction" was, well, at least at one time in the past, The it's the potential of going to hell.