Friday, May 19, 2006

Response To No Special Rights Press Conference

AI Editor Gary R. Welsh was contacted late this afternoon by the South Bend Tribune's Jamie Loo and advised that the No Special Rights folks in South Bend conducted a press conference this morning in which, among other things, the group called into question the comments Advance Indiana had made concerning the group's campaign to defeat the proposed South Bend ordinance, which would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Specifically, the group took offense to AI's characterization, according to Loo, of their group as being bigoted towards gay people and spreading a message of hate. The group is also offended by my reaction to Jay Dunlap's use of the tragic death of his brother as a reason for opposing the human rights ordinance. An explanation of AI's position is in order in light of today's events.

Firstly, as a gay man who has absolutely no control over the sexual orientation with which I was born, it is always offensive whenever any person or group tries to characterize me and other people like me as a person who has chosen to lead a destructive and deviant lifestyle as the No Special Rights group has done. As a person of faith, it is particularly offensive when a person or group condemns all gay people as immoral. I am reminded that religious extremists in our country and in our state in the not so distant past have used their interpretation of their religious faith as a rationale for discriminating against African-Americans, women, Jews, Catholics and others with whom they differ. This form of religious extremism must be fought. It is hurtful and only fuels hatred against people. I can find no other way of explaining this than bigotry. That is the impact it has on me and other people like me who are singled out because of something over which we have no control.

On the issue of Tim Dunlap, I deeply regret the characterization I used in my original post on this matter, and I have revised it the way I should have expressed it from the outset. Mr. Dunlap is not here today to express in his own words how he feels. I did not know Tim Dunlap and cannot know what he would say if he were here and could express how he felt in his own words. I erred in saying that Mr. Dunlap lacked a loving and caring family who accepted him for who God made him to be. It was wrong for me to say that, and for that I offer my sincerest apology to the Dunlap family. What I should have said, and am now correcting in my original post, is how important it is for families in general to show as much love and understanding to a member of their family who is confronted with accepting their God-given sexual orientation. It is wrong for me or anyone else to question the love Mr. Dunlap's family had for their late son.

For those of us who have to confront the challenges of our sexual orientation on a daily basis, we know how emotionally draining it can become when you are judged by something over which you have no control. Depression and even suicide are all too common occurrences in the GLBT community. Hopefully, one day we can all be accepted by all people for who God made us and have this heavy burden lifted from our shoulders.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well stated and humble, Gary. Excellent post.

Blogs continue to surprise me. Every day.

paula said...

I agree, good response. Too bad we don't get the same in return when we point out that there words hurt us.

Jeff Newman said...

Well said Gary...

The extreme religious right is a lost cause in so many ways; no amount of evidence will deter them.

It is the silent majority whom we desperately need help from right now. It is our families who are under attack, not theirs.

Anonymous said...

Very well done Gary you were huble in your response. People forget how words and actios hurt all of us no matter what our race or sexual orientation. Good job for being the better peron

Anonymous said...

Queers are made, not born. An overly aggressive father, strong male peers, outside queer contacts. no father in the home et al. If God had made them there would not be such admonitions against queers in the Bible.

LPerdue said...

Gary, another excellent post. Thank you for pointing out how hurtful, debasing and demeaning comments such as those made by the religious extremenists can be.

Clearly "Anonymous", who posted that queers are made not born, seems to think (s)he speaks for God.

Advance Indiana said...

Agreed Linda--1:50 anon represents the faulty logic of these No Special Rights bigots.

Anonymous said...

I wonder, Anonymous, where do Lesbians come from?

Anonymous said...

They are not allowed to call you queer, but you are allowed to called them bigots. Hypocrisy is what it is. Where is the "sacred right to free speech" you argued for in an earlier post. Please be consisent and if you are going to call people names, expect that you may be called names in return.

Anonymous said...

The problem is once sexuality is deemed not to be a choice but an innate condition, what do we tell the polygamist or even the pedophile. It is not their choice that the pedophile has the sexual attractions that he does. Would you tell the pedophile it is okay that he is a pedophile as long as he keeps it in the closet or doesn't practice his sexuality? We are wasting thousands of dollars locking up pedophiles if I use your logic to accept homosexuality.

Anonymous said...

I would add to the previous poster why do we outlaw prostitution. Isn't this just two consensual adults practicing their sexuality in which they had no choice as to their desires.

Herein lies the issue, once sexuality is accepted as not a choice an individual makes but something someone is born with, society has no means to address sexual issues of any kind.