Wednesday, July 22, 2009

We're Straight, They're Skewed

I have a lot of friends who are gay and lesbian and I wanted to stand with them in solidarity against the LDS church. The main argument the church has given is that their reaction was one that had nothing to do with sexual orientation, that they would have done the same thing with anyone who had been acting inappropriately - which a kiss on the cheek apparently qualifies as. This is a bald faced lie, anyone who has ever actually been to temple square can tell you there are constantly couples in various states of heterosexual public displays of affection.

From a purely legal stand point the LDS church was within their rights to ask the couple to leave their property and press charges when their request was ignored. However, it seems to me that the issue at the heart of this controversy is one that needs the attention of both the local community and the national public eye. Where do property rights end and civil rights begin?

Civil disobedience has often been the vehicle for social change. Our nation may have never seen the civil rights movement if large groups of African-Americans had held more respect for private property above their own dignity. Remember, it was a PRIVATELY OWNED bus that Rosa Parks refused to go to the back of.

Even public works were segregated, bathrooms, water fountains, etc. Only by standing up for their civil rights, in defiance of the rights of bigot property owners, were the wheels of social change set into motion. Only by swarming privately owned establishments who refused to serve 'blacks' and refusing to leave were activists able to bring the terrible biases into the public eye and usher in the civil rights movement.
The protest itself was an amazing experience. I brought my two younger children along with me because I wanted them to have the experience, they are three and six and on the way up to Salt Lake we explained to them how two boys had been arrested because one boy had kissed the other on the cheek. Naturally their reaction was that this was a stupid reason for the police to arrest someone, I told them that I agreed and that other people who thought so too were all meeting in Salt Lake to kiss each other to show how stupid we thought this was.

When we got to the Main Street Plaza there were about 100 protesters already gathered, many of them fighting with a half dozen bigots with giant signs telling us that we were unnatural, godless, unamerican, against religion and that homosexuality was just as inappropriate as pornography and prostitution - all of which was news to me! Yelling matches broke out between the bigots and the protesters until eventually the crowd simply wound its way around them to enter the plaza... as we passed I could hear some protesters telling the sign holders that they loved them despite their close-mindedness. The throng gathered all throughout the plaza, holding hands, talking, laughing and dancing. The majority surrounded the reflecting pool at the foot of the Salt Lake temple. Randomly people would kiss one another while the surrounding crowd cheered them on. Moving about amongst the protesters a number of journalists were taking pictures and interviewing the smiling kissers.As the hour wore on people started to not only kiss their partners and friends, but many would randomly walk up to complete strangers and ask if they could kiss. The air was filled with laughter and shouts of encouragement. To the church's credit their security guards stayed to the background, not interfering or hassling any of the gathered protesters. Salt Lake City police officers also made an appearance but seemed to be more concerned with staying under the shade of a tree than with the going ons around them. My children truly seemed to enjoy all the attention and high spirits, the happiness of those gathered together in a common purpose was infectious. In all I kissed eight different people: many of my closest friends, including my best friend Cammie Chatwin who rode up with us, and several complete strangers. The photo background of choice was to get same sex couples kissing with the LDS temple as a backdrop.I am proud that even in this deeply red state there are still people courageous enough to stand up for what's right, regardless of the law. Disappointment in gay rights protesters is no different than being disappointed in women who were arrested for putting their votes into ballot boxes when it was against the law, or for African-Americans who refused to go to the back of the bus, or for early Americans who threw tea into a harbor as a giant 'screw off' to the powers that be for their unfair taxation without representation. I believe we have the moral duty to break laws that enable sexism, racism and bigotry and was more than happy to stand with my friends in doing so.


Dawson said...

You don't seem to understand that you are nothing more than a tool being used by an elaborate social conspiracy in an effort to bring about the destruction of religion, social decency, American Idol, the family... life as we know it!

You are protesting against the Mormon churches actions, you are protesting against all religions everywhere! You are simply a cog in the great destruction machine of Satan that has been slowly plowing through our society for the last 50 years... chewing up the golden age of family unity, love, decency, respect and civilization and shitting out the excrement of the civil rights, feminist and now queer movements.

Just remember: "God hates the world and all her people. You, every one, face a fiery day for your proud sinning. It's too late to change His mind, you've lived out your vain lives, storing up God's wrath for all eternity.”

Kfire said...

I applaud your efforts and bringing your kids. It's things like this that ensure the success of equal rights for all. I truly look forward to a day when we can actually say we have freedom of and from religion for each person, however they choose. Thanks for making a difference.