Supreme Court of the United States Seal

Supreme Court of the United States Seal (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

June 26th, is a day that’s going to live in American history for a long time to come, celebrated by many, welcome by most and hated by some.  This is the day the Supreme Court of the United States stopped wringing its collective hands and avoiding the polarizing issue of same-sex marriage and did something it often tries to avoid on hot button topics; it made a decision.

Before the Supreme Court were challenges to DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act), an American federal law that denied equal benefits to legally married same-sex couples, as well as California’s Proposition 8, which essentially made same-sex marriage illegal within that state.  This was not the first time SCOTUS had this particular ball in its court; a decision was anticipated back in March of this year, but the Justices meekly procrastinated, pushing the decision to the final day of their current session, and some observers opined that the nine judges didn’t feel it was their place to make rulings on contentious legal issues (newsflash guys and gals-the biggest part of your job is MAKING RULINGS ON CONTENTIOUS LEGAL ISSUES!).  But on this sunny day in late June, the court took a stand and struck down the legal barriers to same sex marriage, calling them unconstitutional, and therefore, illegal.  That grinding sound you hear may be the slow, achingly rusted gears of the United States’ legal system reluctantly dragging it into the 21st century.  Or, it could be a chorus of explosions as a bunch of heads on America’s political far right begin spontaneously combusting.  Either way, America has finally caught up to the rest of the civilized world.  Hey, you may be late to the party Lady Liberty, but let me be the first to give you a drink welcome you to the club.

It took a little while, but all the usual suspects have spent the latter part of the day reacting to the court’s decision, many losing what little minds they had.  While Glenn Beck, Ron Paul, Michelle Bachman (you know, the one with the deeply closeted but obviously gay husband) and others have questioned the ethical implications of the ruling, many have tried to use ludicrous legal arguments that would make kindergarteners howl in laughter (how do we know people won’t start marrying animals or power tools!).  Mike Huckabee took to Twitter to voice God’s apparent unhappiness (it appears the Good Lord enjoys a good Holy tweet or two every now and then) and Senator Paul has already mused he just may propose a Constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage (funny how when it comes to gun control, many Conservatives treat the Constitution like it’s Holy Scripture handed down from Jesus Himself, but when it’s used against them, well that puppy needs to be changed ASAP).

Fellas, listen up (I would include you Ms. Bachman, but I hear you’re still busy fleeing from office while being investigated by the FBI, so don’t worry your empty little head), while your all busy being outraged and climbing up on your high horses and stuff, you need to understand you lost, and you lost for good reason.  Your window of intolerance and bigotry is closing.  Fast.  Last November, not only did the American people re-elect a black guy for President (bet that one stuck in your craw, huh guys?) but ten states also voted to recognize Same Sex marriage.  More states have moved in the same direction in the few months since and a handful of prominent Republican figures have recently come out in favour of marriage equality.  Current polling has shown that 58 percent of the American electorate supports equal marriage rights for gays, lesbians and bi-sexuals, with that number ballooning to a whopping 80 plus percent for voters 30 years and younger.  Roughly translated for ya’ boys, that means when the baby boomers shuffle off their mortal coil and leave the voting booth behind, you’re prejudice will be an ugly foot note in American history.

And before you try using the Bible to justify your bigotry (because be honest, your going to) even Bill O’Reilly, the messiah of FOX news, America’s bastion of White, Christian Conservatism, has criticized using scripture condemning same sex marriage, saying on that if opponents were only planning on thumping their bibles, they deserved to fail (stay tuned for Bill’s inevitable flip-flop though).  Besides, there are millions of Christians (and Muslims and Jews) who believe in equality and they’re reading the same book as you.  But if we are going get into the biblical meat of the issue, and you plan on quoting Leviticus (because you know you do), let me ask you if you also plan on quoting the parts of Leviticus that also ban wearing clothes of different fabrics?  Or voluntarily scarring the flesh (as in tattoos or piercings)?  What about eating shellfish?  Or planting different crops together?  I’m sure a heathen like me doesn’t have to remind you fine God fearing folk that Leviticus states that each one of those nasty little deeds is a sin-an abomination even-and punishable by death (don’t worry Vatican, to the best of my knowledge Leviticus doesn’t mention anything about raping altar boys).  So quick question for you Mike, when you’re not talking to the Almighty Father via social media, are you aware that if you’ve ever eaten shrimp or planted beans in the same row as corn, you should be put to death for those particular dietary and farming faux-pas?  Just asking.

And by the by fellas, there are now thirteen countries, including my native Canada, where gay marriage is an afterthought, laws recognizing their equality passed years ago with nary a whimper from anyone one their political landscapes.  And guess what?  None of those countries has seen even the slightest hint of Almighty Wrath.  That’s right Mr. Huckabee, countries like South Africa, Argentina and the Great White North still seem to be Facebook friends with God.

It’s unfortunate that the most powerful nation in the history of Mankind has to be forced to recognize equality by its courts (granting women the right to vote, civil rights for everyone, impending immigration reform), but the one thing the Supreme Court has proven over the past few decades, is even when it’s backed into a corner and forced to take a stand, it follows the winds of public opinion.  And that, my uber-Conservative friends, is why no one cares what you have to say on the matter.

Now you’re probably going to toss around words like sacriliege and blasphemy and damnation in the coming days.  Glenn, I know your going to struggle with anything you can’t read in a Dr. Seuss book, but I have confidence you’ll be as offensive as you possibly can be (and I can only imagine how Rush Limbaugh is going to waddle into this in between his sexist rants and Viagra pills).  But just remember boys, the only ones who are going to take you seriously are the Klu Klux Klan, the Westboro Baptist Church and the Tea Party, moronic Neanderthals all, and the louder you stomp your feet and scream and cry, the more you’re going to convince people trying to ignore you to vote against your side next time they visit a voting booth.

Shayne Kempton





     Recently, some far right Conservative Christian websites and pundits have been bashing NBA centre Jake Collins, who became the first openly gay athlete in a major North American sports league last month when he said the words “I’m an NBA Centre.  I’m black.  And I’m gay.”  Now bashing an openly gay man, especially a celebrity, is nothing new for this crowd, and from everything I’ve read about Collins, the 12 year NBA veteran and journeyman is a consummate professional and more than smart enough to expect that the second he stepped foot out of the closet he was going to be square in the crosshairs of such people.  And having spent countless hours in locker rooms at every level of his amateur and professional career, he’s heard the worst kind of things people can and will say about gays.

     But there’s a bit of a different breed of bashing I’ve seen creeping around the edges of the usual lunatic fringe.  Some pundits have compared Collins favourable treatment by the media at large to the coverage NFL quarterback Tim Tebow got in 2011, when he exploded onto the media’s radar as the apparent saviour of the Denver Broncos.  Tebow (drafted by Denver in the first round of the 2010 NFL entry draft) replaced Broncos starting quarterback Kyle Orton early in the season, made a habit out of winning seemingly lost games in the dying minutes (if not seconds) of regulation, and not only led Denver to their first AFC West title but also their first playoff victory in six years.  But his on-field success was only a part of the formula for Tebow’s instant notoriety.  Tebow made a very obvious display of his Christian faith at every opportunity, praying on field and often striking a biblical pose when a play went right (the pose became known as “Tebowing”).  Tebow’s mixture of faith and game success earned him plenty of fame, not all of it nice.  And therein lies the complaint of many of these pundits, that the media was deliberately unfair to Tebow because he was a proud Christian while they have essentially given Collins a free pass and labelled him a hero because he’s gay.

     Before I go any further, I have a confession to make; I know little about football and even less about the NFL.  But I was fascinated by the debate that raged around Tebow every Sunday and always checked in on a number of online threads, from political message boards to sports ones, that sprang up after every game.  And inevitably the conversation degenerated into name calling and malice, often sooner rather than later.  But the storm swirling around Tebow blew over as suddenly as it came; Denver was eliminated (quite easily) by the New England Patriots and Tebow hasn’t seen any NFL action since (he was traded to the New York Jets in the off-season and didn’t play a single game last season; the Jets have since cut Tebow and many observers think his next stop could be the CFL).  Tebow had successfully become a media afterthought until some of these “pundits” essentially nailed a cross to his back and claimed that he had been crucified by the media because of his faith while they praised a “pervert” like Jason Collins and painted him a hero (check out the following link for one such example

     It also deserves to be said that there are millions of honest, genuine Christians who have nothing against homosexuals or the LGBT community at large, and have often argued in favour of equality.  And it’s not them I’m aiming this little trip to the top of my soap box at.  But here’s a message to the Far Right Christian Conservatives who are wiping their feet on Jason Collins, and the rest of the LGBT community, while polishing Tebow’s memory at the same time-the Christian Right brand has taken a nasty beating the past few years, and you’ve invited each and every blow.

     Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to paint every Christian Conservative with the same brush either, but when your side of the argument remains silent while groups like the Westboro Baptist Church make plenty of noise at funerals, insulting the memories of soldiers and children and bombing victims, you’re going to get some bad press.  When you let the likes of Mike Huckabee go on national television after dozens of parents have lost their children in a massacre days before Christmas and imply that God allowed it to happen because you took prayer out of public schools, you’re going to upset some people.  When your organizations are the biggest supporters behind movements to deny gays and homosexuals equal rights, you’re going to get yourself crossed off some Christmas card lists.   And remind me, outside of the retirement of one Pope and the antics of the new one, what’s the biggest reason the Roman Catholic Church makes headlines these days?

     And here’s a quick memo fellas, attitudes towards homosexuality have seen a dramatic shift over the past fifteen to twenty years.  President Barrack Obama has openly supported equal marriage rights for gays and homosexuals since first being elected in 2008, Rhode Island became the tenth state in the United States to recognize same-sex marriage and in many other western (including Canada) and european countries, same-sex marriage has been a fact of life for years.  And speaking of the U.S., one of the slowest moving countries in the western world when it comes to human rights and recognizing equality, 58% of its citizens support equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.  That number swells to over 80% for people 30 years old and younger.  And it is often the Christian Right trying to fight this tide of change, stomping their feet and screaming that they’re the victims while hypocritically trying to insure that one group of human beings don’t have the same rights as everyone else.  That isn’t going to win you any new converts either.

     So at the end of the day, was Tebow handled unfairly because he dropped to one knee and saluted the Almighty every time he completed a pass (which actually wasn’t very often), essentially turning the football field into a church?  Maybe, but given the overbearing, bigoted actions of the Christian Right, he had it coming.  And don’t take yourself too seriously boys, the orgy of media love for Jason Collins has just about run its course; headlines about his public declaration of his homosexuality are already being replaced by ones about what really matters in professional sports; the playoffs, trade rumours and which coach is on the firing block next.  But the next time you plan on painting yourselves a victim, ask yourself this question; when was the last time someone in North America was driven to suicide because of bullying or was beaten up in the street or had their home vandalized all because they were Christian?  Then ask yourself how many times that happened because someone was gay.

Shayne Kempton