Earlier this week, Sean Avery took a stand in favor of gay marriage. Not an insignificant step when you consider that when the topic of homosexuality comes up in the context of sports, it’s either met with the silence one would greet like it’s the elephant in the room, as the butt of a joking insult, or in the case of Tim Hardaway, outright hostility.
Though, Avery’s not the first hockey player to venture into this topic. Obviously, nobody in the sport blazed more important trails than Brian Burke’s son, Brendan, before he tragically died in a car crash about 15 months ago. And Brent Sopel took the Cup to the annual Chicago Pride Parade last summer.
As such, I can certainly see why pros like John Amaechi, formerly of the Utah Jazz, and Esra Tualo, formerly of the Atlanta Falcons, waited until after their playing days were over to announce that they were gay.
For the record, I’m a libertarian that believes the same thing former Texas gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman believes when it comes to gay marriage.
Gays and Lesbians should have just as much right as the rest of us heterosexuals to be miserable.
All joking aside, I think the government should get out of the business of issuing marriage licenses and issue civil union licenses. Leave the marriage part up to individual churches and chapels.
I simply don’t buy the argument advanced by gay marriage opponents that allowing it demeans the institution of marriage or that it will affect my heterosexual marriage one iota.
And if a church doesn’t want to marry gay or lesbian couples, don’t force them to do so. I’m sure from a legal standpoint, there’s a snag or two involved that would make that nigh impossible, but I digress.
That having been said, when it comes to any contentious issue like this, I try to stray away from hyperbolic statements about those who disagree with me.
Which, unfortunately, many gay marriage proponents can’t help themselves from. Getting back to Avery’s stance, Todd Reynolds from the Twitter account Uptown Sports, took Avery to task by suggesting it was unfortunate that the New York Rangers winger went public with his pro gay marriage stance.
Reynolds, like millions of other people, believe that marriage in an institution reserved for a man and a woman. Damien Goddard, now formerly of Sportsnet, expressed support for Reynolds’ position. Support that may or may not have cost Goddard his job.
And this is one of the tweets Reynolds got in response:
@uptownhockey thanks for bringing us back to the 1500’s.
I hope I’m not the only person that’s surprised by the lack of historical and societal context on this issue. Afterall, Uganda is on the cusp of criminalizing the behavior.
They had included a provision that would make it punishable by death until international pressure convinced the knuckledraggers responsible for this draconian law to remove it.
I look at Uganda and compare that to the gay marriage opponent who even opposes civil unions for same-sex couples as well as the extension of the same health and financial benefits that are afforded married couples, and there’s simply no comparison.
And what if you oppose gay marriage, but have no issues with the idea of same-sex civil unions? That is, your only complaint is that marriage has always been between a man and a woman for thousands of years, so why change? You can’t tell me people in that camp are bigots.
And furthermore, you can take any contentious issue you want and come up with good and bad reasons to support or oppose a given issue. And even on the bad issues, the arguments one uses can simply be flawed.
Sure, there are those lunatics like Fred Phelps that are just homophobic and batshit crazy. But those types are very much the exception and not the norm in this debate.
Yet, when Todd Reynolds posted his thoughts on the topic, that didn’t stop certain people in my Twitter feed from tossing around terms like ‘bigot’ with reckless abandon to describe him.
Just as using hateful slurs against gays have meaning, so to, do I believe that simply labeling opponents bigots or homophobes has meaning as well. The bar for applying those terms to certain segments of the opposition on this issue is high, and for a very good reason.
If it’s set low, we lose the true meaning of those terms.
And if you come across somebody deserving of those terms?
Ignore them or marginalize them. Like the Westboro gang of loons, they’re not worth the time of day anybody gives them.