Barack Obama finally came out in support of gay marriage. I’m not exactly sure why this is news since a majority of the country holds the same position. By definition, our elected leaders are our representatives and should represent the views that we hold. Obama’s change of position (which isn’t really all that much of a change if you really think about it) merely puts him on the right side of history and firmly with the majority.
How did we get to this point anyway? There’s the easy answer that it’s the fault of religion and the myth of “traditional” marriage (which conveniently ignores the other acceptable definitions of marriage laid out by their holy books):
I think it’s simpler than that, though. People are just afraid of what they don’t know. Plenty of baseball fans hated Jackie Robinson when he first started playing but 60 years later, the biggest stars in the game are a veritable rainbow coalition. 25 years from now, we’ll be telling similar stories about gay marriage.
Here’s the thing. Marriage is supposed to be about two people who love each other committing to live and work together. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t but the sexuality of the person has nothing to do with their ability to love or make a commitment. If you want to simplify things even further, here are two examples. Kim Kardashian had a “traditional” marriage. This gentleman’s two mothers did not.
Now, would you rather have his two moms as parents or Kim Kardashian?
That guy in the pointy hat made another statement on gay marriage recently, saying it is “one of the most serious threats to the traditional family unit” and that it undermines “the very future of humanity.”
Hmm. I can think of a bazillion things that are a far greater danger to the very future of humanity, like, protecting monsters who rape children, making it illegal for someone to marry whom he/she loves, and not challenging a discourse that is solely based on bronze age delusions “encouraged” by an invisible sky daddy.
Two More Years of Bud Selig
Ugh. Really? If only MTV could rock the MLB owners’ vote. No more King Bud! Things have gotten better recently, yes, but there are at least three egregious errors committed during his reign that demand a new king: 1) Not addressing the PED issue until it was too late 2) the ongoing All-Star Game yields World Series home field advantage fiasco and 3) being the last of the big four to launch its own network (seriously, it’s sad when the NHL beats you, at anything).
Also, I can think of at least three perfect candidates for the commissioner’s job: Joe Torre, Bob Costas and ME!!!
Between Mitt, Santorum and a bevy of derailed crazy trains, I can only shake my head as I watch the Republican party fall deeper and deeper into delirium. If only our political leaders would take a page out of Aussie PM Bob Hawke’s book:
Now THAT, my friends, is a dear leader.
While New York state takes the social lead in legalizing gay marriage, I think it’s appropriate to also give props to the professional athletes who have joined the proactive “It Gets Better” video campaign. Grant Hill, Kevin Youkilis, Matt Cain, Barry Zito and many more, have joined the cause to remind LGBT teens that they have a right to live happy lives, just like the rest of the world, and that the bullying stewing from ignorance and intolerance will eventually get better.
Chicago Cubs rookie second baseman, Darwin Barney, has also joined the cause. Chicago Tribune writer Paul Sullivan, wrote a nice piece about Barney’s involvement and, again, I highly commend Darwin for doing so. However, he did say something that must be corrected, something that is, at this point laughable for anyone to actually believe. He said:
“It hit home for me because … I have a few family members who are gay. There’s nothing weird about it. It’s a decision that you should be able to make and not be discriminated against.”
Darwin Barney, being gay is not a choice. There is no decision to make, just like I did not have a decision in what color my skin would be, or how tall I would eventually become.
One is either gay, straight or all of the above. There is no choice involved.
And this is something that needs to be understood completely if things are truly going to get better.
Hate me ‘cuz it’s still allowed, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
You don’t have to be gay or openly support gay rights to feel a little chill at the news coming out of Uganda right now. For a country that is supposed to be one of the brighter spots in sub-Saharan Africa (excepting the still turbulent north), the recent news and continuing coverage of a law that, if passed, would be one of the the most draconian and repressive anti-gay laws in the world is particularly troubling. It shouldn’t come as any surprise, though, considering that the “developed” world hasn’t really made that much more progress.
Don’t believe me? Here’s an example. Raise your hand if you saw Sacha Baron Cohen’s film Bruno this past summer. Ok, now keep your hand up if you enjoyed it. Yeah, a lot of hands went down there, didn’t they? And why is that? Was it any less funny than Borat? Were the stunts any less ridiculous? Did he take advantage of people to a greater degree than he did in Borat? I’ll admit that some of the scenes were over the top. But honestly, there was nothing there that was nearly as offensive as most of what happened in Borat.
So, why didn’t people like the movie? Well, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it has a lot to do with being uncomfortable. It’s easy to laugh at xenophobia. It’s easy to laugh at a village simpleton who doesn’t understand the way things are done elsewhere. But the in-your-face sexuality of Bruno is discomfiting. The character doesn’t hide who he is and rather goes out of his way to flaunt it. Even those who consider themselves supportive of gay rights seemed to find themselves ejected from their comfort zones by Bruno’s portrayal of such extreme sexuality.
These same currents flow even deeper in the world of sports. Imagine for a second if Tiger Woods had admitted to having multiple affairs with men. At this point, despite his so-called indiscretions, he still has his marketing deals and no one is really considering cutting them, even if they probably will use the affairs to leverage the rates they pay. But if it had been 11 men? Or even 10 women and 1 man? He’d be out the door faster than a neo-Nazi at a Rufus Wainwright concert.
Within Major League Baseball, only two players have come out and both of them did it well after their careers had ended. They knew that there was just no way that who they were would be accepted. The article linked above notes one particular anecdote that gets right to the heart of the matter:
“In his recently published memoir, Going the Other Way, [Billy] Bean
(not the A’s GM) recounts how Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda constantly made homophobic
jokes, even as Lasorda’s gay son was dying from AIDS.”
The sad thing is, an openly gay baseball player, or even football or basketball player, could go a long way towards helping people become more comfortable with homosexuality. As support for gay marriage has grown in the US, the statistics show that much of that has to do with knowing someone who is gay. When that someone you know is the guy who plays second base for your team, well, that just might have an even bigger impact.
This isn’t going to change overnight. Intolerance is a deep-seated problem that takes generations to truly root out. But like it or not, in the same way that athletes are held up as examples and role-models all over the world, our country is also held up as an example all over the world. If we want to criticize Uganda for its inhumane law, we should probably take a look closer to home as well.