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Brandon's Big Gay Blog

Acceptance? Not Necessarily ...

by Brandon Burt
- Posted // 2009-09-26 -

I've been enjoying Peg McEntee's columns over at the Trib. She's thoughtful and she has a heart -- but she doesn't get all drippy over it; she knows how to get right to the point. 

McEntee recently wrote a really good, persuasive column regarding gay relationships. This was in response to last weekend's no-mo'-homo Mo-mo conference at which LDS Church Elder Bruce C. Hafen of the Quorum of the Seventies promised that self-denying, celibate gays will have Resurrection Day erections for the opposite sex.

My quibble is with the column's headline: "Gay or straight, commitment deserves acceptance." I'm just not sure the no-doubt harried editor who wrote the headline accurately captured the sense of the column.

I'm talking about the word "acceptance." Nowhere does McEntee stridently insist that churches (or anybody) must henceforth embrace gays and their relationships with open arms. She merely questions, reasonably, why some people are so motivated to actively forbid gays -- through legal and other means -- from having relationships. 

At times, I've been confronted by hotheads who say things like, "Why don't all of you homosexuals just go back in the closet? Why do you have to keep trying to force society to accept your perversion?" My response is that I don't care if "society" accepts me or not. The LGBT movement only seeks equal treatment under the law.

Everybody knows that there are gay people in the world, and that gay people have relationships. And there are many of us who wish that the world, rather than the way it is, were instead some other way. (Personally, I believe the world's problems could often be better solved without torture and killing. I also think ice cream should be free on Wednesdays. But frankly, I'd be very surprised if the world felt itself obligated to conform to my wishes.)

There are some people in this world who really, honestly, fervently would prefer me to be heterosexual. They wish and wish with all their might that Dave and I weren't so happily hitched. They have made it clear that they'd really be much more comfortable if Dave were actually Deborah, or if I were actually Brenda (but not both). 

Now, I often think that these people might be better off simply minding their own business. But I never once stepped up to demand that they change their beliefs.

I don't "accept" claims that ex-gay programs like Evergreen are beneficial or effective. I think they prey upon vulnerable people, and the world would be better off without them. But I'm not campaigning to make them illegal. And, despite my non-acceptance, they all seem to have gotten along well enough so far. 

Likewise, other people don't have to "accept" my relationship with Dave. They can go on disavowing and criticizing it until the cows come home. Hell, it's a free country: They can believe that I'm possessed by demons if they want to. It's no skin off my nose. 

What I do object to is when such people attempt to use legislation to infringe on my family's equal treatment under the law. Go ahead and withhold your acceptance all you want -- but using the force of law to turn us into second-class citizens crosses the line.

To me, it's un-American. And I think that's what McEntee was saying, too.

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