To the editor,
In my letter about the bittersweet historical significance of the month of June for the gay community, I ended by saying that the gay community, despite all the seeming progress on civil rights and social acceptance in recent years, can ill afford to grow complacent.
I cited the example of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s recent decision to deny married gay couples of mixed immigration status the ability to petition the government for the non-citizen spouse to obtain a green card, the way married straight couples of mixed immigration status have long been allowed to do.
After the Judiciary Committee’s action, various right-wing Republican politicians and media outlets praised Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-South Carolina, for having forced Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, I-Vermont, to withdraw his amendment to the immigration bill now moving through the Senate that would have afforded married gay couples the same rights and privileges afforded straight couples dealing with immigration issues.
Some of what was said, not surprisingly, was pretty ugly. But one didn’t have to go the national media to find some pretty nasty things being said about gay Americans this month.
Many of the anonymous online comments in response to the Gloucester Daily Times’ story about the rainbow flag being flown beneath Old Glory at Grant Circle in honor of Gay Pride Month were every bit as ugly.
Although they may be hard pressed to admit it, many of the people who so stridently oppose marriage equality for gay couples use the same arguments to oppose it that bigots of an earlier era used in their opposition to interracial marriage. Back then, opponents of interracial marriage used religion and the Bible to justify their bigotry, just as others of their ilk in still an earlier era used religion and the Bible to justify and rationalize slavery.
One can only hope that time will prove today’s opponents of marriage equality were on the wrong side of history, just as time has proven those who opposed interracial marriage and defended slavery were on the wrong and darker side of history not all that many years ago.
I am confident that it will but, in the meantime, it cannot be stressed enough that the gay community and our friends can ill afford to grow complacent.
Finally, I want to thank Mayor Kirk and the Sawyer Free Library, and I am not alone in my gratitude, for having had the courage to step up to the plate and honor Cape Ann’s many gay residents.
Not for nothin’, but you all have done Gloucester proud.