“Fact: It requires courage to speak out for marriage …”
That quote, by itself, could certainly have come from a gay or lesbian person working to gain their right to marry in this country. It certainly takes courage to stand up for one’s rights when they are being denied. It takes courage to stand up in a country that has a history of writing its laws to force you to sit down, shut up, and get back in your closet.
However, the above quote does not come from the leader of any organization seeking to grant marriage equality to same-sex couples. It comes from Brian Brown, the president of the National Organization for Marriage—an outfit dedicated to denying marriage rights to same-sex couples.
They believe it takes courage to “speak out for marriage,” heterosexual-only marriage, that is, because people might disagree with them. Yep, that’s the extent of the courage you need to speak for heterosexual-only marriage—someone, somewhere, might hold a different opinion and have the temerity to speak it. No threat of jail. No threat of being sent to an institution. No threat of being beaten. No threat of losing your job (though they like to talk about people who disrupted their workplace or failed to follow orders and got fired for being hot-headed bigots). No threat of being kicked out of your home, or being denied a hotel room or other accommodations. Nope, just the all-encompassing, drawer-soiling fear that someone might express a different opinion. Because when they disagree with you, they’re not just expressing another side of the argument, they’re calling you a bigot.
Amazingly, marriage equality opponents now see themselves as the victims, catching the vapors when anyone dares to question their views. Here’s the news, NOM: You are not the victim, and what you’re doing may take a lot of nerve, but it takes practically zero courage. If gay and lesbian people gain the right to marry, heterosexuals lose absolutely nothing. They can still get married, divorced, cheat on their spouses, work hard at their marriages, have kids—everything they currently do. (Though they raise false panic about losing their “religious liberty” or some such nonsense—as though racist, sexist and anti-gay churches will suddenly vanish from existence.)
It takes zero courage to defend your privilege. All the courage lies in the group trying to gain the rights they’re being denied. It took no courage for Governor George Wallace to stand in the door of the University of Alabama in 1963. The courageous ones were Vivian Malone Jones and James Hood, the black students who walked the gauntlet of racist, hateful people who attempted to block their path.
There is no courage, and no honor, in keeping other people from enjoying the same rights you have. That only takes fear and cowardice.