One of the biggest mistakes outsiders make about the gay and lesbian community is assuming that it’s monolithic and of one mind on every topic. But, the truth is, you can ask 20 different gays and lesbians about the same issue and, like in every group of human beings, you’ll find divergent opinions on that topic. That’s how we get those odd creatures called “gay Republicans.” We may have our sexual orientation in common, but sometimes little else.
Take the topic of Arizona and its new immigration law which goes into effect next month. Not all gays and lesbians agree about the law, but the majority of them actually oppose it. According to a new national survey (PDF) released by Harris Interactive, “a clear majority of 63% of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) individuals oppose these policies, with 45% expressing strong opposition.”
As with other topics centered on social justice, the gay and lesbian community seems to be at odds with their heterosexual counterparts. As the press release for the poll points out, “in other national opinion polls, 6 out of 10 (60%) heterosexual adults who also have seen, read or heard about Arizona’s forthcoming statute say they support Arizona’s new immigration policies, with 41% saying they strongly support these changes.”
Why the difference? It’s the oppression, silly. As Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications (one of the co-sponsors of the poll) explained: “it’s not surprising that many LGBT individuals are opposed to many forms of statutory discrimination. As citizens and consumers, LGBT behaviors mirror these attitudes—tending to favor and choose destinations, products, and services, as well as making political choices that support equal and respectful treatment for all.”
Through a religious lens, I find this new survey even more interesting. The strongest support for this new law comes from Republican quarters, where the deeply religious, and mostly Christian, portion of the electorate reside. A Pew Research Center poll taken last month shows 82% of Republicans support the new immigration law.
In the gay and lesbian community, to be religious is to be a minority within a minority, so we can’t count religion—especially not Christianity—as one of the main influencing factors on the morality of gay and lesbian people. And yet, it is gays and lesbians who by and large have rejected religion, who are displaying some of the most Christian principles in this matter.
This community of outcasts understands, on a gut level, if not a religious level, that it is good, and just, and moral to welcome the stranger; to show hospitality, especially to the least of these.
Remind me again how people can’t be good without God?