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May 10, 2013 2:47 PM Our Cruel, Divisive Intolerance of Bigotry

By Ed Kilgore

This is hardly the first time we’ve witnessed scenes like this one in the Minnesota House of Representatives, but it’s still amazing: opponents of marriage equality in tears at their defeat and playing victim and martyr:

Opponents failed in their last-minute push to persuade a crucial few legislators that the DFL-controlled Legislature is going against the wishes of a majority of Minnesotans. They are now regrouping to convince Senators that marriage is a union between one man and one woman ordained by God, not any state or federal law. A final Senate vote comes Monday.
“My heart breaks for Minnesota,” said a Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover.
“It’s a divisive issue that divides our state,” she said, wiping tears from her eyes as she stood on the House floor after the vote. “It’s not what we needed to be doing at this time. We want to come together for the state of Minnesota, we don’t want to divide it….”
Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe, said he fears that schools will eventually be forced to teach students about homosexuality in sex education classes, normalizing what he considers deviant behavior.
“Thinks about what’s best for the children,” Gruenhagen said. “Please vote for the children.”
Rep. Kelby Woodard, R-Belle Plaine, said the measure sends a terrible message to Minnesotans who oppose same-sex marriage.
“We are classifying half of Minnesotans as bigots in this bill — and they are not,” Woodard said.

So if your negative views about homosexuality (no longer supported by science, public opinion or even recent tradition) are not enshrined in state law, you are being smeared as “bigots,” and it’s those who just want to be treated equally under the law who are “dividing” the people.

I understand an alarming number of Republican politicians are currently depending for their political support on encouraging older white traditionalist Catholics and conservative evangelicals—people who consider an older culture to be eternally normative, just like culturally threatened people in all times and in all places always have—to feel aggrieved and persecuted. But still, you have to wonder if they are really listening to themselves. The exact same arguments have been used in opposition to every significant move towards equality in American history. They make no more sense now than they did when advanced by those who were certain their country would be “lost” and God Almighty righteously offended when the slaves were freed, women obtained the vote, Jim Crow was torn down, and the oppressive forces of “political correctness” took all the fun out of casual bigotry. They’ll get over it, but tolerating their immense self-pity is quite a cross to bear.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • Ronald on May 10, 2013 3:13 PM:

    Indeed. The eternal whining and carrying on about the 'end of days' has gotten so freakin' old lately.

    And every time the world doesn't end in a firey cataclysm brought forth by a vengeful God tired of this country supporting love and tolerance, they seem to get more and more into the wastelands of their own minds...

    'Please think of the children?' Are you fucking serious?

    *sigh*

  • boatboy_srq on May 10, 2013 3:15 PM:

    “Thinks about what’s best for the children,” Gruenhagen said. “Please vote for the children.”

    Matthew Shepard.
    Tyler Clementi.
    Lawrence King.
    Domaine Javier.
    Gwen Araujo.

    Who says we're NOT thinking of the children? And what, exactly, makes you think you are, Mr. Gruenhagen?

    A##hats.

  • Otis on May 10, 2013 3:32 PM:

    i.e. intolerance of intolerance is itself intolerance.

  • Peter C on May 10, 2013 3:36 PM:

    "Rep. Kelby Woodard, R-Belle Plaine, said the measure sends a terrible message to Minnesotans who oppose same-sex marriage.

    “We are classifying half of Minnesotans as bigots in this bill — and they are not,” Woodard said."

    Pity the poor Republicans. Now they've got to start again and try and redefine the word 'bigot'. Good luck with that.

  • Bose in St. Peter MN on May 10, 2013 3:41 PM:

    Gruenhagen earned a Bachmann award in my book with his introduction. After nearly every legislator opened with appreciation for respect and civility from both sides during the floor debate, his opening was about spending a dozen years or so in prison ministry, treating those convicted of any despicable crime you could mention respectfully, as apparent proof that he can treat gays and lesbians respectfully as well.

    See what a great guy he is?

  • bkmn on May 10, 2013 3:48 PM:

    Lest these jerks forget it was them and their fellow Republicans that put marriage on the ballot 2 years ago.

    Of course back then Amy Koch was the GOP leader, at least until she screwed her own staffer...right after putting marriage to a vote.

    Funny how none of them thought Koch's marriage was such a sacred thing.

  • bleh on May 10, 2013 3:50 PM:

    My heart goes out to those poor, oppressed people.

    No longer will they be able to deny housing, or employment, or hospital visitation, or equal taxation treatment, to people they don't like just because of they way they were born. No longer will they be able to treat them as second-class citizens. And pretty soon they won't even be able to call them nasty names in any but the most private conversations!

    It's almost as bad as when they started having to pretend they thought black people were as good as white people. And now it's starting with the browns!

    Talk about denial of rights! Where will the cruelty end?

  • Mimikatz on May 10, 2013 4:04 PM:

    Anyone Truly thinking of the children would be working tirelessly on climate change, not on this issue and trusting in some god they believe would never allow mankind to make the planet inhospitable to humans.

    These people are such hypocrites.

  • BillFromPA on May 10, 2013 4:06 PM:

    Here's my choice for Money Quote:

    '“It’s not what we needed to be doing at this time. We want to come together for the state of Minnesota, we don’t want to divide it….”

    How is this to be done? Why, just agree with her and her tribe, of course. Let's compromise, do it my way.

  • c u n d gulag on May 10, 2013 4:12 PM:

    Religious Conservative POV;
    With each of the previous Armegeddon scenario's not actually bringing Armegeddon, means that its much more likely that this one, WILL!

    We dodged a bullet with slavery, women's sufferage, and Nigrah's getting the right to vote.

    This time, THIS TIME, God and Jesus, MEAN IT!!!

  • JohnH on May 10, 2013 4:27 PM:

    “Thinks about what’s best for the children,” Gruenhagen said. “Please vote for the children.”

    "Now Helen, once something has been approved by the Government, it’s no longer immoral.” --Reverend Lovejoy

  • efgoldman on May 10, 2013 4:45 PM:

    Waah, waah, fucking waah!
    They sound like Montreal Canadiens and their fans.
    Screwemm!

  • bluestatedon on May 10, 2013 5:43 PM:

    Muahahahahaha.... now Minnesotans are all going to be forced to gay marry each other, and men and women in the frozen north can no longer get married.

  • Jilli on May 10, 2013 6:27 PM:

    "Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe, said he fears that schools will eventually be forced to teach students about homosexuality in sex education classes..."

    By all means Glenn, shelter those kids from reality as long as humanly possible. Sheesh.

  • labman57 on May 10, 2013 9:23 PM:

    [“My heart breaks for Minnesota,” said a Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover.]

    Yep, everything would so much rosier if we could simply sweep inequality issues under the rug and pretend that everyone is fine with that outcome. Alas, those homosexual abominations simply refuse to know their place in society.

    Bottom line: Those people who are so adamant that gays be denied the right to marry are the same types of people who would have expressed outrage in the 1950s and 1960s when the validity of interracial marriage was being debated.
    Fear, hatred, and loathing toward gays is simply their "flavor of the month".

  • JoyousMN on May 10, 2013 11:01 PM:

    I've been telling family and friends how wonderful it is to live in a state with a Democratic majority in both houses and our executive branch. Damn. This is what it's like to have a working government, without Republicans causing major drama and filibustering of every single piece of legislation.

    And the conservative have no one to blame but themselves. They woke this sleeping giant with their idiotic constitutional amendment vote last year to ban gay marriage. We beat it and somewhere along the way figured out that we might as well go all the way and legalize gay marriage.