Among media personalities like Glenn Beck and Bryan Fischer, in fact among a lot of people, there exists the idea that opposing views on homosexuality are merely differences of opinion. While advocates fight for equality and acceptance of LGBTQ people, these voices of the religious right say that we’re being intolerant and bigoted toward those who disagree with us; that the argument is just a matter of differing opinions on the issue. I emphatically oppose this position. Opposition to homosexuality is not an opinion, nor is it a valid belief or feeling. Those of us who stand for equality are intolerant of bigotry, and that is a reasonable position; one that does not work in reverse. They claim we are pushing them down over a difference of opinion, but this is nothing more than a desperate plea from those in power, making claims of oppression as their position of influence loses relevancy.
If I were to say that “Nickleback is a terrible band,” I would be stating an opinion. If I were to say that “the colour pink is better than the colour yellow,” that too is an opinion. Opinions are personal biases toward things that are open to subjective tastes. For example, Nickleback is not inherently good or bad. Their value as a band is dependent upon the subjective likes and dislikes of each listener. Likewise, the colour pink is not inherently better than the colour yellow, that’s a matter of opinion. Homosexuality, on the other hand, is a sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is intrinsic to one’s personhood and is naturally occurring, just like skin pigmentation or eye colour. The statement “homosexuality is wrong” is not an opinion on something that is open to subjective tastes, but rather a condemnation of something without knowledge of what that something is. Some of the statements made – “The gay lobby wants to turn our kids gay,” “homosexuals are evil people bent on destroying civilization,” “gay men are pedophiles,” “gay men eat feces” – are vitriolic rantings full of misinformation, and cannot be protected under the guise of mere opinion. These statements have all been made by the aforementioned kings of vitriol, and the other things they have come up with are equally shocking and downright false. When people tell you that their opposition to homosexuality is just their opinion, you can immediately identify them as ignorant; and rightly so. It IS ignorant, just like the idea that people with darker skin are somehow inferior to those with lighter skin. Ignorance is merely a lack of understanding, and it can be corrected with knowledge … but not when that misunderstanding is written off as an ‘opinion.’
Yes, we are intolerant of bigotry. I am proud to say that I will not tolerate hate. I am proud to say that I stand for truth. I am proud to say that my position of love is the only honest position to take. I will not stand by and accept misinformation and vitriol in the name of equality. Equality requires unity, and the hateful diatribes spewed from the mouthpieces of the religious right only endorse division. A difference of opinion? I think not. What we ultimately have is a difference in moral judgment. While one side chooses love, compassion, acceptance, and unity, the other chooses to remain ignorant, and in so doing displays hatred in the name of their God. After all the back-and-forth, after the debates, lectures, and political considerations, that’s really what it boils down to. They claim to be warning people of the wages of sin for the sake of love, but the message is one of exclusion and hellfire … let’s just call it what it is. Although many will argue otherwise, there is really no love being shown by those who voice their opposition to the LGBTQ community. There is no compassion, no desire to learn, and no intention of it. They will remain ignorant because that is where they are most comfortable; standing on the losing side of history, and defiantly complaining about how they are being pushed down over their “opinions.” To be honest, I don’t feel sorry for them anymore. Those who choose to remain in the dark deserve to be left behind, along with the hate and dishonesty that will ultimately define them. The goal, of course, is to make less the number of people who hold these skewed values with every successive generation, and thanks to advocates and allies we are seeing a drive toward that goal. Slowly but surely, those who insist upon hatred are losing the battle. Let’s make a bit more progress by scrapping the idea that this is, in any way, a matter of opinion.