Follow-up: You Keep Using That Word …

I’m getting some predictable flack over my use of the word “bigot” to describe those supporting Chick-fil-A and its anti-equality stance.

I take words very seriously — surprised? anyone? — so I spent some serious time thinking over this flack and pondering its merits. Certainly, a lot of that time was spent reading much of the back-and-forth that’s going on this week as others have used that same word in the same manner I used it.

I know some people are really very hurt to have a label like “bigot” appended to them when they express their views on a subject.

I get that. Words can sting. I do not ever take labeling lightly, and I abhor name-calling.


Please, for the benefit of the class, explain to me exactly how those who seek to deny equality to a group of people, based solely on the differences between that group and themselves, are exempt from the accurate application of precise terminology.

Understand, I am not asking for excuses. It doesn’t matter if your bigotry is rooted in your religion, your upbringing, or a dream you had last night.

Hating members of the LGBT community, and opposing their freedom, is bigotry.

If your feelings are hurt when I accurately call you a bigot, please, by all means, desist in your bigotry.

3 thoughts on “Follow-up: You Keep Using That Word …”

  1. Here's a link that I think is rather indicative of the whole thing –

    The talking heads might be using this as sophisticated but deliberate feint…but I think that most people can actually believe this way – that they aren't being bigoted because they're not against gay people per se, they just think that “marriage” should stay the way that it is, and that any change is a direct attack against them and their religion.

    The underlying problem is that we built the religious establishment of marriage into our laws. Sure, the legal version of marriage isn't exactly the same as the religious version, but the two are very closely intertwined in our minds. So when we say “let's let the LBGT community get legally married too,” to the common religious type, it must sound akin to “let's forcibly change your religion.” Let's just wholesale abolish the legal version of marriage and create some kind of partnership arrangement that isn't freighted with this baggage.


  2. Good link. Thanks. (That was worth reading for “flibbertigibbet” alone.)

    I don't doubt some people are able to rationalize their bigotry away like that. My weariness with such rationalizing is part of why I am so damn blunt about this.

    Beyond that … the problem with any of these “marriage should stay the same” arguments is that marriage has, through history, been a constantly changing institution, both in religious and secular applications.

    You don't have to read too deeply into the Bible to realize that anyone arguing for maintaining “a biblical definition of marriage” is blissfully unaware the we don't really have that even now. (Good overview on this here:,_many_women,_some_girls,_some_slaves/.)

    Also, and especially relevant, the “religious establishment of marriage into our laws” is a fantasy, too.

    You know what it takes to be legally married in Georgia? A license. And an officiant to sign it. Said officiant does not need religious credentials. (I speak from experience, as the officiant at my wedding was simply the mutual friend who had introduced me to my wife.)

    I'm sure that varies from state-to-state, and while that's part of the problem (inconsistency) it's also part of the solution (equal marriage legal in several states). Ultimately, when we overturn the portion of DOMA that bars the constitutional application of the “full faith and credit” clause to all marriages, we'll have turned the most important corner in achieving marriage equality.

    As for “scrap and replace,” I think the furor over such a proposal would make the present discontent look tame.


  3. Thinking about it, the “scrap and replace marriage” argument was about more than just this, but was about more general legal rights. Such as…what if two siblings lived together, roommate style…why shouldn't they have some of the same legal rights and protections as a married couple? And then why is it so terribly difficult in some cases to get a divorce?

    It is probably about the same thing…but by divorcing the idea of a legal partnership from religious marriage, it would make everything easier. Yes, I know that separation of church and state says that legal marriage can't have any religious connections, but there is a fairly clear historical connection. Religious marriage was around before our government existed, so legal marriages are effectively predicated on the religious concept. It's admittedly a dotted line, but look at how people react to any changes, and try to deny that there is indeed a line. I do admit though, doing away with marriage as a legal institution and putting something in its place would cause the religious side to flip out. I think it would cause far less “flip out” over the long run though (which doesn't make it happening any more possible).


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