As Jennifer has already noted, a group of gay activists who are fed up with the "anti-gay" measures epitomized by California's Prop 8 has christened today the first official "Day Without A Gay." Originally this protest day was conceived as a formal boycott -- LBGT's were going to be asked to call in "gay" (i.e. call in sick) to work, and then stay home.
The idea was that the resulting economic and workplace vacuum would be significant enough to force a conversation about gay marriage and other issues. But due to our current economic problems, protesters are now encouraged to call in "gay" and then volunteer for a day at their favorite charity. This should be a boon to charity organizations because, as the Day Without A Gay home page explains, "Gay people and our allies are compassionate, sensitive, caring, mobilized, and programmed for success."
If you are curious (or is it "questioning"?) here is their helpful FAQ page. I suppose it's comforting to know that the protest day's organizers felt compelled to offer an advanced apology to anyone who thought that they were equating "gay" with "sick," and to bi or trans people who passionately resist the "gay" label; they explainined that "gay" was chosen simply because it rhymes with "day." How pathetic and self-centered is that? Then again, the designation-challenged members of the LBGT community throw hissy fits when you say "transsexual" instead of "transgender" ... although no one wants to be called "bi-gender". Hmmm. Okay, forget it. I'm not even going there. Political correctness makes my head hurt.
If you are trying to figure out what a workplace boycott has to do with marriage, well join the club. Outside of being a rather curious conversation starter, this event will probably accomplish little that is substantive, because regardless of the actual outcome it will automatically be hailed by gay rights activists as a triumphant success. Will productivity be crippled? Hair boutiques, cosmetics counters, the fashion industry, interior design firms, and fine restaurants may suffer, but a heavy impact throughout the workforce is doubtful. ( Smile, that was a joke.) Will we have a better idea of how many people self-identify as members of the LBGT community? Even more doubtful.
All of this brings up an interesting point. LBGT community leaders have worked steadily during the last thirty years to continually expand the definition of their community. That expansion has become so large that even people with diagnosed medical disorders like hermaphroditism have been (involuntarily) included. Those opposed to the encroachment of the "gay lifestyle" upon the culture at large have traditionally claimed that the actual number of gays and lesbians is very small. But we have never accurately determined the percentage of males and females who identify themselves as same-sex oriented. (We have a similar problem with homelessness. Homeless advocates have pulled estimates of the nation's homeless population out of a variety of hats over the years, yet they have continually debunked the US Census Bureau's official homeless counts.)
For what it's worth, I believe that neither side involved in the gay marriage issue wants to know the real answer. Gay rights advocates must fear that an accurate number would be smaller than what they are now claiming, which would make their demands for special rights less appealing. The gay opposition must fear that an accurate number would be larger than what they have traditionally claimed, which of course would bolster the case for gay rights.
Let me conclude by making some things clear. Discrimination of any kind, be it workplace discrimination, housing discrimination, ostracism by family members or peer communites -- whatever -- is wrong. Regardless of how many self-identified LBGT's there are, there is never an excuse for discrimination. It is sinful and it should not be condoned or tolerated in a free society.
But opposition to gay marriage is not about discrimination. It is about keeping a Christian sacrament sacred, and defending it from ne'er-do-wells who would eagerly use it to punish churches under the guise of "equal protection." If the LBGT community wants to have a conversation about marriage, then let's have one. But lets start with some tough questions. For instance, is marriage really compatible with the sexually-open lifestyle that so many gay men (even those in committed partnerships) prefer to live? (Yes, a tiny minority of straight couples "swing," but they are almost universally denounced by the remainder of straights.) And why are gays, who traditionally consider the Church to be the equivalent of a cockroach infestation or an outbreak of the bubonic plague, demanding participation in one of the most sacred Christian sacraments?
We've got questions; they've got answers -- anyone ready to talk?
- Michael Laprarie