Our View: Gay rights debate needs civility

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 11:30 AM

Editorial Board

No matter how intense the gay marriage debate gets, or how the U.S. Supreme Court rules this summer on California’s gay marriage ban and the Defense of Marriage Act, both civility, and respect for the divergent positions must be followed.

There are respectful arguments for and against gay marriage, and for and against the Boy Scouts’ ban on gays. The case of business intimidation against popular science fiction writer, Orson Scott Card, a Mormon who has publicly opposed gay marriage, concerns us. It is an example of thuggish tactics that should not be tolerated.

Card has been hired to author a new Superman anthology for DC Comics. Because of his active opposition to gay marriage, there is an organized effort by some gay rights groups to have DC Comics fire him. Rich Ferraro, vice president of Communications for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said this in a statement: “Anti-gay activists like Card can’t expect to spread the same hateful and dangerous rhetoric they once did without it negatively impacting how the public views them.”

Most of the opposition to gay marriage is not “hateful and dangerous” rhetoric. However, efforts to harm individuals’ careers over their beliefs on this issue are definitely wrong.

Nationally, there is a trend of greater acceptance of gays and lesbians. Polls show a plurality, or small majority, of Americans support gay marriage rights. That’s a sharp shift from just a few years ago. Younger adults are the catalyst for this shift; polls show 80 percent of adults under age 30 support marriage rights for gays and lesbians.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and a supporter of gay marriage, may have summed up the shift best when she said that her young adult children don’t even understand why gay marriage is an issue worthy of debate. Opposition to gay marriage is slowly eroding, but it is not hateful. Civility and respect should be maintained.

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