Homophobic comments, actions not acceptable in society

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Often state representatives will pass legislation that possesses no enforcement but is symbolic to honor the deceased, praise individual and group accomplishments or raise awareness of social issues.

This was the case in the Pennsylvania legislature when the state House of Representatives was scheduled to pass a resolution designating October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Surprisingly, this effort was derailed when one representative objected to the resolution, claiming it possessed “a homosexual agenda,” as reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer in a news article dated Sept. 19.

It was Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler, who objected to the resolution because he felt some of the text contained empathy toward homosexual victims of domestic violence, referring to a line which stated that “one in six women and one in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape.”

“It had language woven through it that brought men into the situation,” Metcalfe said. “I don’t support the resolution or funding for groups that go beyond helping women.”

We live in a largely heterosexual society that has long created homophobic discourse in our daily lives. Hate and prejudice toward the gay community remains an issue, as evidenced by Metcalfe’s objection.

In no way was the legislation funding any sort of support, but rather it was calling for awareness of domestic violence victims. Metcalfe’s homophobic feelings have blinded him from comprehending the research within the resolution, proving men can be victims of domestic violence in both homosexual and heterosexual relationships. According to the resolution, there were 835,000 male victims of domestic violence in the last year.

Metcalfe’s behavior can only make one question on how he balances his obligations as a public official — protecting the rights of American citizens — while ostracizing domestic violence support and innocent victims who suffer. It makes no difference if the victims of violence are male or female, gay or straight.

Sadly, Metcalfe was not the only prime example of homophobic rhetoric in the past weeks. In response to the U.S. 2010 Census, which will measure the number of heterosexual and homosexual couples, Peter Sprigg, the senior fellow for policy studies with the Family Research Council, added to the pile of prejudice.

“In virtually all states, the percentage of same-sex couples who marry is far lower than the percentage of opposite-sex couples who marry,” Sprigg said in a Washington Post article. “To us, it says homosexuals do not view the institution of marriage the same way heterosexuals do. In fact, there’s a lack of commitment to the institution of marriage in the homosexual community at large. That’s one of the reasons why we think same-sex marriage should not be legalized.”

Sprigg’s comments lack all sense of logical thinking. It is clear that more heterosexual couples are getting married in every state, especially when same-sex marriage is legal in only six states. Sprigg cannot argue that we should not legalize same-sex marriage because people of the same-sex are not getting married, when it is clear that marriage holds such great value that many will migrate to be legally committed.

The bottom line is, jokes calling someone a “homo,” “gay,” “queer” or “faggot” need to stop. The United States has the potential to demonstrate another great achievement in social justice, as much of the world looks on to witness how we treat those who are different.

America is the birthplace of democracy, so it is my hope that we will soon end our history of the persecution and discrimination of others by accepting the fact that we were all born as individuals, which will create differences that should make no difference.

-Bobby Gomez is a senior in elementary education. Please send comments to opinion@spub.ksu.edu.

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