Before an Albany crowd of about 2,000 gay and lesbian advocates of marriage-equality laws, the governor and other supporters lashed out at opponents of expanding marital laws as they stepped up efforts to have New York join several other states where gays can legally marry...
“Where were these leaders of faith when college students of gay and lesbian orientation were beaten and often brutalized for expressing their feelings to each other?” Paterson said... He then vowed to help in an effort to change the mind-set of New Yorkers on the marriage-equality issue.
“We’re not only going to change the laws of New York, but we’re going to change the culture of how people treat each other,” Paterson told the crowd. [Emphasis mine]
Okay, let's get a few things straight (you should pardon the expression) once and for all.
1. I don't know of anyone who has ever "beaten or brutalized" a gay person as a function of their religion. There is the occasional story in the news about yahoos getting a snootful and beating up on a gay bystander, but that's hardly a result of their faith.
What the governor is trying to pin on us is a very flimsy causation: Person A believes that homosexual practice is wrong. Person B assaults a practicing homosexual. Therefore, Person A must have caused Person B's behavior. Doesn't hold water.
The other undercurrent that the governor is trying to slip past us is the assumption that any negative attitude about homosexuality is tantamount to assault. Which is equivalent to my claiming to be "brutalized" every time someone speaks ill of Christianity. Anyone whose skin is that thin needs to wrap himself in Kevlar and hide under the bed.
2. Beliefs about the nature of marriage are not a personal value judgment. Look, I don't believe that the relationship between a man and his Buick can be a marriage, either. Doesn't mean I hate either Buicks or those who love them. In fact, it has nothing whatever to do with my attitude toward either one. It just means that the word "marriage" means something specific, regardless of who's involved.
3. My opinions are not the result of ignorance, hatred or bigotry. I can't claim to have a lot of gay friends, simply because of where I live and the social circles I usually move in. Nevertheless, those that I've known, I've usually liked. Just like anyone else.
Governor Patterson apparently genuinely believes that if I were as smart as he is, I would naturally see the light and share his beliefs. What's more, if I continue to refuse to see the light, he has every intention of forcing me to see things his way. Which says nothing about my actual opinions, but does mark him as an arrogant buffoon. Dictators and tyrants throughout the ages have broken their teeth trying to force believers to abandon their faiths. Christians have outlasted other brownshirts and bullies; we'll outlast this one too.