This week’s word is: RESPONSIBILITY
a form of trustworthiness; the trait of being answerable to someone for something or being responsible for one’s conduct – Macmillan Dictionary Online
As we noted last week, a disturbing trend on the rightward fringe of our national conversation is a refusal to take responsibility for their own words and actions. The more odious the statement, the more likely the wingnuts are to dodge accountability.
This week shows a cheering example of a group trying to hide from their own words and being told “no.” The so-called “family” groups who oppose equality for LGBT Americans are always prone to exaggerations, distortions, and outright lies. They rely on vague claims, junk science, flawed logic, and gross distortions of freedom of religion while perpetrating vicious stereotypes. This was sadly very true during the campaign for California’s Proposition 8 in 2008. The Catholic and Mormon churches, together with a nasty coalition of professional homophobes, waged a successful campaign of deception to pass that triumph of inequality. When a Federal judge ruled that the measure was unconstitutional, these groups did everything they could to attack him.
In the appeal of this decision (Perry v. Brown), the hatemongers did everything they could to block public reporting of the case and to prevent the release of the videotapes made of the testimony. Based on all the eyewitness accounts, this was because their claims relied on the usual lies and on a single witness who, under pressure on the stand, agreed that Prop 8 was discriminatory. The plaintiffs maintained (rather feebly) that making the videos available would open them up to threats. (Beware the power of the Gay Agenda!)
Fortunately, Chief Judge James Ware did not agree, stating:
foremost among the aspects of the federal judicial system that foster public confidence in the fairness and integrity of the process.
That’s right, foes of equality. If you make a public statement, especially in sworn testimony, you are responsible for it. As David Boies, one of the attorneys representing the group opposing Prop 8 so eloquently put it:
a witness stand is a lonely place to lie. And when you come into court, you can’t do that. And that’s what we proved. We put fear and prejudice on trial, and fear and prejudice lost.
At the end of the day, this is what will prove to be the undoing of the forces of inequality. When they are compelled to live up to their own words and deeds, it is very clear that their only agenda is bigotry and discrimination. They may dress it up as much as they like, but that is only a smokescreen. There is only one real difference between Tony Perkins and Fred Phelps: Phelps is very clear about his mission and never tries to sugar-coat it. The more people who see the lies and manipulations that are used to attack the LGBT community, the less that difference will matter and the less power these groups will have. Some day they will fade away forever. Monday’s decision to release the Perry v. Brown tapes was a great step in that direction.