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View From Washington

View From Washington

Journalists tend to stay away from criticizing other news outlets because, let's face it, we have enough enemies and suffer enough demonization from the Palins of the world without sniping at each other.

But there's just no getting around The Washington Post editorial board's endorsement of Delano Hunter for Washington, D.C., city council.

After labeling Hunter "an engaging newcomer" with "intimate knowledge of the needs of the ward," here's how the Post whitewashed Hunter's antigay stances:

"Mr. Hunter is not a supporter of marriage equality, but he is not the homophobe his critics make him out to be, but rather someone who thinks there is a way to provide equality for gays while respecting the beliefs of religious groups. He said he would not seek to change the law."

There's plenty of evidence to suggest the Post undersold Hunter's homophobic cred, not least of which is that he's been endorsed by the National Organization for Marriage and actually showed up at the D.C. rally last month celebrating the end of the organization's disastrous Summer for Marriage 2010 tour. NOM also sent out a mailer on Hunter's behalf proclaiming that he supports the "Right of DC Residents to Vote on Homosexual Marriage," among other of his winning attributes. But let's set aside the facts for now.

First off, can we please drop the canard that allowing certain people to marry each other somehow impinges on certain other people's religious freedoms? No one will be forcing churches or religious leaders to perform same-sex ceremonies against their will, and people will undoubtedly maintain their right to worship as they choose completely free of government interference--as they always have. And for the Post to suggest that recognizing marriage equality necessarily conflicts with the beliefs of all religious groups is completely disingenuous, especially after nearly 200 religious leaders in the district stood with the multifaith group D.C. Clergy United for Marriage Equality.

But perhaps more to the point, it's time for mainstream America to realize that endorsing politicians who claim to support "equality" for LGBT Americans but not marriage equality is tantamount to aiding and abetting homophobia; that they are mounting a direct attack on the love shared by fellow tax-paying, law-abiding citizens who want to make lifelong commitments to care for one another; that they are relegating people they work with, live with, and, yes, worship with, to second-class status.

There is no gray any longer, no hair-splitting, no rationalization or triangulation that suffices anymore. If you don't support same-sex marriage, you don't support equality and that is quite simply homophobic.

Sure, some pols are more virulently homophobic than others, but the outcome is the same: equality denied.

You tell me, what editorial board today could justify writing, "Candidate Doe isn't the racist her critics make her out to be, but rather someone who thinks there is a way to provide equality to interracial couples while respecting those who believe that allowing people of different races to wed would taint the institution of marriage."

While the history of the black civil rights movement and the African-American experience is certainly unique and distinct from that of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, the basic result of discrimination was and still is comparable: equality denied.

Civil unions are an affront to our humanity - a direct rebuke of the love we know, a suggestion that what animates our world is not as worthy, not as pure or precious as the love shared by heterosexuals. Not all in the LGBT community wish to take part in the institution known as marriage, but the government has no right and indeed no rationale to deny us the pursuit of happiness simply because others disapprove of that which makes us happy.

I am calling mainstream America to a higher standard. It is time for our straight brothers and sisters to admit that they know better, that civil unions are inherently antigay.

Equality does not discriminate. It does not compromise based on convenience, it does not prefer one person's humanity to that of another's and fortify some while damning others. If you do not support equality in every corner of our nation, in every institution for every individual, you discriminate. Period.

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Kerry Eleveld