Opponents of same-sex marriage have responded to the public’s growing support for marriage equality by portraying themselves as victims of anti-religious (specifically anti-Christian) hate crimes and intolerance. While isolated incidents may occur, on the whole, these claims are ironic because anti-gay groups often complain about the very kind of abuse that the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community has experienced for decades through direct violence and unequal social policies.
For instance, yesterday, the Advocate’s Andrew Harmon reported that Prop. 8 plaintiffs Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier “were subjected to more than a dozen antigay voice mails during the 2010 trial from a man who was later convicted of making threatening telephone calls to Nancy Pelosi”:
“You stinkin’ lesbos make me sick,” the caller, identified by multiple sources as Giusti, said in one voice mail to Stier and Perry. “I hope you lose your case. … Marriage is between one man and one woman only. That’s the way God arranged it, set it up. Two people of the same sex cannot procreate. And no, getting yourself artificially inseminated is not procreation in God’s eyes. Or two faggots can’t procreate no matter how much you want to [expletive] each other.”
In another, Giusti told the couple, who have children, “I think that’s really disgusting that you’re raising, um, kids, I think the law should state lesbos and faggots shouldn’t be around kids. …
“I hope you enjoy burning in hell, for that’s where you’re going to go when you die, for the Bible clearly states that lesbianism and homosexuality is an abomination in God’s eyes,” Giusti said. “And you can tell those other faggots doing the case with you that I hope they both die of AIDS.”
This is far from an isolated incident. Crime statistics indicate that hate incidents typically increase during politically charged debates about gay rights. For instance, hate crimes in California dropped 2% overall in 2008, but anti-LGBT related crimes increased by nearly 17%, raising recorded incidents from 132 to 154. Similarly, “sexual-orientation-related hate crimes in states with marriage amendments on the ballot in 2004 saw a 47% increase in these crimes from the previous year.”
Anti-gay bigotry is also taking taking a heavy, if unseen, toll on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans and compounds over time. For instance, older lesbians, gays, and bisexuals reported higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, physical disabilities, and psychological stress and often experience higher rates of poverty, homelessness, and depression due to the inequities of marriage inequality, sexism, and a lifetime of stigma. Today’s Progress Report has more on the health consequences of anti-LGBT rhetoric and actions.