Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Warren and peace

I know all the pragmatic reasons why Barack Obama invited Rick Warren to speak at today's inauguration. I admit it's good politics. But I don't like it. Rick Warren openly disdains people like me. He says we deserve second-class treatment, from our political and religious institutions. He compares people like me to all sorts of undesirables and deviants.

Sure, Rick Warren may have done a whole litany of great things. He may go on to perfect cold fusion and end world hunger. But, for me, he'll always be the guy that convinced a whole bunch of misinformed voters in California that Britt's and my marriage certificate presented a danger to theirfreedom and liberty.

The most troublesome thing, in my opinion, about Warren's upcoming appearance is that it signals that the incoming appearance isn't ready for real equality for gay men and lesbians. Barack Obama spoke so eloquently and warmheartedly about equality when he needed LGBT support (and, perhaps more importantly, LGBT dollars) on the campaign trail, which is why Warren's invite to the inauguration dais seems like such a slap in the face. Perhaps this means LGBT causes aren't important to the Obama administration? Perhaps equality and inclusion will only go so far? Consider that Obama appointed several gay men and lesbians to positions in his administration, but none to his cabinet. Consider that after a month of bad publicity for his decision to bring Warren to Washington, Obama at last asked gay pastor Gene Robinson to deliver an invocation at an event on the Sunday before the actual inauguration. That speech, held two days ago, somehow got left out of the telecast.

Perhaps this is a good time to revive my call for a modest proposal for LGBT rights. If gay men and lesbians aren't going to receive the equal rights they deserve as Americans, then they should start taking special rights as a display of protest.
Here are the special LGBT rights I propose:

-- Gay men and lesbians receive automatic upgrades on all domestic flights over 2 hours, and all international flights. Also, LGBT travelers are entitled to one extra piece of carry-on luggage.

-- Gay men and lesbians may have their drivers' license reshot up to 10 times if they are not happy with the original photograph.

-- The LGBT community receives veto power over any new products at Starbucks.

-- Gay men and lesbians get free Wi-Fi everywhere. Also free iPhones.

-- Gay men and lesbians can cut to the front of the lines at museums, sporting events, movie theater concession stands, and restrooms.

-- Each gay man and lesbian may force one ignorant straight person to watch "Milk," a la "A Clockwork Orange," repeatedly until the message sets in.

-- Target will set aside one shopping day a week for LGBT customers. All of the dreck that is normally sold to straight clientele is set aside so that gay and lesbian customers don't have to look at it. Also, everything is 50 percent off, and the muzak is replaced with something more fashionable.

-- Gay men and lesbians may slap without impugnity anyone who says "the gay lifestyle." Other slappable phrases include "lifestyle choice" and "sexual preference." A more complete list of words and phrases will be issued later by me, after I am designated the Emperor of All Things Gay And Slappable.

-- When hungry, gay men and lesbians should dine on straight babies. (Tip o' the hat to Jonathan Swift.)

Right now, America is not a land of equality -- and Rick Warren, standing on a podium in just a few hours will be a symbol of that injustice. Since we can't fix the inequality overnight, let's make it the most fabulous inequality it can be.

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