Halloween 2007, the courts again have shown that gay men are second class citizens in the United States. How? By awarding $10.9 million to the father of an Iraqi war veteran whose funeral was picketed by Fred Phelps and his "congregation." They held signs that claimed vets were dying because God hates the fact that America is in moral decline because of homosexuality. The soldier wasn't gay, but he represented a country that, in their belief, is sliding in to godlessness because of gay people having any kind of rights here.
But Karel, isn't this a victory for gays? Hell no.
I first saw Fred Phelps picket during the AIDS crisis. Young gay men, children of grieving mothers and fathers, died of a disease being ignored by then-President Ronald Reagan, and Phelps and his ilk felt a need to yell at the funeral participants for the past 20 years. Every time someone tried to stop them the first amendment was invoked. The same with his website, godhatesfags.com. It is not possible to register godhatesjews.com, godhatesblacks.com , godhatesiraqivets.com godhatesnigg (you get the point).com, but hate fags, that's fine, protected, freedom of religion, freedom of speech.
Oh, but offend the family of an Iraqi war veteran and you've gone too far.
Say it with me, Poppycock.
The fact is if Phelps is allowed to picket gay men's funeral unfettered, then he should be allowed to picket Iraqi war veteran's funerals. If not, then every family of every gay man that has been picketed should join together in a class action lawsuit and win millions more. But they won't, they can't. You see, Iraqi war vets are morally superior, more of an asset, a protected class. Gay men? Insult their families, picket their funerals, hurl your insults. You're protected under freedom of religion and speech.
The fact is Phelps is a hate monger that hides behind religion, a homophobe that says he is protected by God and the Constitution. Well, either he is or isn't. And if he isn't, then he should never again be allowed to picket a gay man's funeral.
But many reading this actually agree that a war veteran is of more value than a gay man, particularly a gay man that died of AIDS. Imagine burying a son, and having someone along the procession tell you how your son is burning in hell, how God hates him, how AIDS was God's punishment for simply existing as a gay man. Most don't care, the courts never have, no one really has, until Phelps offended the veteran of something that is not even a war but an occupation. Great.
I'm known for my rants, but this is too plain and simple to take lot of words. A generation of gay men that died of AIDS in this country have been slapped today in death, families of these men have again had to suffer an insult and gays living today have been shown that again, they are second class citizens in life and death; citizens not entitled to the same rights as a dead Iraqi war veteran. The families of these gays, be they dead or alive, are again reminded that in this country it is still all right to hurl any kind of hatred you want at them, it's protected, but a presumably heterosexual war hero and his family, well, they are protected.
The judgment couldn't have happened to a nicer person. It's just a shame that I can't rejoice in it because it again shows that under the law me, my friends, my community are less than, alive or dead.