03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Problem With Carrie Prejean and Homophobia

I tend to stay away from arguments for the gay marriage ban based on religious beliefs because I think those who make them have a point. In their interpretation of a 2000+-year-old set of mores set down and rewritten and re-interpreted and re-interpreted and re-written and re-written again, there is a certain group of people who have come to believe that the holy sacrament of marriage should be between a man and a woman. Fair enough. Do I agree with them? Not with a single grain in my soul, but I won't tell them they can't believe what they want to believe--especially within the confines of an institution that is, by the nature of the founding of our country, completely separate from influencing at all the way in which I can legally live my life. Except that it's not. And therein lies the problem with the argument that gay marriage should not be legal. Believe what you want to within your religious institution of living, but don't tell me where my tax dollars can and can't go based on that.

Which brings me to this Big Hollywood post by Sarah Palin's co-author, Lynn Vincent. In attempting to defend her hilarious new author-buddy/athlete, Carrie Prejean, Vincent vehemently insists that neither Prejean, nor herself are "fanatical homophobes." Why? Because they have gay friends. Vincent proves her point in the shocking revelation that Prejean learned how to walk in heels from an "openly gay man."

No. Way.

Totally way. Vincent even goes on to compliment said coach and all gay men by declaring their expertise in wearing heels with this little gem: "Let's face it ladies, nobody can work a pair of pumps like the right gay man." Besides the plethora of ways in which I would like to point out Vincent's shortcomings as a functioning, non-bigoted, reasonable human being with this, the statement's just wrong. No offense to Varla Jean and Hedda, but I've seen Heidi Klum rock a pair of 4 inch stilettos... no contest.

The problem with this line of rationalizing homophobia is that Vincent, Prejean and I'm sure many others, are excusing their fear by admitting that A) they have gay friends and B) they aren't afraid of them. But saying that you aren't afraid of your friends doesn't mean you're not homophobic. Saying you don't agree that gay people have the right to be married does. It's a deeper, much more ingrained sentiment that threatens the institutional beliefs around which you build your life. The prospect of having that upended, be it by friend, family member or stranger, is frightening, but is it cause to close yourself off from even entertaining the idea that your way of life or system of beliefs won't mean anything less if someone you love and care about has the same rights as you? More to the point, it doesn't make exclusionary prejudice legally okay. It's the same thing as saying, "I'm not racist, I have black friends. I just don't believe they should go to my school." Wasn't okay then. Isn't okay now.

(On a sidenote, I'd like to thank you, Lynn, for the enlightening look inside the world of pageantry. Barring any pending Nielsen reports on the demographic of viewers who still watch this archaic inspiration of anorexia and boob jobs, I'm going to go out on a limb and assume most pageant-viewing parties today consist of either southern families and BBQ or gay men and martinis.)