I was present at the White House, by invitation, at the gay reception on June 29, and was honored by being cited by name by the president, and my past record as a gay pioneer acknowledged in the course of his remarks, as you may recall if you viewed the event.
I was also present in the Oval Office, on June 17, standing beside the president, opposite Vice President Biden, as the president signed the memorandum according benefits to gay couples.
I am a long-time gay activist, considered by many to be one of the remaining Founding Fathers of the gay movement. I initiated gay activism and militancy in 1961 and coined the slogan “Gay is Good” in 1968. It is!
I am a gay veteran of front-line combat in Europe in World War II. I did not fight that war to return to second-class citizenship or back-of-the-bus status (or off the bus altogether) for me and my fellow gays.
You rest your position, in significant part, on the irrational and sinful homophobia expressed by your false God of Leviticus.
Bigotry is sinful, whether it be racism, anti-Semitism or homophobia.
It is incontrovertibly clear that your God of Leviticus is a homophobic bigot, and therefore He should repent of His sinful homophobia, should atone for it, and should seek our forgiveness for the pain and suffering which His sin has inflicted upon gay people for some four millennia.
Additionally, you rest your position on the maunderings of Paul. Paul was an intellectually primitive, culture-bound first century religious fanatic. I see no reason why we, in the 21st century, should govern our lives by the ranting and raving of a first century religious “nut” named Paul. No sensible, rational person would.
I allow no one to do my thinking for me on any subject, including morality, and certainly not by a gaggle of gurus who lived two to four millennia ago and have little if anything of use, value or worth to offer us. That is all that your Bible is.
We have religious freedom in this country. And so you are free to conduct your own, personal, individual life on the basis of your religious beliefs. But you do not have a valid right even to attempt to impose those beliefs upon others, regardless of the demographic or electoral statistics. At that point, you and your cohorts become an American Taliban, and must be resisted to the uttermost.
We gays know that our homosexuality is a divinely inspired gift and blessing, given to us by our true God to be enjoyed to its fullest, exultantly, exuberantly and joyously.
We seek not “special rights and privileges” as you term them, but precise equality of rights and privileges in what is our America, for us explicitly as gay Americans (not merely “American Americans” so to
speak) fully – fully – as much as it is your America as non-gay Americans.
To repeat: For us, as gay Americans, this is our America, fully as much as it is yours, and you are not going to be allowed to steal it from us, try as you may – and you are certainly trying very hard.
And they are our White House and our president, fully as much as they are yours. That is what I fought for in World War II.
And ours is an effort fully and accurately comparable with the black civil rights effort. I was there on the Mall when Martin Luther King spoke in 1963, and I was there on our gay picket lines in front of the White House in 1965 and in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia on July 4, 1965 through 1969 (the latter now commemorated by an official state historical marker across the street from the Hall). And now we are honored guests in our White House in 2009. America is the better off for our efforts, our presence and our successes.
America and Americanism are defined, in major part, by the guarantee not merely as a right but as an “inalienable” right in our nation’s birth certificate – the Declaration of Independence – to “the pursuit of happiness.” That clearly includes our homosexuality on the part of consenting adults fully – and precisely as much as it does your heterosexuality on the part of consenting adults. And not being enumerated in the Constitution itself, that inalienable right is subsumed under the Ninth Amendment. So cease trying to deny to us gays our inalienable constitutional right to our happiness on the basis of your benighted religious beliefs set out by your sinful God.
“Special rights” and “special privileges”? No. The constitutional right to our pursuit of our happiness as gays, just as for you as non-gays? Yes.
It is clear that, in this context (I refer to no other here) you and your cohorts need to take a good course in basic Americanism. You don’t have a clue.
We gays are not going away. We are not going to become either silent or invisible. There will not be the slightest retreat or compromise on our part in our efforts to achieve full and precise equality in our America, nor need there be, as long as America is true to itself. We will prevail because we should. We are right, and you are wrong.
While there has been no formal vote taken, and so this is my own formulation, generally accepted, however, the so-called “gay agenda” of which you people make much can be formulated as being subsumed by a single word: equality. Fleshed out, the gay agenda is:
“The achievement of complete, total, absolute, unswerving equality, in every aspect of societal functioning, bar none, between 1) gays and non-gays as people, 2) homosexuality and heterosexuality as lifestyles or ways of life and 3) homosexual and heterosexual relationships of every kind, including but not limited to marriage.”
Again, there will be no slightest compromise or retreat from this effort on our part, nor need there be.
I strongly urge that you re-think this issue and set aside your efforts to impose your religious views upon those of us Americans who, legitimately and constitutionally, do not share them and are under no valid obligation so to do in either thought or action.
Gay is good, godly and American. You and your cohorts are not.
Franklin E. Kameny