Media Shit’s in the PI
posted by May 21 at 10:00 AMon
Yesterday the Seattle P-I ran an opinion piece about Supreme Court of California’s ruling on gay marriage. The piece was by David Benkof and it argued, amongst other things, that gays and lesbians “shouldn’t be celebrating” this historic victory in California. Why? Because the decision harms people of faith. Says Benkof:
Because there certainly are harms—to religious liberty, to give just one example. For the past two weeks, I have been contacting “marriage equality” leaders all over California to ask about the impact of redefining marriage on religious freedom. All, including several prominent lesbian and gay legislators and other leaders, have refused to disclose their opinions, some repeatedly.
Here’s the court on religious liberty:
Finally, affording same-sex couples the opportunity to obtain the designation of marriage will not impinge upon the religious freedom of any religious organization, official, or any other person; no religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs.
That seems pretty clear—religious organizations, officials, and people won’t be required to change their practices or bless same-sex marriages. Benkof worries, however, that this ruling denies religious individuals that own businesses the right to express their religious views by refusing their services to same-sex couples. Well, yes. But that was already the case in California, which had laws on the books banning discrimination against gays and lesbians—coupled or not—before this ruling came down last week. There’s literally no point to Benkof’s piece—besides, of course, stoking the persecution complex that characterizes conservative religious people in the United States.
Getting back to Benkof: There’s a reason “prominent” gay leaders and legislators don’t return his calls: he’s a religious bigot and a bit of a nut. Here’s a taste from Wiki:
In 2003, [Benkof] announced that he was going to stop having sex with men for religious reasons, and that he was shedding the label gay, preferring not to label his sexuality. He continued on to say “I believe that within a couple years I’m probably going to be married with a growing family.” He has always been a devout Jew, and says that one reason he changed was because “Gay sex is just inconsistent with traditional religious life.” … He has since become a strong opponent of same-sex marriage. In response to arguments for gay marriages, he wrote “This reasoning is not only flawed, it insults the millions of Americans whose traditional faiths call on us to defend marriage as a central institution in society defined as a union between a man and a woman.”
Benkof—who claims he is not gay—runs an anti-marriage-equality website called GaysDefendMarriage.com (“A website for LGBT folks who support marriage as the union of husband and wife.”) It’s more than a little dishonest for the editors of the PI to allow this self-hating douchebag to present himself to their readers as an openly gay opponent of same-sex marriage who, for uniquely gay reasons, does not support marriage equality. Benkof is not, according to Benkof, gay, openly or otherwise, and there’s nothing unique about his opposition to same-sex marriage. Benkof opposes same-sex marriage for the exact same reasons Pat Robertson and Pope Benedict and George W. Bush oppose marriage equality: G-d doesn’t like it. “I happen to believe that God has been clear to the Jewish people that we should be pursuing opposite-sex relationships,” Benkof told Gay City News, “and particularly not having intercourse between two males.”
Benkof wraps up his piece with this statement:
No lesbian ever died a painful death because the government called her relationship a domestic partnership instead of a marriage.
Four months ago, Lacey resident Janice Langbehn, her partner Lisa Pond and their children Katie, David and Danielle, ages 10 to 13, were set for a relaxing cruise from Miami to the Bahamas.
But Pond, Langbehn’s partner for nearly 18 years, was stricken in Miami with a brain aneurysm and died. The family says the way they were treated by hospital staff compounded their shock and grief.
Langbehn, a social worker, said officials at the University of Miami, Jackson Memorial Hospital did not recognize her or their jointly adopted children as part of Pond’s family. They were not allowed to be with her in the emergency room, and Langbehn’s authority to make decisions for Pond was not recognized….
Pond suffered the aneurysm just before the R Family Vacations cruise ship left Miami for the Bahamas in February, Langbehn said. After Pond was taken to the emergency room, Langbehn said she was informed by a social worker that they were in an “anti-gay state” and that they needed legal paperwork before Langbehn could see Pond.
Even after a friend in Olympia faxed the legal documents that showed that Pond had authorized Langbehn to make medical decisions for her, Langbehn said she wasn’t invited to be with her partner or told anything about her condition.