I'm going to let you in on a little secret I've never talked about with anyone. On November 2, 2008, I walked into a polling booth in Glendora, California, and voted for Proposition 8, which sought to add the clause "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."
Why the secrecy? It's not because I'm ashamed of my views or regret the way I voted. Instead, it's because I don't want to be associated with far-right pastors who preach hatred and violence against gay people. And I'm not alone. Polls indicate that half if not the majority of voters in the United States support legalizing gay marriage, and yet in all 32 states where gay marriage has been on the ballot, voters have rejected it. I believe this disconnect between what voters tell pollsters and how they vote has to do with how their views are represented by the media—that if they publicly express their discomfort with the legalization of gay marriage, they will be associated with the likes of Charles Worley.
Pastor Worley, in a sermon to his North Carolina Baptist congregation last month, evoked Hitler in suggesting that gays and lesbians should be quarantined in something like a concentration camp. "Have that fence electrified so [the homosexuals] can't get out. Feed 'em, and- And you know what? In a few years they'll die out. You know why? They can't reproduce."
Groups like the Anti-Defamation League and American United condemned Worley's comments, which went viral on YouTube, while Christian bloggers on both the Right and the Left were quick to denounce his message.
Perhaps because of the extreme views of Christians like Worley, no matter the context—whether I'm talking with good friends, interacting with work colleagues, or just ...1
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