OPINION: Not all desire an Equality State

By on October 21, 2014

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – By now the historic news has swept across Wyoming and made headlines around the world: this week same-sex couples here can legally marry their significant others.

Unsurprisingly, the court ruling is less contentious in Jackson Hole than the rest of Wyoming. In May, Jackson Town Council passed a non-discrimination ordinance that protects LGBT employees, adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the town’s policy manual. Zero folks voiced dissent during the council’s unanimous vote.

Jaren Artery is the chair of Wyoming Equality, an organization dedicated to securing rights for Wyoming’s LGBT community. On the heels of the council’s decision, Artery wrote, “We are hopeful that this will be the first step in opening up dialogue across the state and ultimately helping Wyoming live up to her name, ‘The Equality State.’” Artery is also a plaintiff in the landmark case that lifted the ban on same-sex marriage here.

It has been a long road towards a shot at equality in Wyoming and laws, as we all know, don’t necessarily sculpt personal perspectives. Many were not surprised when Wyoming Governor Matt Mead said the Supreme Court’s ruling would have no impact on the Equality State’s ban on same-sex marriage. Mead has long maintained the antiquated axiom that marriage is between a man and a woman.

But thanks to the case that the governor initially deemed irrelevant to Wyoming’s politics  – filed by Anne Guzzo and Bonnie Robinson of Laramie; Carl Oleson and Rob Johnston of Casper; Ivan Williams and Chuck Killion of Cheyenne; Brie Barth and Shelly Montgomery of Carpenter and Wyoming Equality – U.S. District Court Judge Scott W. Skavdahl granted an order Friday declaring the ban on same-sex marriage in Wyoming unconstitutional. After the Wyoming Attorney General advised that an appeal by Mead and the State of Wyoming would likely be unsuccessful, Mead, who said he wouldn’t appeal the ruling during a gubernatorial debate on Thursday night, confirmed his position in a press statement after Friday’s ruling. But he made sure to be clear about his standpoint on the matter: “This result is contrary to my beliefs and those of many others,” the governor stated. “As in all matters, I respect the role of the courts and the ruling of the Court.”

Sadly, Mead is correct. He is just one of many people in Wyoming to share these views. This week reporter Jake Nichols rattles off similar thoughts in his opinion column, Props and Disses, and a letter sent to the editor from Gillette Representative Troy Mader echoes his sentiments. Mader writes, “Check out the nations, empires and civilizations found in the trash heap of history. You will find the erosion of traditional marriage and the acceptance of sexual immorality has ALWAYS been a common denominator in their self-destruction.”

It’s no secret that The Planet provides its writers wide latitude in order to display the tapestry of opinions in this community, even when they are controversial. This week it seems especially important to balance these perspectives, so we’ve asked someone in the Jackson Hole LGBT community to offer his response to Nichols and others guided by similar tenets.

– Robyn Vincent, editor

Same-sex marriage opponents in Dark Ages

Well, as a man with a pee-pee who has sexual intercourse with other pee-pee-possessing men, I guess I’m left with no choice but to respond to this groan-inducing, childish article by Jake Nichols. Is his perspective a fresh new opinion? No. Does it in any way improve upon the argument against gay marriage? Absolutely not. Instead, it plays upon the homophobic conservative talking points that claim that allowing just any two humans to say “I do” in a convention hall somehow decimates the historically accurate, indisputable biblical laws of Tradition and Normal.

 Here’s the thing. I grew up in Jackson. I’ve been gay for as long I can remember, and in my 27 years on Earth, I’ve been forced to accept that people like Jake Nichols exist. Even within my circle of friends and family members. Everyone has a constitutional right to voice his or her opinion. I am not against Mr. Nichols speaking his mind. But, it’s important for gay marriage opponents to understand that “acknowledging homosexual partners,” is on the same level as me, as a gay man, acknowledging bigotry. Ultimately, I have to accept that it exists. It’s 100 percent legal! Do I agree with discriminating against certain fellow human beings on the grounds of who they fall in love with? I do not, but I have to get up every morning, breathe the same air as those folks, and carry on with my life. Accept and move on. It sounds simple, because it is simple.

As Mr. Nichols writes, “the true biblical intent of marriage is to create one from two.” This is a paraphrase of Mark 10:6-9, which goes on to say, “Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” A study published January 2014 conducted by Jennifer Glass of the University of Texas at Austin uncovered that divorce rates are actually higher in religious conservative “red” states. This could just be coincidence, but Mr. Nichols also brought up the commonly accepted fact that 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce. Yet, in the United States, divorce hits only 2 percent of all same sex marriages. Despite it’s ungodly heresy, divorce has never been as criminalized or condemned as gay marriage (one Christ-abiding Wyomingite I know is currently on her third marriage). It seems that with such a low divorce percentage, the Creator’s biblical intent is better served by same-sex partnerships.

You’re welcome, God with a capital G.

Let’s get to the issue that seems to have thrown Mr. Nichols off his rocker: the gay marriage epidemic has infiltrated the Equality State. My thought? It’s about effing time. Beginning in 1913, White Wyomingites were banned from marrying Blacks, Asians and Filipinos, until Wyoming’s anti-miscegenation law was repealed in 1965. In 1967, the Supreme Court case Loving vs. Virginia ruled that humans have “the freedom to marry,” legalizing interracial partnerships across the country. Many gay marriage opponents ignore the similarities between the interracial marriage and gay marriage movements, but the arguments from the 1960s unsurprisingly mimic the present day opposition.

Mr. Nichols’s side fears a future of incestuous relationships.

“The reason for banning these marriages stands on the same footing as the prohibition of polygamous marriage, or incestuous marriage, or the minimum age at which people may marry, and the prevention of the marriage of people who are mentally incompetent.” – Virginia Assistant Attorney General, R.D. McIlwaine III; Loving vs. Virginia, 1967.

Even bible references were used in interracial arguments, essentially claiming that merging separate races (be it religion or nationality) is against God’s will. Dive into Deuteronomy 32:8, Genesis 11:6-9, and Acts 17:26 if you must.

The argument against gay marriage is exhausting and repetitive. No one is the authority on “tradition.” It is not the responsibility of the LGBT community to counter every point the opposition makes, nor should I, as a homosexual American, feel pressured to prove to the world (or even Mr. Nichols) that I am a normal human being and that there is nothing artificial, unnatural, or satanic about my emotions and sexual impulses. It should be understood, whether you agree with Mr. Nichols’s opinion or not, that acceptance and tolerance are the only virtues that will pull the human race out of the dark ages of prudish religious head-shaking.

You guys! Gay marriage is legal in Wyoming! And I encourage my Wyoming LGBT friends to come out, hold hands, kiss in public, get married, adopt children and motivate folks like Mr. Nichols to embrace their dusty, narrow-minded immaturity, or to finally abandon it and join the year of our Lord, 2014.

– Andrew Munz

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About Planet Jackson Hole

11 Comments

  1. jake

    October 22, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    @Andrew – I make no judgment on you, your lifestyle, and anyone in the LGBT community in any way. I hope you know that. I really appreciate you writing this piece and have always enjoyed your work onstage. I read your viewpoints. I value them.

  2. Ralph Stanley

    October 23, 2014 at 7:23 am

    Marriage sucks. Since no gay couples in Jackson were rushing to get married, I will assume that marriage wasn’t really the point. The gay community wants recognition, acceptance, and rights. Personally, I don’t think it’s their responsibility to please me but I find some of their behavior to be troubling. Gay men come across as predators out for endless hookups but if they want to get married and settle down then that seems like a better deal for society than their historical behavior which fueled the AIDS crisis. As for adopting kids, I’ll wait to see how well they handle their new responsibilities first.

  3. Phil

    October 23, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    So what if a couple of oddballs get married? Most marriages ARE between a man and a woman. A few kids get raised by two mothers or whatever? Big deal. We got kids getting raised in East St. Louis – that’s frightening. Obama got raised by ONE mother and became President. Even if you think he’s worse than Jimmy Carter & GW Bush combined (he is), one can’t say that having a dad around would have made him any better.

    I’d rather see forced sterilization on poor dumb heterosexuals than deny some homosexual couple the chance to raise an adopted child in a safe, loving home headed by two brainy lesbians.

  4. Lucifer

    October 24, 2014 at 7:03 am

    To Andrew Munz:

    Some of the stuff you say is just silly.

    “I am a normal human being and that there is nothing artificial, unnatural, or satanic about my emotions and sexual impulses.”

    RANDOM HOUSE DICTIONARY:
    ARTIFICIAL: “produced by humans”
    SATANIC: “of or like satan”
    NORMAL: “conforming to the typical or standard pattern”.
    UNNATURAL: “not natural or normal”

    How do you know that there is nothing “satanic about my emotions and sexual impulses”? You know that Satan doesn’t engage in homosexual acts? Satan has no homosexual emotions? Satan is a heterosexual? You believe in Satan? Perhaps you use the term as a euphemism as in ‘there is nothing about my emotions and sexual impulses that will harm others’. Miley Cyrus has probably harmed others with her emotions and sexual impulses.

    You’re not normal. Statistically speaking, you’re not normal if you’re gay. And linguistically, you’re not normal. Having 12 toes is not normal but some people have 12 toes. Serial killers are not normal but they are among us. Pedophiles are not normal even if their feelings are ‘natural’.

    It may be natural and normal for homosexuals to engage in homosexual acts but that doesn’t make homosexuals or homosexual acts normal or natural.

    Some men enjoy shoving their Chiquita up another guy’s Fudgemaker. And some heterosexuals enjoy a backdoor adventure. It pretty disgusting to think about it but some people will do anything for a thrill and that may be normal but the idea that all others should be accepting of it is offensive and impossible to achieve.

    It’s normal and natural for some heterosexuals to find homosexual acts, homosexual marriage, and homosexual parents to be of questionable value to society. It’s normal and natural for homosexuals to feel otherwise.

    Since both groups have a long track record of failures, it’s difficult to be impressed with the opinions of either.

  5. JH Ambassador

    October 27, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    I am seriously disturbed by some of these comments. Please go back to hiding under the hate-filled rock from where you slithered out of.

  6. Cindy

    October 28, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    Pretty funny, Ralph, that you say “gay men come across as predators out for endless hookups…” As a single woman, I can tell you that type of behavior is way more common in heterosexual men (much more so than with the gay men I know). Happy to hear news about equality in the Equality State.

  7. All True

    October 28, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Sure, many heteros are out for endless hookups. No one said they weren’t. You obviously haven’t spent ANY time in places like West Hollywood or the Castro. But happy to hear that the gay men you know have a little more self restraint.

    Go to ANY Gay Pride parade and tell me how many men aren’t dressed in chaps and thongs (or appreciating it) and parading around like sluts on a episode of The Maury Povich Show. Too few. That’s how many. Reminds me of the way women dress in Halloween.

    You never saw that with the African American Civil Rights movement. Wonder why…

    Respect is earned not given.

  8. All True

    October 28, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    “Yet, in the United States, divorce hits only 2 percent of all same sex marriages’

    Well, they haven’t been married for 20 years. DUH.

  9. All True

    October 28, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    “And I encourage my Wyoming LGBT friends to come out, hold hands, kiss in public, get married”

    And when will you be getting married?

  10. Wammy

    October 28, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    “I am seriously disturbed”

    True hate is often in the mind of the reader. It forms when individuals are unable to understand the point of view of another or they misread the POV of another. We find this with Muslims and Christians and Jews, for example. And we find it when others try to discern the ‘hidden meaning’ or intent of online comments.

  11. Trebek

    October 29, 2014 at 7:10 am

    HAHAHAHAHHA

    “@Andrew – I make no judgment on you, your lifestyle, and anyone in the LGBT community in any way. ”

    Yeah, and Clinton didn’t have sex with that woman.

    You’re forgiven for being imperfectly human; but, really, either stand up like a man & defend yourself or admit you were wrong. Don’t cast the first stone and then pretend you didn’t have your hand in the stone jar. There’s nothing worse than a backtracking holy roller.

    All sorts of life’s ambiguities get sorted out as time passes and new challenges arise. Our faith and constitution may guide us or leave us at a crossroad with no clear direction, or worse, with conflicting directions.

    The gay community is asking for fairness. They seek fairness from government not Jesus Christ. They may be unholy. They may be unworthy of a sacred marriage. They may be on their way to hell when it’s all said and done. They may fail to live up to the high standards God has set for all of us, or we have for ourselves. In that respect, they are no different than the rest of us.

    Ultimately, however, it is not the student who is judged today but the teacher. The Creator of all living things can not speak with a thousand different voices. One must ring true. If you are confused about His Word, don’t ring your Jeopardy bell.

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