What’s good for the gays…

…is apparently not good for the soldiers.

As reported in this article from the New York Times, 31 states have either passed or are considering legislation that restricts demonstrations at a funeral or burial. Additionally, Congress is expected to address the issue of protests at federal cemetaries. This legislation stems largely from responses to the most recent disgusting behavior of Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Cult, I mean, Church. It seems that Phelps and his despicable cohorts got tired of spewing their virulent homophobia at the funerals of queer folks; now, they’ve taken up conducting similar demonstrations of hatred at the funerals of american soldiers who were killed in Iraq. In their truly twisted logic, soldiers are dying because of the wickedness of american society, which has apparently embraced queer folks. Funny, I didn’t get the memo letting me know that we’re no longer largely maligned and discrminated against by american society and law. Wonder how we missed that one.

So, in turn, politicians are turning towards legislation to limit the effect that these protests can have on grieving families.

“Repugnant, outrageous, despicable, do not adequately describe what I feel they do to these families,” said Representative Steve Buyer, an Indiana Republican who is a co-sponsor of a Congressional bill to regulate demonstrations at federal cemeteries. “They have a right to freedom of speech. But someone also has a right to bury a loved one in peace.”

“I haven’t seen something like this,” said David L. Hudson Jr., research attorney for the First Amendment Center, referring to the number of state legislatures reacting to the protests. “It’s just amazing. It’s an emotional issue and not something that is going to get a lot of political opposition.”

Now, don’t get me wrong – I think that what these people are doing is disgusting and, while I worry about laws that infringe upon first amendment rights to free speech, I do think that people have the right to mourn their loved ones without having to endure such harassment. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be a grieving friend or family member and to see these fuckers desecrating your loved one’s memory. Well, I’d probably feel something like Jonathan Anstey, who spoke to the Times about his experience at his friend’s funeral: “It’s hurtful and it’s taking a lot of willpower not to go down there and stomp their heads in.”

Yet still, I can’t help but think: where was all the outrage when Phelps and company were pulling the same awful bullshit at the funerals of queer people? I didn’t see much outcry (outside of the queer community, of course) when that was going on, and they’d been at it for nearly a decade before they started picketing soldiers’ funerals. There was certainly not this remarkably widespread political response. There were no vets on motorcycles circling the families and trying to shield them from the awful chanting and sign-waving, as there are at the soldiers’ funerals.

And why is that? Did those queer folks, some of whom died of AIDS, deserve to die more than the soldiers did, by virtue of their sexuality? Did their families not deserve to grieve in peace as much as the families of the soldiers? Were their memories less sacred and less deserving of dignity than those of these soldiers?

Of course, my answers to those questions are no, no, and no. But I can’t help but take away that, for many of the politicians and other people taking action now, the answers would be yes.

9 Responses to “What’s good for the gays…”

  1. 1 belledame222

    Yes, well.

    I can’t understand why Phelps is still walking around. It sure *seems* like his goal is to get himself beaten to death by an angry mob. Who the fuck knows. You know most of his church is his family, right?

    There’s a whole online book about him, “Addicted to Hate” (forget the address, but I think it’s google-able). extremely upsetting, graphic, probably triggering. If you can stomach it, though, it’s an interesting if disturbing look into someone who seems almost literally possessed by rage and hate.

  2. 2 Jack

    Yup, I know that it’s almost all his family. What a creepy family to be born into. You’ve got to suppose that at least one or two of the people in his family are gay – I wonder what it’s like to be queer in a family like that. I shudder to think.

  3. 3 brownfemipower

    what a great post. you are exactly right. i didn’t know that this fucker had been doing that shit for so long or had been organized like that. what an absolute scum of the earth fuckhead. and not only that, but how fucked up shitty is that of the government to be “protecting” funerals now. fuckers.

  4. 4 vegankid

    wha? you never got the memo? i sent it out like two months ago! Let me guess… you have your spam filter turned on? Damnit! i knew i shouldn’t have sent it as an attachment. Anyway, if you had read the memo, then you would know that the US military’s true plans for Iraq are to instill a regime of homos and feminazis. Although you just have to watch the liberal media to figure that out. After all, remember all that talk about liberating the wimmin of Afghanistan? And what was with all that “don’t ask, don’t tell” stuff, huh? God doesn’t turn a blind eye to the fags, why should the US military? What? They think they’re better than god? God’s not liberal enough for them? Goddamn homoliberals.

    Seriously, though, this is a great post. I’ve been following Phelps for years (lucky for him i haven’t seen him yet, cuz i’ve been to jail and consider going again for the chance to beat his ass well worth it), but i wasn’t aware that governments are taking action now that he has branched out to the brave, patriotic, god-fearing soldiers who fought so valiantly to make the world safe for democracy. That is seriously fucked up. Not surprising in the least, but fucked up.

    I’m not so much for more legislation. I’d rather see an angry parent grab the rifle from a mourning soldier and use the butt of it to smash Phelps in the nose. Maybe his oldest grandson, too (who has been given and accepted the responsibility to take over the family business).

    as you can see, bfp, i’m still feeling a bit violent. one of those days, i suppose. i’m going to get some rest. thanks, abb!

  5. 5 Nio

    I’m all for protesting and speaking one’s truth, but protesting at a funeral is just plain rude and inappropriate. But then again, Phelps is rude and inappropriate. At least he lives up to my expectations.

  6. 6 Jack

    word. fuckers all around.

  7. 7 Jack

    ha! yeah, my spam filter is pretty vigarous in weeding out b.s. (yeah, i wish.)

    and yeah… while part of me is like, sure, this legislation is fine, people have the right to mourn in peace, another part of me definitely knows that this kind of legislation can be far too easily twisted to the nefarious intentions of the powers that be. and that’s never a good thing for folks like us.

  8. 8 Jack

    heh. i guess everyone’s got to have something going for them.

  1. 1 AngryBrownButch » Blog Archive » “Congress passes ban on protests at military funerals; still OK to protest at funerals of murdered homosexuals.”*
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